By CLAYTON SANDELL (@Clayton_Sandell) , KEVIN DOLAK (@kdolak) , and COLLEEN CURRY, AURORA, Colo. July 20, 2012 –
The suspected “lone-wolf” shooter of the Batman movie theater massacre in Aurora, Colo. earlier today has been identified as PhD student James Holmes, who recently withdrew from his neuroscience studies at the Univesrity of Colorado before shooting up “The Dark Knight Rises” screening.
Holmes, 24, moved to Aurora to pursue his PhD at the University of Colorado medical center, living just blocks from the hospital in an apartment that is now laced with explosives and being searched by Haz-Mat teams.
Holmes killed at least 12 people and injured as many as 50, including U.S. military members, during the midnight premiere of the movie at the Century 16 Movie Theaters in Aurora early this morning. He barged into the theater mid-show, setting off smoke bombs and stalking up and down the aisles firing as many as four weapons at viewers.
He was captured by police in the parking lot while still wearing a bullet-proof vest, riot helmet and gas mask. Federal law enforcement sources tell ABC News that Holmes bought a ticket to the movie, slipped out of the theater once it began and propped open the emergency exit before gathering his weapons and gear and coming back into the theater. Once inside, he opened fire.