Photo Courtesy University of Colorado
DENVER - James Eagan Holmes came from a well-tended San Diego enclave of two-story homes with red-tiled roofs, where neighbors recall him as a clean-cut, studious young man of sparing words.
Tall and dark-haired, he stares clear-eyed at the camera in a 2004 high school yearbook snapshot, wearing a white junior varsity soccer uniform. The son of a nurse and a software company manager, Holmes was a brilliant science scholar in college.
The biggest mystery surrounding the 24-year-old doctoral student is why he would have pulled on a gas mask and shot dozens of people in a suburban Denver movie theater, as police allege.
In the age of widespread social media, no trace of Holmes could be found anywhere on the web. Either he never engaged, or he scrubbed his trail.
Holmes enrolled last year in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver but was in the process of withdrawing, according to school officials, who didn't provide a reason.
New York City's police commissioner says the gunman in the Colorado movie theater rampage had painted his hair red and called himself the Joker - the villain from the Batman movies.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday that he had been briefed about the shootings that killed 12 and wounded nearly 60 others at a showing of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" at a suburban Denver theater.
Holmes is not talking to police and has asked for a lawyer, according to a law enforcement official briefed on the investigation.
Police say Holmes is responsible for killing 12 people and injuring 59 others in one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
When the smoke began to spread, some moviegoers thought it was a stunt that was part of the "The Dark Knight Rises," one of the most highly anticipated films of the summer. They saw a silhouette of a person in the haze near the screen, pointing a gun at the crowd and then shooting.
"The Dark Knight Rises" director is speaking out about the Colorado theater slayings, calling it a "senseless tragedy" and "devastating."
In a statement released Friday night, Christopher Nolan expressed his sadness about the shooting at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
Nolan called movies a great American art form and said watching one is an important and joyful pastime. He called the theater his home, and said the fact that someone would commit an act of violence against innocent people there is savage and "devastating."
He added that the cast and crew's thoughts are with the victims and their families.
"The Dark Knight Rises" is the final film in Nolan's Batman trilogy.
The victims included the son-in-law of a Stillwater-area couple, who said that Carey Rottman, of Milwaukee, is doing alright, but will need multiple surgeries after being shot in the leg.
Police in Colorado say they will start meeting with the families of shooting victims to tell them the fate of their loved ones.
Aurora Police Chief Dan Coates says the last of the 10 deceased victims from the midnight showing of a Batman movie was removed from the theater Friday afternoon.
Coates says officers expect to get a confirmed list of the deceased and meet with their families Friday night.
In addition to the 10 people who died at the theater, two others later died from their injuries.
Coates says 11 victims are in critical condition.
The chief says suspect Holmes purchased four guns at local gun shops and 6,000 rounds of ammunition through the Internet.
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