Arlene Holmes said her statement, "You have the right person," has been misconstrued, but ABC News stands by its reporting
The mother of suspected Colorado shooter James Holmes clarified on Monday a statement she made hours after the massacre that she said was misconstrued by an ABC News reporter.
San Diego attorney Lisa J. Damiani read a statement from Holmes' mother Arlene saying that, when she received a call from an ABC News reporter early Friday morning, she said "Yes, you have the right person" in reference to herself, not her son.
"The reason we are here is that the media has been attributing certain statements to Arlene Holmes and taking her comments out of context," Damiani said at a press conference in San Diego Monday afternoon.
ABC News is standing by its reporting, citing notes and emails from producer Matthew Mosk.
Arlene Holmes said she was awoken by the reporter at 5 a.m. and asked if she knew anything about the shooting in Aurora, Colorado. When Holmes said she did not, the reporter asked if she was Arlene Holmes, the mother of James Holmes. To that, she responded: "You have the right person," referring to herself, according to her statement.
But ABC's Russell Goldman reported Monday that there is no audio of the first conversation and that Damiani had contacted ABC News one hour before holding a press conference to see if there was.
Notes and emails Mosk wrote show he called at 5 a.m. PST, waking Holmes, and "informed her that a man he believed was her son had been arrested in Aurora and asked to confirm the relationship," Goldman's report said.
"You have to tell me what happened … You have to tell me what happened," Holmes said, according to Mosk.
After Mosk told her that police had identified her 24-year-old son as the sole suspect in the massacre, she responded "You have the right person. I need to call the police. I need to fly to Colorado."
The comment has been widely interpreted as an indication that the mother of the alleged gunman was unsurprised by the killing spree and believed her son to be guilty.
The Holmes family has expressed sympathy for the victims but also said it is standing behind James Holmes, who appeared dazed in a Colorado court Monday (pictured).
"They want to reiterate that their hearts go out to the victims and their families," Damiani said.
If convicted, James Holmes could face the death penalty.