News24

US cinema shooting suspect a loner

2012-07-21 06:58

Washington - The suspected gunman in the Colorado cinema massacre emerged on Friday as a 24-year-old medical student with a reputation as a loner going back to his southern California childhood.

James Holmes was enrolled since June 2011 as a student in neurosciences at the University of Colorado, but was in the process of withdrawing, the Denver Post newspaper quoted a university spokesman as saying.

In a photo released by the university, Holmes appears smirking in a burnt-orange T-shirt and slightly disheveled hair.

Another photo, from his San Diego high school yearbook, depicted Holmes in a dark suit, flashing a toothy smile. He graduated from Westview High School in San Diego in 2006.

The FBI described Holmes as a white male, 1.9m tall, born on December 13 1987, with no significant criminal record and no links to terrorism.

Police in Aurora, Colorado, told reporters his only black mark in the city was a speeding ticket in 2011.

In an apartment rental application he submitted in early 2011, Holmes described himself as a "quiet and easy-going" student, the Denver Post said on its website.

"No one knew him. No one," it quoted a pharmacy student living in the same building - reserved for medical students, faculty and staff - in Aurora as saying.

The student, who only gave his name as Ben, said Holmes kept to himself and would not say hello or acknowledge other people in the hallway.

Ben also revealed he had called police shortly after midnight - coincidentally around the time of the massacre at a Batman premiere - to report a song blaring from inside Holmes' apartment.

Ben could not make out the song, but it appeared to be playing on repeat.

Tom Mai, a next-door neighbor of the Holmes family in San Diego, remembered Holmes as a shy teenager who did not play or socialize with other youngsters in the neighborhood, the San Diego Union-Tribune newspaper said.

"He said that he last saw him two years ago when he came home during summer recess from college," it said on its website.

"The family, he said, was nice and involved with a Presbyterian church."

Holmes graduated from the University of California in Riverside in 2010 with a degree in neuroscience, said its director of communications Kris Lovekin, who added she could not release any further information about him.

Local judicial officials quoted by the Union-Tribune said Holmes had no past or pending court cases in San Diego.

Mashable.com, which monitors social media, said Holmes was "an online ghost" with no apparent presence on sites like Facebook or Twitter, although people sharing Holmes' name found themselves suddenly bombarded with attention.

In a statement, Holmes' family said they were co-operating with investigators.

"We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy," the family said, after Holmes' mother Arlen confirmed her son was the suspected shooter.

Comments
  • Lyndatjie - 2012-07-21 07:28

    What on earth makes a person unhinge like this? Just how far removed from reality do you have to be to do this.... Are we just breeding a generation of monsters by desentisizing them with violent movies, games and news stories of other monsters? Or is it because the media just glorifies them more by putting their names up in lights so that the hungry viewers can have snippets to read about them? Was this loner feeling invisible and craved attention? I seriously need to understand this because I'm busy thinking of all the "loners" I know and now I'm wondering if they are potential mass murderers..... :(

      delish7564 - 2012-07-21 09:12

      Therein lies a problem straight away. Why should you wonder about the "loners" you know? Just because some people like to keep themselves to themselves, doesn't mean they are potential murderers! The way humans behave towards each other gives plentry of incentive for some people to want to keep a very low profile and stay away from other humans and I don't blame them. Don't generalize and label all "loners" .....what an insult to those who just want a quiet life!!!!!!!!!

      Gobsky.Raging.Bull - 2012-07-22 06:47

      Violent movies and games have nothing to do with this. Please stop including "video games" as part of the reason. The amount of murders that occur per day that are completely unrelated to video games by far outweighs those that can even barely relate to video games. If you'd like me to give you a number, one in every fifty thousand murders committed can even SLIGHTLY be related to video games. The last time there was a murderer who got linked to video games was the norwegian mass killer from last year and he said he had planned to do the attack long before he started "practicing" via video games. I'll put it into an analogy: The killer was a killer before the video game, not afterwards. Don't blame it on the games. Blame it on everyone around the person not being able to notice the signs as well as the person's upbringing. But for the sake of humanity, never ever blame video games again.

  • Enid Molebatsi - 2012-07-21 08:14

    have been reading comments ppl make... when r we going to grow up en stop making racists comments? do we really want our kids to also grow up being racists? what r we really teaching them? come on people, let's try en b better ppl en build tomorrow's nation with pride..... fine there is a freedom of speech which i respect but if u hv no comment just shut da hell up en stop blaming apartheid for everything en being racists..... we will never move on if we keep on bringing da past...... grow up ppl.....

      fther.christmas.35 - 2012-07-21 09:06

      Enid was making an intelligent comment - seems intelligence is evil in your view. You're as clever as Busisiwe...unfortunately.

      fther.christmas.35 - 2012-07-21 15:38

      Boy you do have tunnel vision don't you? You cannot see anything that doesn't agree with your view that all whites are evil racists and all blacks (not the rugby team in case that confuses you) are angelic non-racists. There are plenty examples of both white and black racists on these forums and plenty of examples of decent white and black people. Your hatred colours (no offense intended) your views. Shame.

      fther.christmas.35 - 2012-07-21 21:59

      You do like to froth don't you. What white racist postings on this article? Perhaps they have been removed - maybe even some white people reported the comments? Did that thought cross your mind? Probably not. Arrogant clown. Take your inferiority complex somewhere else.

  • Mark - 2012-07-21 08:34

    It's their lack of proper fire-arm control laws. This will continue to happen if people like this can get their hands on such weapons. Basically any person with a grudge can walk into a Gun Shop and buy a brand new fully automatic weapon. Does this happen as much in any other country with strict gun control laws? Some may say "It's not the gun that kills, but the person." That may be true, but a lunatic with an automatic weapon can kill many, many people.

      Squeegee - 2012-07-21 08:44

      Mark how do you explain the 50 murders a day in SA? Furthermore get your facts straight - you cannot buy a fully automatic weapon in the USA - if this nutjob had one there would have been many more dead. He had a SEMI automatic. If you want to worry about fully automatic weapons start thinking about all the R4' and R5s that go missing from our army and police. There are thousands of these in circulation in SA.

      goyougoodthing - 2012-07-21 08:58

      Mark, you are right of course. The NRA loves guns and Americans love killing people, especially peasants in other countries.

      Mark - 2012-07-21 09:35

      @Squeegee.pilot - are the murders in SA carried out with legally purchased fully automatic weapons and by one person? Think before posting silly replies.

      gieljam.gomtor - 2012-07-21 09:42

      This issue has gone from the saying "a storm in a( tea cup) cinema " to a mud slinging fight on med 24

      TheReal.EuanB - 2012-07-21 11:09

      Who cares if its fully or semi automatic. If it was legally or illegally obtained...the fact is, in a human's hands a gun is a dangerous thing and in my opinion one of the worst inventions EVER! The issue is abt this guy that killed ppl... Lets stick to that. He is obviously a person with a warped truth on reality. Living inside the comics and computer life and relates to them because he cannot relate to real ppl and saw the joker as something to aspire to because in the previous movie, the joker is more powerful than ever before and that must have been attractive to him. So much so that he had to copy him

      Squeegee - 2012-07-21 13:55

      Mark, you dweeb. Did you even read my post? Note the difference between a semi-automatic and a fully automatic weapon. Are you 10?

      Squeegee - 2012-07-21 13:57

      Another thing to consider is that if a disturbed person like this is determined he will find a way - guns or no guns. He would probably have killed more with easily made petrol bombs...

  • Felix Njewa Kankhukwa - 2012-07-21 08:41

    poor family!

      sharon.a.marks.9 - 2012-07-21 11:28

      where the hell was chuck norris

  • zeke.ngcobo - 2012-07-21 09:39

    To those responding to Busisiwe by lumping black people in one negative group are stooping to her level. I don't agree with what she said at all and instead of focusing on the story and the people affected by this tragedy, we are all busy flinging mud at each other!!! We all know that some people need to grow up and until then just ignore them!!!

  • teddy.beer.319 - 2012-07-21 10:07

    Racists are at it again here. Can someone tell me in one sentence: How do we dismantle this racism atomic bomb? Any help will do. I feel sick to my groin!

  • flysouth - 2012-07-21 10:30

    What allows this to happen? Well, in a time when aberrant behaviour on a day to day basis in no longer seen as aberrant and when any almost any strange behaviour is deemed as 'acceptable' because we cannot be 'judgemental' of other people according to politically correct doctrine, what do you expect? Fact is there was a time before the PC brigade determined that 'anything goes' in terms of weirdness in behaviour, when your family or neighbours would call for intervention and men in white coats would come and take you away for examination by a psychiatrist if you started acting like a nutcase. These days the nutcases are all around us, nobody dare point a finger at obviously crazy behaviour until long after the bodies have hit the ground and if a nutcase was taken off to a psychiatrist before he started shooting, the psychiatrist would probably call his dementia simply 'self-expression'!

  • visko.vandermerwe - 2012-07-21 10:36

    All the guns were LEGALLY purchased. In America you can buy as many guns as you like. But you can't smoke a silly joint. GO AMERICA!!!

  • victor.tamaranui - 2012-07-21 10:55

    A Savage incident perpetrated by one.

  • dakey.ras.73 - 2012-07-21 10:56

    Here we find a neuroscience graduate who clearly has no moral compass and simply doesn't see his actions as wrong. He doesn't even believe in right or wrong. It is quite ironic perhaps that his actions may well have been influenced by the previous Batman. How many civilians were killed or blown up in that movie? Indeed he does mimic the 'Joker'.

  • garth.baldwin.96 - 2012-07-21 10:58

    My money is on a mental disorder: schizophrenia, bipolar or substance induced..

  • TheReal.EuanB - 2012-07-21 11:58

    Once the FBI finds out his motives etc etc and hollywood gets a hold of it, they r gna make a movie out of this i promise u... And this guy clearly has lost it...I mean even down to the dramatic music as he ended innocent lives...he really wants to be the joker...damn Dark Knight was too good of a movie.

  • evon.nieman - 2012-07-21 13:09

    Just wondering. He was doing pHD in neuro science: Could he have guinea pig for Pharmaceutical co and it went horribly wrong?

  • brendan.j.currie.9 - 2012-07-21 15:33

    As a South African it is so embarrassing and depressing to read the absolute crap people write about each other, no matter what the news article is about(unless it's about God, then only half the time), race is the main focus of the comments. Whine, whine, whine. Blame blame blame blame. The majority of people is so busy trying to be superior over some other individual that your country disintegrates around you and nothing is done. Instead of spewing stupid half-thought out,hateful things online where there is no consequence for what's said take action and make change, positive change or at least try. Wake up people you are all stupid if you think what you doing is constructive in any way.

  • gail.hayesbean - 2012-07-21 16:27

    The tragic reality in this story is that legally not even a parent can have their child committed if they think their child has lost it once he is over a certain age. Ths is because laws were changed due to some of the things done back in the dark ages in mental institutions. Psychiatry is portrayed as an industry of death by Scientologists many of whom have more money than common sense for example.Of course some drugs have an adverse effect since we are all unique and it isn't until something like this happens that everyone gets upset. The truth is that someone who has lost his grip on reality and agrees to go on medication is basically on his own instead of in a mental facility where the effects of medication can be monitored by trained mental health professionals. I had an 18 year old boy board with me whose whole life was taken over by mxit to the point where having a conversation with him one wasn't sure if what you were being told was actual or imaginary taken from some strange ideas in his head. There was no shortage of money but he was the type of person who I could actually picture acting something like this out since he wasn't embarrassed to do things in front of his peers which made the recipients cringe with embarrassment. Thankfully he was a hopeless romantic hormone fuelled young male. He was supposed to have tested as highly intelligent but his grasp on reality was shaky and he definitely had a bit of obsessive compulive about certain movies and things. Tragic.

  • delish7564 - 2012-07-22 00:38

    How did this become about racism? We seem to have jumped from the first comment where no mention was made of race to Enid commenting on people's racist remarks but unless I am missing something, there was nothing like this in between. Confused.com!!!!!

      brendan.j.currie.9 - 2012-07-22 07:40

      The moderator has deleted a whole lot of comments made by people which you missed. You didn't miss much though just South Africans doing what they do best, obsess over race and who's to blame.

      fther.christmas.35 - 2012-07-22 08:27

      It's all brendan's fault...

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