Denver shooting suspect James Holmes purchased some 6,000 rounds of ammunition over the internet before carrying out his massacre at a midnight screening of Batman.
The ammunition was part of a massive arsenal he gathered in the run-up to the killings, which also included four guns legally purchased at local gun shops.
His weapons were two Glock pistols, a 12-guage shotgun, and a high-powered AR-15 assault rifle fitted with a drum magazine allowing a fire rate of 50 to 60 rounds per minute.
Dan Oates, the chief of police in Aurora, Colorado, where Holmes killed 12 people and injured 58 others, said: ‘He purchased four guns at local gun shops and through the internet he purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition, more than 3,000 rounds of 0.223 ammunition for the assault rifle, 3,000 rounds of 0.40 calibre ammunition for the two Glocks in his possession, and 300 rounds for the 12 gauge shotgun.
“Also through the internet he purchased multiple magazines for the 0.223 calibre assault rifle including one 100-round drum magazine which was recovered from the scene.
“Even if it was semi-automatic I’m told by experts that with that drum magazine he could have got off 50 to 60 rounds within a minute. As far as we know it was a pretty rapid pace of fire in the theatre.
“My understanding is that all the weapons he possessed, he possessed legally and all the clips that he possessed, he possessed legally and all the ammunition he possessed, he possessed legally.”
Holmes is also believed to have joined a casual sex website where he apparently hinted at his plans for his killing spree, asking potential suitors: “Will you visit me in prison?”
The AdultFriendFinder website, which offers users the chance for casual encounters, features pictures of a man features pictures of a man who resembles Holmes with dyed red hair, the same colour described by NYPD spokesman Ray Kelly following Holmes’s arrest.
Under the username ‘classicjimbo’, the 24-year-old — known as Jimmy to friends and family — said he was “looking for a fling or casual sex gal. Am a nice guy. Well, as nice enough of a guy who does these sort of shenanigans (sic)”.
The AdultFriendFinder account was last accessed on Tuesday, two days before the shootings. Holmes is believed to have joined the site on July 5th, just two weeks before Thursday’s attack.
The ease with which Holmes was able to obtain his deadly arsenal has provoked renewed debate over the issue of gun control in the US, where many are fiercely protective of their Constitutional Second Amendment ‘right to bear arms’.
Colorado’s gun laws are notoriously lax, even in light of the 1999 Columbine High School shootings, which took place just a 30 minute drive from the site of the Aurora cinema massacre.
Thirteen students died at Columbine when disaffected students Eric Harris and and Dylan Klebold opened fire on campus.
Firearm rights organisations have successfully blocked many attempts to tighten gun legislation in the state, and residents are permitted to carry loaded weapons in a vehicle if intended for ‘lawful purposes’. Individuals with permits are entitled to carry concealed weapons and many claim the process of obtaining a permit is ‘straightforward’ for anyone with no prior criminal convictions.
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