James Holmes (24), the gunman charged in the killing of 12 people at the Batman movie premier in Aurora, Colorado, on July 20, was seeking psychiatric help at the university where he studied, court documents in the case have revealed.
Earlier this week news emerged that Holmes had mailed a notebook outlining his plans to unleash violence to a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado days ahead of the attack. However the package containing Holmes’ detailed notes was lying in the mailroom of the university for up to a week, law enforcement officials said.
On Friday, defence attorneys who sought to discover the source of leaks to media on Holmes sending the package to university psychiatrist Lynne Fenton disclosed that Holmes “was being treated by a psychiatrist at the university.”
The Associated Press quoted Holmes’ attorneys as saying “The government's disclosure of this confidential and privileged information has placed Mr. Holmes' constitutional rights to due process and a fair trial by an impartial jury in serious jeopardy.”
The motion was also said to have noted that the package sent by Holmes contained communications with his psychiatrist “that should be shielded from public view,” and it described Holmes as a “psychiatric patient” of Dr. Fenton.
The revelations in the Aurora shootings case came even as a second instance of a planned attack on the public appeared to be narrowly averted.
According to police in Maryland “a violent episode” and “another Aurora” had been averted after officers raided the home of a man in the town of Crofton and seized 25 guns and thousands of rounds of ammunition.
The man, who authorities are yet to name publicly, allegedly described himself as “a joker” – a potential reference to the arch-villain in the Batman movies – and threatened to shoot his colleagues at a firm from which he was about to be laid off.
Media reports said that the man, who is undergoing “mental evaluations” at a hospital in Maryland, told an employer at packaging and shipping company Pitney Bowes in Prince George's County that he was “going to load my guns and blow everyone up.”