Batman Shooter James Holmes: A Profile on the Man Behind the Gun


Wearing a bulletproof vest and a gas mask, he threw canisters of tear gas before killing 12 people and wounding dozens of others when he shot up a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. He warned the police that his apartment was full of explosives, and they found it extensively booby-trapped with a network of explosives that the FBI said they are still trying to disarm. Holmes sounds like a criminal mastermind, but he had no former criminal record. The question on everyone’s mind is: who is James Holmes?

The 24-year-old who is currently in custody for the Aurora, CO shootings grew up in San Diego, California, in the Torrey Heights neighborhood. He graduated from Westview High School in 2006, where he played soccer and ran cross-country, and in 2010 he graduated from the University of California, Riverside with a bachelor’s degree in neuroscience. It was neuroscience that led him to Denver, where he moved in May 2011 to enroll in the neuroscience program in the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Ironically, the Guardian reported, Holmes was most recently enrolled in a course called “Biological Basis of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders.” Holmes had begun the process of withdrawing from the school, for unknown reasons (due to the school’s privacy policy, they have not commented on his withdrawal from the university). On May 8, Holmes presented in class on the topic of “MicroRNA biomarkers.”

Those who know Holmes call him quiet, shy, even antisocial. Tom Mai, 61, who lives next door to the house in which Holmes grew up, called him a “loner” to the Associated Press, but said that he was a “typical American kid” who “kept to himself” and “didn’t seem to have many friends.” The other residents of Holmes’s building, fellow medical students and university faculty, called him a “recluse.” One resident, who identified himself as Ben, said that “No one knew him. No one.” Mai’s 16-year-old son Anthony said, “I don’t feel like he did it. Everyone is assuming. I want actual facts.”