Testimony at a hearing for Aurora massacre shooteron Tuesday showed he didn’t want to blow up cops. He wanted to kill some of his neighbors with an improvised bomb tied to a boom box in hopes of distracting cops and firemen from the theater massacre.
FBI agent Garrett Gumbinner said Holmes set up the Rube Goldberg-style bomb so it would go off when neighbors pounded on his door to tell him to turn the music down, creating a burning killing field.
"He said he rigged the apartment to explode to get law enforcement to send resources to his apartment instead of the theatre," Gumbinner testified, ABC News reported
Like the Columbine killers, his plans failed. At Columbine it proved impossible to blow up propane tanks with the bullets they had. In Aurora, no one knocked, and the apartments were evacuated shortly after he was arrested outside the movie theater.
Gumnbinner said Holmes said up two explosive systems. “The whole apartment would have either exploded or caught fire.”
A second system involved involved 6-inch fireworks shells and a commercial pyrotechnic firing box atop the refrigerator. It apparently would have triggered by explosion and fire.
Fire could have claimed many lives from the smoke inhalation it caused. Apparently he hoped the explosion would occur before the theater shootings, which claimed 12 lives, and thus distract resources from going there.
The Denver Post described how the first system was to work: “The music would draw the attention. The attention (banging) would jostle the door. The door would tug the fishing line. The line would topple the thermos full of glycerin, and the glycerin would mix in the frying pan with the potassium permanganate to create a flame.”
At least 42 calls were received by 911 from within the Theater 9 at the Aurora 16 complex. Kevin Quiñonez was one of them.
"It was really dark. (But) I could see his head every time he fired. He had a mask. I saw a lot of sparks. I couldn't tell if it was real or some joke. I wasn't going to take any chances, though,” he told the Denver Post in a phone call interview.
He said he and his girlfriend ducked down behind seats to seek protection.
His call was played during the hearing, and those in the court could hear that gunfire made his voice very hard to hear.
He could be heard saying, "There's some guy ... after us."
He hung up because he knew theater staff must be calling from outside the killing field and could be heard more clearly.