Thursday, January 18, 2018
News Roundup

Colorado gun club says it rejected James Holmes' application

More glimpses are beginning to illuminate the life of James Holmes, the suspect in the theater rampage.

In one, he is a thin, bright 18-year-old in a video, speaking at a science camp at Miramar College in San Diego and wearing an oversize shirt and a shy smile.

His presentation was on "temporal illusion," which he defines as "an illusion that allows you to change the past." He also gets a laugh by proclaiming he dreams of owning a Slurpee machine.

And he is the unsettling voice on a recording in late June that a gun range owner considered "bizarre" enough to flag him as likely unfit to take weapons training at the range.

Glenn Rotkovich, owner of the Lead Valley Range in Byers, Colo., told the Associated Press that Holmes applied to join the club last month but never became a member because of his behavior and a "bizarre" message on his voice mail.

He emailed an application to join the club in which he said he was not a user of illegal drugs or a convicted felon, Rotkovich said. But when Rotkovich called to invite him to a mandatory orientation the following week, he said he heard a message on Holmes' voice mail that was "bizarre — guttural, freakish at best."

Holmes, who grew up in the suburbs of San Diego, is recalled by his high school classmates as somewhat friendly. "My good grades are partially thanks to him," said Brian Martinez, 24, who was Holmes's lab partner in chemistry. They collaborated in class but didn't see each other much afterward: Holmes was not at parties, and he didn't seem to have a large circle of friends, Martinez said.

After graduating from the University of California at Riverside, Holmes went to Aurora last fall to study neuroscience at the University of Colorado. One fellow student told the Washington Post how Holmes was often the first to arrive at class, riding from his nearby apartment on a BMX bike.

Holmes volunteered little information about his own life outside of the classroom. His fellow students could remember just one personal detail that Holmes revealed without prompting: He said he was a San Diego Chargers fan. After classes, Holmes was always the first to leave.

Four months ago, when Holmes allegedly began stockpiling ammunition and explosives, his behavior in class didn't seem to change. Then came early June, when all first-year students faced a demanding oral exam. The exam came and went, and other students didn't hear how Holmes did. Then they got word: He had sent an email to administrators, saying he would leave school. He didn't give a reason, the school said.

Recently, Holmes appears to have sent odd signals. On a website called Adult Friend Finder, someone who looks like Holmes posted a profile that said "Will you visit me in prison?"

Late Sunday the Associated Press, quoting unnamed law enforcement officials, reported that investigators found Batman-themed items, including a mask, inside Holmes' previously booby-trapped apartment.

Information from the Associated Press, Washington Post and Los Angeles Times was used in this report.

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Published: 01/18/18