The first images of James Holmes, the 24-year-old who allegedly opened fire on a theater full of people in Aurora, Colorado, are making their way to the public, as a biography begins to emerge of the man accused in one of the nation's deadliest recent massacres. We're still learning about Holmes' background, his life in Colorado, and his possible motives. Here's what we know so far:
Where he's from: Holmes grew up in San Diego, where he graduated from Westview High School in Rancho Penasquitos in 2006, according to San Diego 6 news, the local CW affiliate. That's his yearbook photo above, via Colorado's KKTV; the inset is a photo from a University of Colorado handout. Police and reporters made their way to his mother Arlene Holmes's house in the suburb of Torrey Highlands, California, where she confirmed her son had been involved. Update: Reuters' Stephanie Simon and Marty Graham reported that he "couldn't find a job after returning to San Diego several years ago. For a year or so, he worked part-time at a McDonald's, according to Tom Mai, who lives near the Holmes family in San Diego."
His situation recently: Holmes was a PhD candidate at the University of Colorado, Denver, studying neuroscience. The Wall Street Journal confirmed with a university spokeswoman: "Holmes had begun attending the neuroscience program in June 2011, but had decided to leave in June of this year, said the spokeswoman, Jacque Montgomery. 'He was in the process of withdrawing from the university,' Ms. Montgomery said, declining to elaborate." Holmes moved into his Aurora apartment in May 2011, the Denver Post reported. The University of California, Riverside, confirms that a student named James Holmes, middle name Eagen, graduated there with a bachelors degree in neuroscience in 2010. Update: Holmes had one other brush with the law in Aurora: A speeding ticket in October 2011, Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said in a press conference Friday. Update: Reuters reported that his apartment was "littered with soda bottles," but, "the living room of the suspect's apartment was crisscrossed with trip wires connected to what appeared to be plastic bottles containing an unknown liquid, said Chris Henderson, Aurora's deputy fire chief."
What his friends say: NBC Bay Area tracked down some of Holmes' friends from high school, who said he went by "Jimmy." One named Sumit Shah, who said she was close with him, said, "he was pretty shy, but once he got comfortable with you, he was the funniest, smartest guy… He always had something witty to say." One San Diego neighbor called him "happy and smiling" and another said he was a "nice kid."
What his neighbors say: Neighbors told the paper that his curtains never moved and they never saw lights, even late at night. "Using a camera with a zoom lens, [the neighbor] said he could see into the suspect's kitchen, where a poster of Will Farrell in the movie Anchorman was hanging on the kitchen wall." Another neighbor who also worked at a bar Holmes patronized spoke with the paper in a video interview: "He was laid back, kept to himself, never really talked to anybody. The conversations we did have were short. He was somebody you wouldn't even look twice at walking down the street." Update: One neighbor, Jackie Mitchell, told Reuters he had a beer with Holmes at a nearby bar last Tuesday, where they talked about the Denver Broncos: "Holmes wore jeans, sunglasses were propped backwards on his head and he brought along a backpack. The young man came off as smart, Mitchell said, and carried himself with a swagger."
What his family says: Police and reporters made their way to his mother Arlene Holmes's house in the suburb of Torrey Highlands, where she confirmed her son had been involved. Holmes's father has left for Denver, NBC San Diego reports, and the family issued a statement, of which NBC San Diego has the lengthiest passage:
Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time. Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy.
What happens next: Holmes is expected in court on Monday morning, and the documents in the case are sealed so far, the Aurora Sentinel reports via Twitter. Police arrested him with no struggle in a parking lot behind the theater, CNN reports.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.