This is the first picture of the man suspected of opening fire and killing 12 people at a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.

Federal law enforcement officials have identified him as American national James Holmes.

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The 24-year-old is a former student from University of Colorado Medical School.

james holmes

James Holmes is suspected of opening fire and killing 12 people at a cinema

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The Holmes family, who live in San Diego, have spoken of their sadness at the tragedy.

Reading out a statement on their behalf, Lieutenant Andra Brown of the SD Police Department, said: "Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy."

"We ask that the media respect our privacy at this difficult time... We are still trying to process this information and appreciate that people respect our privacy."

james holmes

An earlier photo of Holmes, believed to have been taken from a school yearbook

Speaking outside the family home, Lt Brown confirmed the suspect attended high school in San Diego before pursing a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Colorado, Denver.

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Holmes’ mother was inside the house, accompanied by friends, Brown confirmed. The family had apparently been made aware of the developing incident by the media.

The tragedy unfolded at the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora near Denver, when a gunman burst into the theatre and hurled tear gas before opening fire.

Holmes, 24, was arrested in the car park and is being held in custody. He was reportedly armed with a rifle and two handguns.

He told police his apartment, five miles from the cinema, housed explosives.

Aurora Police confirmed that Holmes’ apartment had been booby-trapped with flammable explosive material.

aurora

Police search the apartment of the suspect

Police are currently working out how to disarm the device.

Aurora police chief Dan Oates, said: "We are very concerned about getting in there and getting the evidence."

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"It looks pretty sophisticated," he added.

Bomb experts from several security agencies are at the scene, as are a fleet of fire trucks.

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  • Tom Sullivan , holds a photograph of his son, Alex Sullivan, as he pleads with the media to help him find his son, outside Gateway High School on Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. Alex Sullivan, was celebrating his 27th birthday by attending midnight premiere of the Batman movie Friday night. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • A woman cries outside Gateway High School where witness were brought for questioning after a gunman opened fire at a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises Batman movie Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • Tom Sullivan, center, embraces family members outside Gateway High School where he has been searching frantically for his son Alex Sullivan who celebrated his 27th birthday by going to see "The Dark Knight Rises," movie where a gunman opened fire Friday, July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colo. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • Eyewitness Chandler Brannon, 25, sits outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning after a shooting at a movie theater showing the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • A small group prays outside Gateway High School where witness were brought for questioning Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • Family and friends wait outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning after a shooting at a movie theater showing the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • Eyewitness Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interview by police outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • Eyewitness Isaiah Bow hugs his mother Shamecca Davis after being questioned by police outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought in, Friday, July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. After leaving the theater Bow went back in to find his girlfriend. "I didn't want to leave her in there. But she's ok now," Bow said. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into the crowded movie theater killing 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • Emma Goos, 19, hugs her mother, Judy Goos, outside Gateway High School where witnesses were brought for questioning Friday, July 20, 2012, in Aurora, Colo. Emma was in the third row of the theater of the new Batman movie when the shooter entered. She helped apply pressure to a man's head who was injured. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • Police cars in front of the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colorado where a gunman opened fire during the opening of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" killing at least 15 people and wounding 50 others on the morning of July 20, 2012. The shooting suspect in custody after at least 12 people were shot dead and around 50 were wounded at a movie screening in the United States has been identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, US media said Friday. Television networks cited the FBI as saying that Holmes, from the town of Aurora, Colorado, scene of the midnight shooting at a screening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," did not appear to have any known terrorism connections. (Photo credit: AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN CASTNER JONATHAN CASTNER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Police tape cordons off the parking area around the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012 where a gunman opened fire during the showing of the new Batman movie. At least 12 people were killed and around 50 wounded in the cinema shooting. (Photo credit: AFP PHOTO JONATHAN CASTNERJONATHAN CASTNER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Police cars in front of the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colorado where a gunman opened fire during the opening of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" killing at least 15 people and wounding 50 others on the morning of July 20, 2012. The shooting suspect in custody after at least 12 people were shot dead and around 40 were wounded at a movie screening in the United States has been identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, US media said Friday. Television networks cited the FBI as saying that Holmes, from the town of Aurora, Colorado, scene of the midnight shooting at a screening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," did not appear to have any known terrorism connections. (Photo credit: AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN CASTNERJONATHAN CASTNER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Police cars in front of the Century 16 theater in Aurora, Colorado where a gunman opened fire during the opening of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" killing at least 15 people and wounding 50 others on the morning of July 20, 2012. The shooting suspect in custody after at least 12 people were shot dead and around 50 were wounded at a movie screening in the United States has been identified as 24-year-old James Holmes, US media said Friday. Television networks cited the FBI as saying that Holmes, from the town of Aurora, Colorado, scene of the midnight shooting at a screening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," did not appear to have any known terrorism connections. (Photo credit: AFP PHOTO/JONATHAN CASTNERJONATHAN CASTNER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Police cars are seen in the parking area around the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colorado, July 20, 2012 where a gunman opened fire during the showing of the new Batman movie. At least 12 people were killed and around 50 wounded in the cinema shooting. (Photo credit: AFP PHOTO JONATHAN CASTNERJONATHAN CASTNER/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Police use a video camera to look inside an apartment where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. As many as 12 people were killed and 50 injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday during the showing of the latest Batman movie. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Police break out a window of an apartment where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. As many as 12 people were killed and 50 injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday during the showing of the latest Batman movie. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Shamecca Davis hugs her son Isaiah Bow, who was an eye witness to the shooting, outside Gateway High School where witness were brought for questioning Friday, July 20, 2012 in Denver. After leaving the theater Bow went back in to find his girlfriend. " I didn't want to leave her in there. But she's ok now," Bow said. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded movie theater at a midnight opening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," killing at least 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • Judy Goos, second from left, hugs her daughters friend, Isaiah Bow, 20, while eye witnesses Emma Goos, 19, left, and Terrell Wallin, 20, right, gather outside Gateway High School where witness were brought for questioning Friday, July 20, 2012 in Denver. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded movie theater at a midnight opening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," killing at least 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

  • A SWAT team officer stands watch near an apartment house where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. As many as 14 people were killed and 50 injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday during the showing of the latest Batman movie. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Police gather near an apartment house where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. As many as 12 people were killed and 50 injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday during the showing of the latest Batman movie. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • A SWAT team officer stands watch near an apartment house where the suspect in a shooting at a movie theatre lived in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. As many as 12 people were killed and 50 injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre early Friday during the showing of the latest Batman movie. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Jacob Stevens, 18, hugs his mother Tammi Stevens after being interview by police outside Gateway High School where witness were brought for questioning after a shooting at a movie theater, Friday, July 20, 2012 in Denver. A gunman wearing a gas mask set off an unknown gas and fired into a crowded movie theater at a midnight opening of the Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises," killing at least 12 people and injuring at least 50 others, authorities said. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Barry Gutierrez)

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  • (Credit: Sky News)

  • (Credit: Sky News)

  • (Credit: Sky News)

  • Police are pictured outside of a Century 16 movie theatre where as many as 12 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of a movie at the in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Police are pictured outside of a Century 16 movie theatre where as many as 12 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of a movie at the in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates talks to media at Aurora Mall where as many as 12 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Aurora Police Chief Daniel Oates talks to media at the Aurora Mall where as many as 14 people were killed and many injured at a shooting at the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Police are pictured outside of a Century 16 movie theatre where as many as 12 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of a movie at the in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • Police are pictured outside of a Century 16 movie theatre where as many as 12 people were killed and many injured at a shooting during the showing of a movie at the in Aurora, Colo., Friday, July 20, 2012. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Ed Andrieski)

  • People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., at the scene of a mass shooting early Friday morning, July 20, 2012. Police Chief Dan Oates says 12 people are dead following the shooting at the suburban Denver movie theater. He says 50 others were injured when gunfire erupted early Friday at the Aurora theater. Oates says a gunman appeared at the front of one of the Century 16 theaters. <em>Photo Credit: Karl Gehring, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/news/exposure/" target="_hplink">Denver Post</a>. </em> / AP

  • (Photo credit: 7NewsMorning/Twitter)

  • (Photo credit: 7NewsMorning/Twitter)

  • (Photo credit: Faunte Thompson/Twitter)

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  • (Photo credit: Brandon Rittiman/Twitter)

  • (Photo credit: 7NewsMorning/Twitter)

  • (Photo credit: Jakeob Bame/Twitter)

Eyewitness live Tweeting from the scene
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Stills from the film
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  • Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, left, and Anne Hathaway as Selina Kyle in a scene from the action thriller "The Dark Knight Rises." (Photo credit: AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Ron Phillips)

  • Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, left, and Michael Caine as Alfred in a scene from the action thriller "The Dark Knight Rises." (Photo credit: AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Ron Phillips)

  • Christian Bale as Batman in a scene from the action thriller "The Dark Knight Rises." (Photo credit: AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Ron Phillips)

  • Joseph Gordon-Levitt as John Blake, left, and Gary Oldman as Commissioner Gordon in a scene from the action thriller "The Dark Knight Rises." (Photo credit: AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Ron Phillips)

  • Anne Hathaway as Catwoman in a scene from the action thriller "The Dark Knight Rises." (Photo credit: AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Ron Phillips)

  • Morgan Freeman as Lucius Fox, left, and Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne in a scene from the action thriller "The Dark Knight Rises." (Photo credit: AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Ron Phillips)

  • Tom Hardy as Bane in a scene from the action thriller "The Dark Knight Rises." (Photo credit: AP Photo/Warner Bros. Pictures, Ron Phillips)

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@ HuffPostPol : Obama: Scripture says that he will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more...

@ HuffPostPol : Obama: We can all understand what it would be like to have someone that we love taken from us in this fashion

@ HuffPostPol : Obama: I also had the chance to give folks some hugs and to shed some tears ... and also to share some laughs.

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The AP reports:

The images brought it all back for survivors of the 1999 Columbine massacre. The blood. The tears. The confusion and the heartache, the elusive search for a reason why.

Paralyzed in the Columbine shootings, Anne Marie Hochhalter, now 30, says friends still reach out to alert her to prepare for disturbing images on the news. She got a text message Friday morning when she woke up. Warning, it said. There was another one, this time close to home.

Hochhalter took a deep breath and turned on the TV.

"My heart just fell," Hochhalter said Sunday. "It brought back a lot – flashbacks from that day. At the time I was so hurt I wasn't watching the news, you know, watching it like other people were. But this time, I was right there, seeing it all."

Columbine students who survived what in 1999 was the worst school massacre in U.S. history are re-living their own experiences. And they're banding together to try to help. On Facebook and by phone, they are reaching out to people who witnessed Friday's early-morning slayings of 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora.

Young people were victims and witnesses in both shootings. The Columbine survivors are telling those at the movie theater that the road ahead of them won't be easy.

Click here to read more.

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Reuters reports:

President Barack Obama's re-election team, maintaining an unofficial time-out on full-scale campaigning following a deadly shooting at a movie theater, said on Sunday it will keep its advertisements off the airwaves in Colorado for the rest of the week.

Obama and his Republican rival Mitt Romney both set aside the previously harsh tone of the November 6 election campaign to speak soothingly to the nation on Friday, after the shooting rampage that killed 12 at a midnight movie screening outside Denver.

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@ JordanGhawi : Sat down with President Obama. He has been incredible. He too has agreed not to mention the shooter's name.

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The AP reports:

President Barack Obama dashed to Colorado on Sunday to meet with families of those gunned down in a movie theater and to hear from state and local officials about the shooting that left 12 people dead and dozens more injured.

Air Force One touched down at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora late Sunday afternoon for the president's hastily arranged 2 1/2-hour visit, which includes a private meeting with the victims' loved ones and perhaps a public comment about the shooting early Friday morning at a busy multiplex.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates were among those who greeted Obama at Buckley.

The president is expected to speak at 7:30 p.m. ET.

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@ BreakingNews : Police in Aurora, Colo. say shooting suspect James Holmes is not cooperating with authorities - @SkyNewsBreak

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ABC on Sunday aired a clip of shooting suspect James Eagen Holmes. The clip showed Holmes discussing the idea of "temporal illusion" at science camp when he was 18.

"It's an illusion that allows you to change the past," he says.

To watch the video, click here.

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Authorities have identified the 12 victims who were killed early Friday morning in the Aurora, Colorado movie theater shooting.

The deceased included an aspiring sports reporter, a 6-year-old girl and a man celebrating his birthday.

For more about the victims, read the AP's report.

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Audio of the first hour of the police and fire response to the Colorado shooting was made available this weekend via RadioReference.com.

To listen to the recordings, click here (warning: extremely graphic content).

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James Holmes' gun jammed during the attack, a law enforcement source told the Associated Press.

The claim was made based on leftover bullets found in a magazine at the crime scene, the official said. The jam likely caused the suspect to change weapons in the middle of the attack.

More on this story here.

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@ KyleClark : Aurora PD reaffirms NO 2nd #theatershooting suspect: "An associate of Holmes was interviewed... no reason to believe that he is involved."

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Local station FOX31 reports:

Sources tell Justin Joseph someone made either a call or a text from the person of interest’s phone threatening violence if James Egan Holmes was not released from jail. That call prompted police to issue an alert to find and detain him.

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@ ProducerMatthew : KDVR report: Second "person of interest" sought by police in Aurora, Colorado mass shooting - http://t.co/ICWoWzKS

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From the AP:

Holmes apparently had prepared the attack at the Aurora theater well in advance, receiving multiple deliveries by mail for four months to his home and school and buying thousands rounds of ammunition on the Internet, Oates said.

"He had a high volume of deliveries," Oates said. "We think this explains how he got his hands on the magazine, ammunition," he said, as well as the rigged explosives in his apartment.

"What we're seeing here is evidence of some calculation and deliberation," Oates added.

Read more here.

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From HuffPost's Sam Stein:

The White House announced on Saturday night that the president will make a stop in Aurora this Sunday. The guidance, which does not say whether or not President Obama will make public remarks (as he did following the Giffords shooting), is copied below:

On Sunday, the President will depart the White House en route Colorado. The departure from the South Lawn and arrival at Buckley Air Force Base are open press. In Aurora, Colorado, the President will visit with families of victims of the shooting as well as local officials. In the evening, the President will depart Aurora, Colorado en route San Francisco, California. The departure from Buckley Air Force Base and arrival at San Francisco International Airport are open press.

The President will spend the night in San Francisco.

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@ denverpost : EXCLUSIVE: President Barack Obama to visit Aurora #theatershooting victims and families Sunday: http://t.co/onz2ojZM

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The New York Times has more details about James Holmes, including details from his day-to-day life:

"...Mr. Holmes struggled through his first academic year at the University of Colorado, Denver, and had dropped out by this spring. Neighbors from his gang-ridden neighborhood in Aurora described him as a solitary figure, recognizable as one of the few white residents of a largely Hispanic neighborhood, and always alone. Alone as he bought beer and liquor at neighborhood shops, as he ate burritos at La California restaurant or got his car fixed at the Grease Monkey auto shop. Alone as he rode his bicycle through the streets."

Read more here.

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@ jeffrossen : BREAKING: All hazards have been removed from James Holmes' apartment...per Aurora Police.

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@ BreakingNews : Colorado shooting suspect being held in solitary confinement for his own protection, says Arapahoe Co. sheriff

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The AP has a complete list of Aurora shooting victims. View it here.

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From TMZ:

A profile on a popular sex website appearing to be that of Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes is authentic ... so say sources connected to the website.

As TMZ first reported, the profile appeared on the website adultfriendfinder.com just days before the "Dark Knight Rises" massacre. The profile included a cryptic message on the top which reads, "Will you visit me in prison?"

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HuffPost's Sharon Carty reports:

When Peter Burns' cell phone rang at 2:15 a.m. Friday, he glanced at the caller ID with eyes blurred from sleep, and decided to ignore it.

It was Jordan Ghawi, a family friend. He figured he'd just call him back.

But at 5:15, his phone rang again. This time colleagues from a radio station where he used to work in San Antonio were calling to tell him his friend, and their former intern Jessica Ghawi had been killed the night before at a theater in Aurora, Colo.

At a midnight showing Friday of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colo., a gunman, identified by police as 24-year-old James Holmes, opened fire killing 12 people and wounding 58.

Burns, a local morning radio talk show host with Mile High Sports in Denver, had to make a decision: Call out of work, or go on the air. He decided to fill his show talking about his friend to take the focus off the shooter.

"I decided I'll do every single interview if it means we can't get this coward any airtime," Burns told The Huffington Post.

Full story here.

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Via The Denver Post:

Sometime late Thursday, Alex Sullivan posted this message on his Facebook page: "#TheDarkKnightRises OMG COUNTING down till it start cant wait going to be the best birthday ever."

Sullivan died on his 27th birthday. He and seven co-workers from a Red Robin restaurant had gone to the premiere. All eight were injured.

Full story here.

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Via HuffPost Denver:

At a Saturday press conference, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates provided details of Holmes' booby-trapped apartment. The place was designed "to kill whoever entered it."

"It was going to be a police officer... we sure as hell are angry," Oates said. "It's mind-boggling for me."

Two devices were set off in the afternoon, and the evidence "will continue to take some time" to gather, Oates said.

Read more here.

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@ AP : Police chief: Suspect in Colorado theater shooting booby-trapped his apartment specifically to target police: http://t.co/OXwfVOcu -CC

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@ denverpost : UPDATE: Officials hope to let neighbors of #theatershooting suspect's apartment into homes Sunday: http://t.co/aqhDcyrM

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@ AP : BREAKING: FBI says anyone who had opened door to apartment of theater shooting suspect would have been seriously injured or killed

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@ AP : BREAKING: Aurora police chief believes major threats were eliminated from shooting suspect's apartment

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@ nydailynews : Jailed shooting suspect James Holmes is 'spitting on guards,' thinks he's in a movie http://t.co/hQTx8ybQ #Aurora

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@ NBCNews : People with same name as #Aurora, CO shooter hounded on social media http://t.co/pqxLFOC1

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