AURORA, Colo. -- The suspect in the Colorado movie theater massacre that to date has left 12 killed and 59 wounded is the son of a couple from San Diego, according to media reports.
James Holmes, 24, is accused of bursting into the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora about 12:30 am Colorado time this morning about a half hour after the premiere of the new Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."
The suspect was wearing a gas mask and a bullet-resistant vest and dressed in black protective gear from head to toe, and apparently threw a chemical weapon into the packed audience. Then the suspect began shooting randomly at Batman fans, using a pump-action shotgun, two Glock handguns and an AR-15 semiautomatic assault rifle.
The suspect was taken into police custody in the parking lot of the movie theater.
Police have been unable to search the suspect's apartment, saying that it is a "booby trap," and they evacuated the other residents in the complex.
About 8:20 am today, San Diego police spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown standing in front of the San Diego couple's home spoke to a slew of media gathered outside their house in the Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood. She said Holmes graduated from a high school in San Diego, but declined to say which one. Fox5News and NBC 7 reported that a Holmes family friend showed reporters a yearbook from Westview High School, showing that the suspect graduated from there in 2006.
Brown also confirmed other media reports that Holmes was in Colorado to earn a PhD, but an Aurora official told MSNBC that Holmes withdrew last month from the University of Colorado Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus. That official said Holmes had lived in San Diego and Riverside, Calif.
Holmes graduated in 2010 from the University of California Riverside with a bachelor of science in neuroscience.
10News reported this morning that Holmes has a sister who is a student at San Diego State University. Her name was not mentioned.
Lt. Brown distributed a written statement from the family:
"Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California, and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."
This morning, President Barack Obama told the nation that "Today is a day of prayer and reflection" in honor of the victims. He reflected on how senseless the mass shooting was and how investigators may never know the reason behind the shooting.
"[Even] as we learn how this happened and who's responsible, we may never understand what leads anybody to terrorize their fellow human beings like this. Such violence, such evil is senseless. It's beyond reason. But while we will never know fully what causes somebody to take the life of another, we do know what makes life worth living. The people we lost in Aurora loved and they were loved. They were mothers and fathers; they were husbands and wives; sisters and brothers; sons and daughters, friends and neighbors. They had hopes for the future and they had dreams that were not yet fulfilled," Obama said.
The President said he spoke to Steve Hogan, the mayor of Aurora, and Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and pledged federal help in the criminal investigation into the massacre.
Both Obama and Mitt Romney, his Republican opponent in the 2012 presidential election, temporarily pulled their political ads from Colorado television stations.
As a precaution against copycat attacks, many movie theaters showing the Batman movie around the U.S. are beefing up security in cooperation with local police.