Posted: Jul 20, 2012 12:56 PM by NBC
Updated: Jul 20, 2012 12:56 PM
The man suspected of carrying out the Colorado movie theater shooting, 24-year-old James Holmes from San Diego, was a graduate student in the neuroscience program at the University of Colorado Medical School, a university spokesman told NBC News. He was in the process of withdrawing from school, the university confirmed.
"The University of Colorado Denver Anschutz Medical Campus can confirm that Mr. James Holmes was in the process of withdrawing from the University of Colorado Denver's graduate program in neurosciences," the univesity statement said. "Mr. Holmes enrolled at the university in June 2011."
The university website listed one of his courses as the Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders. He was listed on the class website as making a presentation in the spring on MicroRNA biomarkers.
Officials said they believe Holmes, born Dec. 13, 1987, is the man who killed at least 12 people at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie in Aurora, a suburb of Denver.
Holmes' family, who live in Rancho Penasquitos, a community in the northeastern part of San Diego, issued a statement through the San Diego Police Department. They said "our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and the family and friends of those involved." They also asked for privacy, saying they were "still trying to process this information." A man believed to be Holmes' father was seen leaving with luggage, escorted by police.
Police said he had attended a San Diego High School, but did not say which one.
Public records give a previous address in Riverside, Calif., including a dormitory at University of California Riverside. There is no mention of Holmes on the university website.
Public records indicate that Holmes lived with two roommates, also from California, in the Aurora building where police have found explosives, at 1690 Paris St., Apt. 10. The building is reserved for students, faculty and staff from the medical campus.
The Denver Post newspaper reported that Holmes, in an apartment rental application he last year, described himself as "quiet and easy-going." A pharmacy student who lives in the building told The Post he called 911 around 12:30 a.m. because there was a song blaring from the stereo inside apartment 10, where Holmes lived. The student, who wanted to be identified only as Ben, said he couldn't make out the song but that it seemed to be the same one playing on repeat. He also said Holmes kept to himself and wouldn't acknowledge people when they passed in the hall and said hello. "No one knew him. No one," he told The Post.
Holmes was not on any watch list that would have alerted authorities that he was dangerous, officials said. The incident was not believed to have any connection to international terrorism, they added.
An earlier report that the car Holmes was driving had Tennessee plates turned out to be incorrect, officials said.
Police said the gunman entered through an exit door and appeared at the front of the theater in Aurora, Colo., and released a canister, thought to be tear gas, that let out a hissing sound.
He then started shooting into the crowd, sparking pandemonium. Police told NBC News that Holmes carried two pistols, a rifle and a shotgun.
Witnesses said he was wearing a bullet-proof vest and dressed entirely in black. Some also said he was wearing a gas mask or goggles. A police officer told "Today" that the shooter might have been wearing "some sort of Batman costume."