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Displaced by possible boobytraps, Colorado suspect's neighbors can only wait

Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes booby-trapped his apartment with wires and incendiary devices. Bomb experts are trying to figure out the best way to proceed so that they can search the apartment without triggering an explosion. NBC's Pete Williams reports.

AURORA, Colo. -- Neighbors of the man accused of firing into a packed movie theater outside Denver, killing 12 and injuring 58, carried bags and baskets filled with clothes, Bibles and toiletries after police briefly let them return home late Friday while they worked to determine if he booby-trapped his apartment.

Lavonne Bradshaw, 52, who has lived in the neighborhood for one year, carried her light brown ringneck dove “Bonzo” in a large cage. The bird was left behind when police officers evacuated her and her two daughters around 5 a.m.

“The next thing I knew the whole SWAT team, everybody was out there,” she told NBC News. “We pretty much grabbed what we can and we went out.”


Bradshaw said authorities told them they had to leave because there could be a possible incendiary device set up by the suspect, James Holmes, who lived across the street and who she had seen a few times.

Aurora police said Holmes booby-trapped his apartment with an elaborate network of wire-connected bottles containing unknown liquids, perhaps intended to go off when authorities arrived to canvass his home.

Holmes told police about the trap before they arrived, however, and investigators hadn't entered the apartment Friday night. They were analyzing gases and examining photographs of the scene to figure out how to deal with the materials and had decided to defer any action until Saturday at the earliest.

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It’s not clear when Bradshaw or her neighbors will be able to go back home. She was going to stay with her brother for the night, while other neighbors said they planned to rent motel rooms though a school was set up as a shelter.

In the rush to leave her apartment, Bradshaw also left behind needles for her diabetes treatment. She carried that along with Bonzo’s food late Friday. Others toted toothbrushes and clothes. One man carried his uniform for his work in passenger services at the airport.

“It’s unbelievable, and it’s just very sad,” Bradshaw said. “This community here, everyone knows each other, we know people that were at the theater … and my son was going to watch the movie but had a change of plans … of which I’m glad.”

Several people gathered on a corner down the street from where Holmes lived said they wanted to move.

“That man is crazy,” said Brenda Luna, a 26-year-old who works as a hotel supervisor and lived in the same building as Holmes. She said she was very frightened and would leave her place in a month.

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Officers were stationed at New York theaters and elsewhere in the country where "The Dark Knight Rises" was playing. NBC's Anne Thompson reports.

Sitting near her on the grass, Jesus Arteaga, 34, said he grabbed shoes, a set of clothes and a Bible when police let him into his apartment for a few minutes. His roommate, Leonardo Felix, who works in roofing, questioned if he could sleep well when they were allowed to return.

“We have to move, we have to leave that place,” said Felix, 52, noting that he worried “maybe other people will come around here and do the same” as Holmes.

Jimmy Davis, a 54-year-old airport worker, carried his uniform on a hanger and a toothbrush in his shirt pocket late Friday. He said he slept on a cot in a police training building where some evacuees were initially taken.

He said he wouldn’t have any qualms returning home: “This is where I live.”

Bradshaw also said she wouldn’t have a problem returning.

“I’d just like to be home, of course … but, you know, I want to make sure it’s safe,” she said, as sirens wailed in the distance.

Suspect James Eagan Holmes reportedly never said a word while allegedly shooting 71 people and killing 12 in a sold-out showing for Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises." Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper said it was "the act of a very deranged mind." NBC's Miguel Almaguer reports.

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