Holmes Getaway Plan After Aurora Shooting: What Did The Killer Have Planned?

By iScienceTimes Staff on January 11, 2013 3:41 PM EST

James Holmes getaway plan
James Holmes planned an elaborate getaway involving anti-tire road spikes and tear gas stashed in his car. He was apprehended before he made it to his vehicle. (Photo: Reuters)

Aurora shooter James Holmes getaway plan included anti-tire devices, tear gas, a .40 caliber handgun and an iPhone, according to police testimony at his trial this week. Holmes is on trial for murdering 12 people and injuring scores more at a midnight shooting during a screening of "The Dark knight Rises". He faces 160 counts of murder and attempted murder. Holmes' getaway plan was linked to booby traps set at his apartment designed to create an inferno to distract local authorities while he carried out the massacre. Luckily, the booby trap failed because police apprehended Holmes and he told them of the traps he set.

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"The guy was a mad scientist," a source told the New York Post. "There was a magnetic switch [in his apartment so that] when the door opens up, it would trip a chemical container into another chemical container that would ignite the cans of gasoline and light up the whole place and kill the cops."

Holmes' getaway plan also included some SWAT team subterfuge. Holmes ordered a set of body armor from a police supplier that was an exact match of the kind worn by aurora first responders. His goal was to slip by unnoticed and getaway in his car which was parked nearby. The items found in his car, authorities believe, were to be a part of Holmes' getaway plan only if things turned ugly.

"I do think he was thinking that he was going to get away from that movie theater," Mary Ellen O'Toole, a former FBI profiler not associated with the case, told Yahoo News.

Holmes getaway plan was thwarted when eagle-eyed SWAT members noticed that his disguise was not exactly like theirs, Holmes wore groin and throat guards that SWAT members don't use because it restricts movement. It was a small detail, but one that undoubtedly saved more lives.

The officer who arrested Holmes said the shooter surrendered without incident. Aurora Sgt. Gerald Jonsgaard, testified that he had Holmes in his rifle sights when Holmes threw his hands up in the air for approaching officers.

"It was instant and exaggerated," Jonsgaard told Yahoo News. "It was like he was surprised or something like that."

Police suspect that Holmes getaway plan would have bought some time, particularly because of the tire-shredding Road Stars he bought online. The small, spiked devices could have easily been tossed out his car window, police said. Holmes legally ordered the Road Stars online.

Holmes' getaway plan was revealed during the pretrial proceedings this week. After hearing mountains of evidence against Holmes, Judge William Sylvester ruled prosecutors had shown enough probable cause this week to proceed with a trial. An arraignment is scheduled for Monday morning, but Holmes' lawyers will likely ask for a continuance because they are not ready to enter a plea. He may try to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, which may explain why prosecutors detailed Holmes' getaway plan to establish he was of sound enough mind to plan the shooting and an elaborate escape. At one point during the proceedings, Holmes' defense attorney asked a witness if they were "aware that people can be found not guilty on the grounds of insanity."

"We would have seen a different finale had his apartment building exploded," O'Toole said. "The only one who knows what he was going to do at the end would be James Holmes. But with the planning that was involved in this case, I think he considered a number of options."

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