Shock, disgust and fear spread across the campus of the Colorado university – the man who shot up a midnight movie was identified as James Holmes, and faculty members suspected they knew him. As professors and others questioned what to do and feared for their safety, some shared the tidbits they knew about Holmes via email.
He briefly had a girlfriend, who was in India at the time of the attack. He had a few friends, though none in the neuroscience program he’d just left. The new details are in thousands emails the 9Wants to Know investigators recieved Wednesday from the University of Colorado
More than 1,500 emails from Holmes’ email accounts were released. About 2,700 emails were identified, but the additional emails were not subject to disclosure because the university deemed them private and says they are student records as defined in the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.
An additional 100 records from Holmes’ email accounts were not produced because the Colorado Public Defender, which is representing Holmes, says they are personal and private and thus not subject to the Colorado Open Records Act. More than 3,000 emails were discovered on university email services referencing James Holmes as well.
Nearly 2,300 were produced via CD, Steve Zweck-Bronner, Managing Senior Associate University Council wrote in an email to 9NEWS. The emails do shed some light on how the university responded to news that one of its students was allegedly responsible for the attack that killed 12 people and wounded 58 on July 22.
Holmes’ name began to circulate in news reports a few hours after the early-morning shooting. At 6:47 a.m., Angie Ribera, director of the neuroscience program, noted that the shooter could be the 24-year-old of the same name who had just withdrawn from her department.
“Do you think we should meet with students in his class?” she asked colleagues. “If they had been close to him, this would definitely be something that I think we should do. But as they were not, I do not know.”
An hour later, officials confirmed James Holmes was the former graduate student, and Ribera grew more alarmed. At the time, police were trying to remove booby-traps he allegedly left at his nearby apartment before leaving for the midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises.”
Ribera sent an email to another senior faculty member noting that Holmes was in custody. “However, he was friendly with 1-2 students in another program and I am worried about the safety of all (neuroscience) students and Faculty as well as the safety of all (medical) students.”