Batman gunman made appeal on sex website

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AP

James E Holmes appears in Arapahoe County District Court, Monday, July 23, 2012, in Centennial, Colorado.

The crazed gunman who shot 12 people dead in a US cinema as they watched the new Batman movie had earlier appealed on a sex website for women to visit him in jail.

Police were last night investigating a profile on sex cruising website AdultFriendFinder placed by college drop-out James Holmes, 24, two weeks before Thursday's midnight massacre.

On it, he said he was looking for “casual sex” or a “fling” - and wrote: “Will you visit me in prison?”

Holmes was equipped with a legally-purchased arsenal of four guns and more than 6 000 rounds, which could have slaughtered thousands, when he carried out the massacre at the Century 16 cinema in Aurora, just outside Denver, Colorado.

Seven victims named yesterday included a six-year-old girl, Veronica Moser, whose mum was seriously wounded in the attack.

The others named were aspiring TV sports reporter Jessica Ghawi, 24, 18-year-old AJ Boik, 27-year-old US Navy sailor John Larimer, Micayla Medek, 23, Matt McQuinn, 27 and Alex Sullivan who died on his 27th birthday. Matt McQuinn was killed as he shielded his girlfriend Samantha from bullets.

Holmes had dyed his hair a ginger colour, as he had on his sex site profile, and said he was The Joker - Batman's arch nemesis - before he tossed a gas canister into the late-night showing of The Dark Knight Rises and began firing.

The killer had bought a movie ticket and sat down at the screening of the new Batman movie before opening fire on innocent cinemagoers. He sneaked out moments before the first fight scene in the film and propped open a fire exit before driving his car back to the door.

Inside the car he had an AR-15 assault rifle, a Remington 870 shotgun, and two Glock handguns. After arming himself with the weapons, he burst back in and opened fire shortly before 12.30am. He killed 12 people and injured 58 others, 11 of whom are still in a critical condition.

Some people at first thought the shooting was part of the movie.

Detectives said Holmes was dressed all in black, wearing a ballistic helmet, a ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector, a groin protector, a gas mask and black tactical gloves.

Yesterday police began defusing 30 booby-trap bombs planted inside the mass murderer's flat.

Holmes bought the four weapons used in his killing spree at the packed cinema from gun stores in Colorado in the last two months. He also recently purchased 6 000 rounds of ammunition over the internet.

The twisted killer's youngest victim, six-year-old Veronica Moser, learned how to swim just four days ago.

Her 25-year-old mum Ashley, who was shot in the neck and stomach, remains in a critical condition in hospital and doesn't yet know her little girl is dead.

“It's a nightmare right now,” said the child's great aunt Annie Dalton.

Anita Busch, the cousin of 23-year-old victim Micayla Medek's father, said: “Knowing her fate after waiting without word brought them some peace.

“I hope this evil act, that this evil man doesn't shake people's faith in God.”

Another of the victims, Jessica Ghawi, narrowly escaped another shooting last month at a Toronto shopping mall that left one person dead and four others injured.

On her blog, the journalist, who hoped for a TV career, penned a now chilling post about how she left the scene just moments before that shooting in Canada took place.

“This empty, almost sickening feeling won't go away,” the 24-year-old wrote.

“I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Centre in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm's way.

“It's hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting.”

One of the people who fled the cinema bloodbath last night described how he tried to shut the door on the gunman.

Twenty-three-year-old Eric Hunter said he and his friends made their way to an exit door after seeing smoke and hearing shots during the movie as they sat in the adjoining cinema room.

When they opened the door, he said they saw two teenage girls - one of whom had been shot in the mouth.

Mr Hunter said he was about to close the door when he saw the shooter, dressed in a bullet-proof vest and a gas mask, approaching.

He bravely held the door closed and the gunman banged on it for about 10 seconds.

Within minutes of the shooting, frantic emergency calls brought some 200 police officers, ambulances and emergency crews to the cinema.

Holmes was captured in the car park and offered no resistance. He later boasted to police 'I am The Joker'.

Police later found that his nearby apartment was booby-trapped and yesterday began dismantling the traps.

Trip wires had been linked to firebombs which would have exploded once someone walked into the apartment.

Police officers also said that an electrical timer had been set to start playing loud music in Holmes' heavily booby-trapped apartment at the moment the shootings started - in a twisted attempt to lure neighbours into the flat and trigger a huge explosion.

A total of 30 small devices were planted inside the 800 sq.ft apartment.

Kaitlyn Fonzi, a student who lives in the apartment below, said she heard the loud music coming from that apartment and knocked on Holmes' door. The student called police, who told her they were busy with the shooting and did not have time to respond to a noise disturbance.

“I'm concerned if I had opened the door, I would have set it off,” she said.

The shooting was the worst in the US since the November 2009 attack at Fort Hood, Texas when an Army psychiatrist killed 13 soldiers and civilians.

It was the deadliest in Colorado since the 1999 attack at Columbine High School, where two students killed 12 classmates and a teacher before killing themselves.

Holmes, who is due to appear in court tomorrow over the Batman massacre, had enrolled last year in a neuroscience PhD course at the University of Colorado-Denver, though he dropped out last month.

In academic achievement, “he was at the top of the top”, recalled Timothy White, chancellor at the University of California, Riverside, where Holmes earned his degree before moving to Denver.

Those who knew Holmes described him as a shy, intelligent person raised in California by parents who were active in their neighbourhood. -

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