By now, the entire world is learning the most minute details of the life of the man who allegedly killed 12 people during a shooting rampage at an Aurora, Colo. movie theatre.The media is rife with speculation that James Holmes’ family and acquaintances should have seen signs of impending violence.
“But being able to recognise concerning, troubling behaviour does not mean you can prevent a mass homicide,” FBI agent Mary Ellen O’Toole told the Associated Press. “There are many people at a university level who act quirky and strange and don’t go out and commit mass murder.”
So, the question remains, what — if anything — could have been done?
Note: We are not saying any one person was responsible for the shooting or could have stopped it. We are just presenting possible warning signs.
When Holmes tried to join the Lead Valley Range, something about his outgoing voicemail message set owner Glenn Rotkovich on edge.
Rotkovich called Holmes' message 'bizarre -- guttural, freakish at best,' and warned his staff not to accept Holmes into the gun club.
'I flagged him to people and said, if he shows up, I don't trust him,' Rotkovich told the Associated Press, adding that Holmes spoke 'in a strange, low-pitched voice with heavy breathing,' on his outgoing voicemail message.
Robert Holmes is a senior scientist in the San Diego office of FICO who boasts a 'glittering academic career,' that includes degrees from Stanford, UCLA, and Berkeley, according to U-T San Diego.
But, after a 2006 summer internship at the prestigious Salk Institute for Biological Studies, it seems Holmes wasn't destined to follow in his father's footsteps.
Salk neurobiology lab supervisor John Jacobson called Holmes 'very undistinguished,' after spending the summer working with the then-19-year-old, the Christian Science Monitor reported.
More recently, Holmes' academic reputation appeared in danger, perhaps causing his abrupt departure from a prestigious neuroscience doctoral program.
On June 7, just weeks before the shooting, Holmes, a PhD student at the University of Colorado -- Denver, reportedly failed a key oral exam.
Three days later, he made the highly unusual move of informing the university he wanted to drop out of the program.
The university has refused to release Holmes' academic records. But a person who works in the school's neuroscience lab told the Christian Science Monitor that a professor implied Holmes 'had fallen behind academically' when announcing his departure to his fellow students.
'All of those things could actually make dormant schizophrenia come out, and come out relatively quickly,' psychologist Marisa Randazzo told ABC News, indicating Holmes may have suffered some sort of mental break.
'In a world where Amazon can track your next book purchase and you must show ID to buy some allergy medicine, James Holmes spent months stockpiling thousands of bullets and head-to-toe ballistic gear without raising any red flags with authorities,' the Associated Press reported Tuesday.
Holmes was able to buy 160 pounds of ammunition from a FedEx store without actually breaking the law.
Colorado's gun laws are fairly lax, to say the least. And to compound the issue, the state does not require residents to register their guns, meaning Holmes wasn't on Colorado's radar when he began amassing his arsenal.
Of course, the most concerning sign is the just-discovered notebook Holmes sent to a university psychiatrist.
Holmes sent a notebook 'full of details about how he was going to kill people,' to a University of Colorado psychiatrist.
The package, which was only discovered Monday, likely sat in the university mail room for about a week.
The notebook, which was first reported by Fox News, was full of violent images, including a drawing of stick figures holding guns and 'blowing away other stick figures.'
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