Nightly News   |  July 21, 2012

Mystery surrounds motive of shooting suspect

Authorities in Colorado are trying to piece together what could have driven suspected gunman James Eagan Holmes to open fire in an Aurora movie theater. NBC’s Mike Taibbi reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> good evening from the scene of one of the worst mass shootings, this community is still struggling to understand what happened here early friday. the number of dead remains at 1258 oth1 12, 58 others wounded. right now 26 people still in the hospital. nine of them in critical condition. right now we are learning more about the victims at least one child among them. we are hearing stories all this as authorities expand their investigation about the suspect. today they are finally able to center his heavy boboby tr-trapped apartment.

>> reporter: good evening. police were able to enter the apartment. they say it was successful but it was the first step not the last step in learning what secrets might be hidden in the apartment. part of the james holmes mystery is becoming clear. how a clean-cut kid everyone called jimmy changed into a man with pink died hair was seen purchasing an assault rival weeks oog. william mckey was in the store.

>> i had a feeling a guy like that shouldn't be buying that kind of a gun. he had a weird look about him.

>> they found the apartment was booby-trapped as he had reportedly warned it was. a kcontrolled debt nation defeated the first of those triggers. triggers that could well have delivered even more tragedy beyond that three miles away .

>> it was clearly set up to kill that person.

>> reporter: as the day wore on, it was clear there was much to be done before investigators could safely enter the apartment.

>> we saw tainers with accelerants and triggers wires and fuses.

>> what changed james holmes ? he had always been a gifted student and a soccer player, a teammate remembered hip.

>> he was reserved, kept to himself, but at the same time he was a nice kid, very smart and quiet.

>> but it was academics that propelled him. he earned a degree in near row science.

>> he was an honor student . he was at the top of the top.

>> at the next self the medical college at the university of colorado graduate school proved tougher. he faced a preliminary elimination in june and instead he quit. daze la days later place say he brought the last of four weapons like these. his father was as shocked to blern as that his gifted son was a sole suspect in a genuine horror. what is left for others to figure out the how and why but they are not there yet.

>> if you think we are angry we sure as hell are angry.

>> holmes has been buying ammunition that supplied online. and areportedly not speaking to police right now. his first court appearance scheduled for monday when is usually the case more will be revealed.