Friday 20 April 2018

Massacre suspect had ledger 'full of his plans to kill people'

JAMES Holmes. Photo: Reuters
JAMES Holmes. Photo: Reuters
Batman actor Christian Bale and his wife Sibi Blazic visit a memorial to the victims of Friday's mass shooting

Nick Allen in Aurora, Colorado

JAMES Holmes, the Colorado cinema shooting suspect, sent a notebook detailing his chilling plans for the massacre to a psychiatrist at his university up to a week before the massacre.

The package containing the book never reached the psychiatrist, however, and sat unopened in a post room.

It was discovered only by chance in the aftermath the attack, in which 12 people died and 58 were injured during a screening of Batman film 'The Dark Knight Rises'.

When FBI agents opened the book they found drawings Mr Holmes had made of gun-toting stick-figures shooting each other. According to one official, it was "full of details about how he was going to kill people".

The book was sent to a professor who treats patients in a psychiatry outpatient facility at the University of Colorado.

It was not clear if Mr Holmes, who was studying for a PhD in neuroscience, had previous contact with the professor. The package may have arrived as long ago as July 12.

While detectives are yet to establish a motive for the crime it also emerged that Mr Holmes bought an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle just hours after failing an oral exam, which was a key part of his PhD, on June 7.

He had previously been a high-performing student, but three days later, he dropped out of the university entirely.

Some experts said academic failure could have affected his state of mind.

'Schizophrenia'

Marisa Randazzo, a psychologist, said: "All of those things could actually make dormant schizophrenia come out, and come out relatively quickly."

New details also emerged of the gunman's behaviour during the shooting, with witnesses describing how he ordered some victims to "stand up" before shooting them at close range.

Stephanie Davies (21), who was in the cinema in Aurora, Colorado, during the rampage, said: "He would shout 'What are you doing? I said stand up!' And he would pick people up. I saw him stand over someone. I just see hair and him holding the shirt and -- boom."

In the months before the attack Mr Holmes was believed to have met several prostitutes. He wrote accounts of some of the encounters on an adult website.

Meanwhile, victims of the shooting were visited in hospital by the film's star, Christian Bale, on Tuesday. Bale, who plays Batman, also turned up unannounced at a makeshift memorial to the 12 who died.

Since last Friday's attack firearms sales have surged across America with buyers saying they wanted protection.

According to the 'National Enquirer' mr Holmes had originally planned to shoot the stars of the film, including Bale and Morgan Freeman, at its premiere in New York on July 16 but changed his mind because he thought police were suspicious.

Meanwhile, A Vue cinema in Worcestershire has been criticised after a member of staff dressed as the Batman villain Bane for a screening of the film just 13 hours after the Aurora massacre. A spokesman for the cinema apologised and said that the staff member had not meant to cause offence. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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