Psychiatrist request background check on Colorado killer
A psychiatrist who was treating the suspected Colorado movie theatre gunman had asked University of Colorado police for a background check on the student six weeks before the July 20 shootings, raising questions about concerns she may have had about his behaviour, a Denver television station reports.
James Holmes is charged with killing 12 people and injuring 58 at a movie theatre in the Denver suburb of Aurora during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie. He faces 142 counts, including first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. He has not entered a plea.
KMGH-TV reported that the university psychiatrist, Dr Lynne Fenton, called the University of Colorado police department in early June to ask for a background check on Mr Holmes. The station cited unidentified sources it said were familiar with the investigation into the shootings.
Dr Fenton was told Mr Holmes, then a graduate student at the university, did not have a criminal record, the station reported.
KMGH previously reported that in early June, Dr Fenton expressed concerns about Mr Holmes to members of a university behavioural and threat assessment team, but the team did not act because Mr Holmes decided to withdraw from the university.
Mr Holmes was enrolled in a PhD neuroscience program at the university’s Anschutz Medical Campus, but told school officials he was withdrawing. He left the program June 10.
Neither Dr Fenton’s lawyers, retained by the university to represent her, nor Aurora police immediately returned telephone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment.
Doug Abraham, chief of the University of Colorado, Denver Police, and university spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said they couldn’t comment, citing a judge’s gag order prohibiting university officials from speaking publicly about the case.
University officials previously insisted campus police had no contact with Mr Holmes, who enrolled there in June 2011.
ABC News reported that Dr Fenton told a University of Colorado police officer she had concerns about Mr Holmes, and that police in Aurora had interviewed the university officer about that conversation. ABC News cited sources it did not identify as the basis for its report.
Police said Mr Holmes had been methodically stockpiling guns, ammunition and material for explosives for months and that he had received shipments at both the university and his nearby apartment.