Some residents are moving out of the building where Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes is accused of booby-trapping his apartment with explosives that a law enforcement source said could have destroyed the complex if detonated.
“I’m still kind of in shock,” said resident Tori Everhart, 27, ducking under yellow police tape surrounding the building on Friday, her arms full of luggage. “I just want to get out of here.”
Since Mr. Holmes allegedly opened fire July 20 in a crowded Denver-area movie theatre, killing 12 and wounding 58 more, his Paris Street apartment building has become a macabre tourist attraction.
Throughout the day, cars slow as they pass the building that has 12 apartment units on three floors. Some of those passing lean out car windows to snap pictures, while others park their cars and get out to stare up at Mr. Holmes’ third-floor corner apartment, whose windows were nailed shut this week with boards.
The apartment building is a block from the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, where Mr. Holmes took classes. According to court documents released on Friday, Mr. Holmes sought psychiatric treatment from Dr. Lynne Fenton, director of the school’s student mental health services.
Police hurriedly evacuated the apartment complex after learning that Mr. Holmes’ apartment had been rigged to explode if someone tried to enter it.
A federal law enforcement source told Reuters last week that triggering the bombs could have destroyed the building.
PLANNED TO MOVE
Ms. Everhart said she had been planning to move out next Wednesday, when her one-year lease expires.
But after learning of the bomb plot, Ms. Everhart said she never wanted to spend another night there.
“I’ve been thanking my lucky stars that we all didn’t come to a different end,” Ms. Everhart said of herself and fellow residents, some of whom have told her they are moving out.
On Saturday, a couple who live on the second floor said they, too, would probably move out, but had not made a final decision. They declined to give their names.
Ms. Everhart and other residents said Mr. Holmes was an unremarkable neighbour who did little to call attention to himself.
“I don’t think anyone will ever know what was really going through his mind,” she said.
Dmitry Shchekochikhin, a University of Colorado medical student who lives on the first floor of the building, remembered Mr. Holmes as being less than neighbourly.
“Whenever I would say hello or would greet him, he would never say anything back,” Mr. Shchekochikhin said.
He said he was still deciding whether to move out, but that neighbours told him they planned to leave as soon as possible.