Holmes 'the Joker' took prescription drug before shooting
James Holmes, the alleged 'Joker' gunman, described his fascination with altered states of mind in a lecture to other students, and dosed up on prescription medication before the atrocity, it emerged yesterday.
The first video footage of the suspect showed him as an awkward, nervous 18-year-old giving a talk at a science summer camp in San Diego on "temporal illusions". It also emerged that in the days before the attack, Holmes, a cannabis smoker, joined a dating website seeking women for "sexy times" and also tried to join a gun club.
The University of Colorado said it was investigating whether he used his position as a neuroscience PhD student to order materials that he used to booby-trap his apartment.
Holmes (24) is accused of shooting dead 12 people and injuring 58 in the rampage during a premiere of Batman film 'The Dark Knight Rises' in Aurora, Colorado. Police said the death toll could have been even higher because a semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle jammed during the attack, forcing the gunman to use a less powerful weapon.
After the massacre Holmes calmly told detectives he had taken prescription painkiller Vicodin, and identified himself as 'The Joker'. The same drug was found in the system of actor Heath Ledger when he died of an accidental overdose of prescription drugs in 2008. Ledger played The Joker in the previous Batman film 'The Dark Knight'. Vicodin side-effects can include euphoria, paranoia and, in rare cases, hallucinations.
The video footage of Holmes was taken at Miramar College in San Diego and showed him explaining that "temporal illusions" are "an illusion that allows you to change the past". Holmes said he had been working on "what takes place inside the mind as opposed to the external world".
A woman who introduced the talk said Holmes's goals were to make scientific discoveries.
Brad Garrett, a former FBI profiler, said: "I see someone who appears to be very high functioning. He has some significant mental health issue, I believe."
Six years after the video, Holmes was almost unrecognisable after dyeing his hair orange. His profile posted on the dating website Match.com was headlined "Will you visit me in prison?"
"The first thing people usually notice about me is my soul-penetrating eyes," he wrote. "Learning is really great, knowledge is power as the famous Sir Bacon (sic) said." Holmes also said he liked techno music, had "middle-of-the-road" political views, was agnostic, and "definitely" wanted children.
Holmes secured his bachelor degree in neuroscience from UC Riverside in San Diego in 2010 and fellow students described him as "weird".
Holmes received a grant from the National Institute of Health for his PhD. He had recently undergone an intense three-part oral exam, before withdrawing from the course.
On June 25 he applied to join a private gun range in Byers, Colorado. (© Daily Telegraph, London)