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AURORA, Colo., July 29 (Reuters) - Colorado shooting suspect
James Holmes was likely facing eviction from the Aurora
apartment that authorities say he booby-trapped with explosives
last week, neighbors said.
Holmes, a former University of Colorado graduate student,
is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 others in a
shooting rampage at a midnight movie premiere of "A Dark Knight
Rises" on July 20, and wiring his apartment with enough
explosives to have leveled the building if they had detonated.
Neighbors and students in the North Aurora neighborhood
where Holmes lived said Holmes' withdrawal from the University
of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus a month before the shooting
would likely have triggered his eviction from the building,
which is reserved for people affiliated with the school.
Officials at the University of Colorado have said Holmes was
enrolled in the school's Ph.D. neuroscience program, but he
withdrew last month.
Nine days before the shooting, Holmes was seen on Paris
Street, asking landlords and neighbors if anyone was aware of a
vacant apartment in the area, several neighbors told Reuters.
Holmes was arrested in the movie theater parking lot shortly
after the shooting, and told officers his apartment contained
explosives, police said.
Law enforcement officials told Reuters the third floor Paris
Street apartment was rigged with 30 homemade explosives,
chemicals designed to accelerate a fire sparked by the bombs,
and trip wires to trigger the blast as soon as a person
attempted to enter the booby-trapped apartment.
The building was evacuated. But the explosives were later
safely dismantled and removed by authorities, and Holmes'
neighbors returned to their homes.
'EYES KEPT FLUTTERING'
On July 11, at around 3:30 p.m, Holmes approached neighbor
Carl Pedro Allen, 54, who was sitting in front of 1733 Paris
Street -- about a block away from Holmes' apartment building.
Holmes asked Allen, and others gathered there, if they knew of
any vacant one-bedroom apartments.
"We let him know there were no vacancies [in that building],
but we told him about where he might be able to find an open
apartment," Allen said.
Holmes was wearing jeans and sneakers and described himself
as a local student, Allen said. But Allen also said he noticed
something strange about Holmes' eyes.
"His eyes were fluttering and blinking," Allen said. "It was
really weird. I didn't know if he was high or what, but those
eyes kept fluttering."
Two others who witnessed the incident, Ashley Jones, 25, and
Rosando "JR" Causus, a maintenance man at 1733 Paris Street,
independently confirmed Allen's story.
At Holmes' initial court appearance last week, observers
said his eyes fluttered wildly and he blinked repeatedly. He is
due back in court on Monday.
Joan Holley of Holley Realty, which manages the building at
1690 Paris Street where Holmes lived, could not be reached for
comment. She had previously told Reuters that she would not
comment on matters related to the building.
Kylina Washington, 14, said she and her friend Asia Quinn
spoke with Holmes around the same time Allen said he did, behind
a 7-Eleven where clerks recognized Holmes as a regular customer.
"He said he was moving," Washington said.
Tori Everhart, 27, a resident in Holmes' building, said
Holley Realty representatives told her the building was reserved
for University of Colorado students, faculty and staff.
A second student resident, who was moving his belongings out
of a second floor apartment and into a U-Haul truck on Saturday
afternoon and declined to give his name, confirmed the policy.
"Only residents and faculty can live here," he said. The
student said withdrawal from the school would require a resident
to leave within a month.
A third student exiting the complex, who also declined to
allow her name to be used, confirmed the policy.
(Reporting By Chris Francescani; Editing by Edith Honan and