When police officers found James Holmes behind the Aurora, Colo., movie theater after he allegedly killed 12 people and injured 58 more last July, they may have halted a getaway plan before it could begin.
Prosecutors have spent the last week painting a picture of Holmes’ plan to carry out a mass shooting during a midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” in a pretrial hearing that successfully convinced the judge in the cast that Holmes is fit to stand trial. Judge William Sylvester ruled that Holmes is of strong enough mind to be charged with 166 felonies.
Testimony from arresting officers revealed that tire-puncturing devices, a canister of tear gas, a .40-caliber handgun, ammunition, Holmes' cell phone and various bags were found in Holmes’ car when he was taken into custody.
A photo shown during the court proceedings also showed that Holmes had been traveling with “spike stops,” also called “road stars,” designed to puncture the tires of pursuing vehicles. When dropped, the instruments are designed to land with a spike facing upward. An ATF agent testified that Holmes had purchased the stars on June 6, 2011, almost two months before the shooting, from a police and military supplier.
“I do think he was thinking that he was going to get away from that movie theater,” former FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole told Yahoo News. O’Toole is not involved in Holmes’ prosecution, although she did reveal that Holmes also had a sun protector on his vehicle at the time of the shooting, despite the midnight movie showing.
“If you don’t think you are doing anything wrong you don’t need to hide it,” O’Toole said, adding that Holmes’ “ability to think analytically and critically has come out in this crime scene. This sounds like to me it was a contingency plan, where if he was being chased he could throw those [road stars] out the window.”
The police said Holmes told them his had rigged his apartment with explosives, which would be activated when the door was breached. His plan was evidently to draw emergency officials away from the theater by bringing down his apartment building.
“We would have seen a different finale had his apartment building exploded,” O'Toole said. “The only one who knows what he was going to do at the end would be James Holmes. But with the planning that was involved in this case, I think he considered a number of options."