Federal Agencies Assist In Theater Investigation

A suspect is in custody following the mass shooting in a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. At least 12 people are dead. The suspect is said to have no ties to any terrorist groups.

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This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.


And I'm Steve Inkseep. The man in custody for last night's shooting in Aurora, Colorado was identified by police as James Holmes. He's 24 years old. If you're wondering - he's white, he's American and, as always, innocent until proven guilty. Throughout this morning we've heard eyewitnesses describe a man who walked into the Century 16 multiplex. He had multiple weapons. He had a gas mask. He stepped into Theater Number 9, which was premiering the latest Batman film, threw some kind of gas canister, it's unclear what, and then opened fire on the audience, a dozen people dead.

Let's talk now about the investigation, and we start our coverage with NPR's Carrie Johnson, who's in our studios. And Carrie, what do officials do now?

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Well, the Aurora Police Department in Colorado is the lead of this investigation, but it's being helped quite aggressively by both the FBI and the ATF. And both of those federal agencies have forensic technicians and bomb techs scowering the movie theater for evidence and also scowering the suspect's apartment.

The suspect apparently told federal investigators that the apartment had been booby-trapped, but we're hearing inconsistent reports about what they've found inside the apartment already.

INSKEEP: And that would suggest the extreme caution with which they've approached this apartment, even putting a fire truck ladder up near the window to look in before going in.

JOHNSON: And a bomb dog - a dog that's experienced with sniffing out explosives. Now, there are some things we know so far, according to the federal authorities, some things we don't know. The FBI says this suspect has no known ties to terrorism. That said, investigators are really going to want to run all of his recent and not-so-recent contacts to ground.

He appears to have no ties to the military, has not served in the military. But what they want to know is who he's been conversing with over the last several weeks and months, whether he had any help. No signs at this point he did have help. But all of these things are typical questions that federal investigators are going to want to ask.

INSKEEP: Okay, Carrie, thanks very much. NPR's Carrie Johnson is one of our correspondents covering this story.

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