Fox News is getting some attention for a bombshell report about a notebook supposedly sent to a University of Colorado psychiatrist that may outline Aurora shooting suspect James Holmes' plans for a massacre at a movie theater, but at least one local news organization, Denver's alt-weekly Westword, has doubts. The Fox News story, written by Jana Winter, cites two unnamed law enforcement officials who said they had found a package languishing in a university mailroom addressed to a psychiatrist who teaches at the school. The package, which one source said arrived on July 12 (another cited by Winter "could not say if the package arrived prior to Friday's massacre"), contained "a notebook full of details about how he was going to kill people," one source said, per Winter. "There were drawings of what he was going to do in it -- drawings and illustrations of the massacre." Winter describes the images as including "gun-wielding stick figures blowing away other stick figures."
If true, that's incredibly disturbing, but Westword's Michael Roberts followed up on the report and had this splash of cold water for the story:
Neither the FBI nor other law-enforcement agencies (or the University of Colorado) would confirm that the notebook had been found, or that it had been definitively determined to have been sent by Holmes -- meaning questions of a timeline are unresolved as well. Moreover, as we pointed out in an earlier post, the case against Holmes has been sealed by 18th Judicial District Judge William Sylvester.
It's worth remembering that there have been other reports about Holmes that have been contradicted and reframed like ABC News' story about Holmes' mother seeming to confirm that Holmes "was the right person." (She claims she actually meant she was the right person the reporter was seeking.) As Reuters wrote about the notebooks, it "could not immediately verify the report but was seeking to do so," and the headline on its story puts a lot of distance between it and the news: "Report of suspected Colorado shooter's notebook surfaces." If the Fox News report turns out to be true, it will be a key development since it suggests someone could have known about Holmes' plans before his alleged shooting spree.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.