James Holmes, Suspect in ‘Dark Knight’ Shooting, a Shy ‘Loner’

Aurora police chief Dan Oates said Holmes has no criminal history in their records

James Holmes, the man suspected of killing a dozen people and wounding 59 more at a Colorado movie theater Thursday night, was a loner with no apparent criminal history, according to several reports.


Details are beginning to trickle out about the 24-year-old graduate student, who used an assault rifle, shotgun, handguns and an irritant gas to carry out the massacre at the Century 16 in Aurora, a suburb of Denver. 

Police arrested the man in the parking lot behind the theater shortly after the shooting spree took place. 

He was dressed in all black, wearing a ballistic helmet, tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, throat and groin protectors, a gas mask and black tactical gloves.

“We’re not looking for other suspects,” Aurora police chief Dan Oates said at a press conference. “We are confident he acted alone.” 

Also read: 'Dark Knight' Shooting: 12 Dead, 38 Hurt at Screening in Colorado (Updated)

Oates said that Holmes had one traffic summons for speeding on the department's records, but nothing more. 

A woman identifying herself as Holmes’ mother, when reached by phone in San Diego by ABC News, said, “You have the right person.”

“I need to call the police … I need to fly out to Colorado,” she told them.

San Diego police have now met with Holmes’ family, which has issued the following statement:

“Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy.”

As for James Holmes, details about his history, culled from neighbors in San Diego and in Colorado, remain murky.

After going to Westview High School in the Torrey Highlands neighborhood of San Diego, he earned a master’s degree in neuroscience at the University of California Riverside. He graduated in the spring of 2010.

Tom Mai, a retired electrical engineer who lives next door to Holmes’ family, described him as a “loner” to the Associated Press. Mai also relayed that the mother, a nurse, said her son could not find a job after earning his degree from Riverside. A San Diego court said that Holmes had no past or pending cases involving Holmes.

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Holmes later enrolled at the University of Colorado medical school, attending the Denver campus. He was a Ph.D candidate in neuroscience, but according to the school he was in the process of dropping out — or was in the process of doing so.

Police have been plotting how to approach Holmes’ apartment, which Oates said is booby trapped with various incendiary and chemical devices,” as well as trip wires.

“We have an active and difficult scene there,” Oates said. “It may be resolved in hours or days. I don’t know how we’re going to handle that.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper referred to the perpetrator as a “deranged individual,” but facts about Holmes’ medical history have yet to emerge.