News Column

James Holmes Bought 6,000-round Arsenal Over the Internet

July 23, 2012

Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes bought his 6,000-round arsenal legally and easily over the Internet, police said as Holmes was to appear in court Monday.

Holmes, 24, accused of killing 12 people and injuring 58 others inside an Aurora, Colo., movie theater Friday, ordered 3,000 rounds of handgun ammunition, 3,000 rounds for an assault rifle and 350 shells for a 12-gauge shotgun almost as easily as a person orders a book from, police told The New York Times.

He spent an estimated $3,000 at the online sites in the four months before the shooting, police told the newspaper.

He also bought bulletproof vests and other tactical gear, and a high-capacity "drum magazine" ammunition storage and feeding device that could hold 100 rounds and could fire 50 or 60 rounds a minute, police said.

The purchase would have been restricted under proposed legislation that has been stalled in Washington for more than a year, the Times said.

Holmes, a University of Colorado Denver graduate student in neuroscience with a clean criminal record, bought the ammunition without police awareness because sellers are generally not required to report sales to law-enforcement officials, even unusually large purchases.

Neither Colorado nor federal law required him to submit to a background check or register his purchases, gun policy experts said.

Holmes, held at the Arapahoe County Jail in Littleton, was to make his first court appearance at 9:30 a.m. MDT (11:30 a.m. EDT) Monday.

He has not yet been charged or entered a plea.

He was expected to be advised of the charges for which he was arrested, KUSA-TV, Denver, reported.

Prosecutors will then have 72 hours to decide on and file the charges the alleged shooter will face, the TV station said.

Thousands gathered Sunday evening on the lawn of Aurora's Municipal Building to remember those killed in the shooting.

The vigil followed a visit by President Barack Obama.

Obama told reporters at a hospital where victims were recovering he visited the victims and the families "not so much as president as I do as a father and as a husband."

He quoted a passage from the biblical book of Revelation that says, God "will wipe away every tear from their eyes and death shall be no more."

Obama didn't mention Holmes by name, saying that his notoriety will fade.

"In the end, after he has felt the full force of our justice system, what will be remembered are the good people who were impacted by this tragedy," Obama said.

In the vigil that followed, Gov. John Hickenlooper received a rousing round of applause when he said he would not say the suspect's name.

"In my house, we're just going to call him 'Suspect A,'" Hickenlooper said.

Hickenlooper then read the names of all 12 victims, asking the crowd to repeat "We will remember" after each name.

Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan asked the audience to acknowledge those in the theater "who went out of their way to help other people."

"Because of them, more lives weren't lost," he said.

Source: Copyright United Press International 2012

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