Police say James Holmes helped them defuse bombs after shooting


Sketches by Bill Robles

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JEFFERSON COUNTY, CO (KDVR) — Police officers testified Thursday that James Holmes helped them diffuse explosives he allegedly placed in his Aurora apartment after the theater shooting.

Holmes is accused of shooting and killing 12 people and wounding 70 at the Century 16 theaters in Aurora in July 2012. Just before the shooting, he allegedly booby-trapped his apartment with a large supply of explosives designed to detonate should someone try to enter.

Holmes defense attorneys have been challenging evidence brought by the prosecution about Holmes’ statements after he was arrested saying they should not be used at trial because police had not yet read Holmes his Miranda rights.

During a hearing Thursday morning, two Aurora police officers testified about what they asked Holmes when he was brought to police headquarters after his arrest.

Lt. Thomas Wilkes was the incident commander at Holmes’ apartment and said the explosives found there were sophisticated.

Should they go off, Wilkes said, the entire building would likely be destroyed and nearby buildings would be damaged.

At one point, police considered letting the building burn down as a safer alternative to trying to diffuse the bombs.

Wilkes said they interviewed Holmes about the explosives and he calmly told FBI agents, and members of the police bomb squad, step-by-step on how to diffuse the bombs.

Holmes’ attorneys argue these statements should not be allowed at trial because they were made before Holmes was advised of his right to remain silent. Prosecutors said they were necessary to obtain information about any ongoing threats to the public.

Holmes is charged with 166 counts of murder, attempted murder and other offenses in the shootings. He has pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity.

By Thomas Hendrick and Dave Young

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