Psychiatrist warned police Colo. shooting suspect had 'homicidal thoughts' before attack
41 Action News Staff
9:04 PM, Apr 4, 2013
10:24 PM, Apr 4, 2013
DENVER (AP) - A psychiatrist who treated the suspect in last year's Colorado theater shooting told police a month before the attack that James Holmes had homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, newly released documents show. The attack killed 12 and injured 70 and was one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
The documents released Thursday show Dr. Lynne Fenton told police at the University of Colorado, Denver, that Holmes also threatened and intimidated her.
Holmes last week offered to plead guilty in the shooting, which occurred during a midnight premiere of the latest "Batman" movie. Prosecutors rejected that offer and said Monday they would seek the death penalty.
The documents had been sealed, but a new judge overseeing the case ordered them released after requests from media organizations including The Associated Press.
In the days after the shooting, campus police said they had never had contact with Holmes, a graduate student at the university. But campus police told investigators that Fenton had contacted them, following her legal requirement to report specific threats to authorities, according to a search warrant affidavit.
"Dr. Fenton advised that through her contact with James Holmes she was reporting, per her requirement, his danger to the public due to homicidal statements he had made," the affidavit said.
University police referred calls for comment Thursday to a campus spokeswoman who did not immediately return a message.
Holmes also sent Fenton a package in the days before the shooting, including a notebook that the documents describe as a "journal." The package wasn't discovered until four days after the attack.
Prosecutors have suggested Holmes was angry at the failure of a once-promising academic career and stockpiled weapons, ammunition, tear gas grenades and body armor as his research deteriorated and professors urged him to get into another profession. Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson said Holmes failed a key oral exam in June, was banned from campus and began to voluntarily withdraw from the school.
Both prosecutors and defense attorneys had raised concerns about releasing the documents. Prosecutors said they were worried about the privacy of victims and witnesses. Attorneys for Holmes said they didn't want to hurt his chances for a fair trial.
Media organizations said there has been a "wealth of information already made public in the proceedings thus far." They argued there was no basis for the documents to remain sealed.
Witnesses have testified that Holmes spent weeks amassing an arsenal and planning the attack. They said he set up an elaborate booby trap in his apartment designed to explode at the same time the theater attack occurred.
Associated Press writers Dan Elliott and Catherine Tsai contributed to this report.