|James Holmes as he appeared at his initial court appearance|
University of Colorado officials disclosed Monday that massshooting suspect James Holmes was being paid $26,000 a year for his studies — money that could have financed the cache of firearms, ammunition and explosive devices found in his apartment.
Holmes, 24, unexpectedly dropped out of an elite neuroscience graduate program June 10 after failing part of his first-year final exam. School officials say they were stunned to learn of his arrest Friday after a shooting rampage at a packed movie house a few miles from campus that left 12 dead and 58 injured. Police found Holmes' apartment near campus filled with booby-trapped explosive devices . . .
"Everybody is in a state of shock," graduate school Dean Barry Shur said. "Everybody is upset. Who wouldn't be?"
The program to which Holmes was accepted last fall admits just six students a year. Candidates have top grades and "near perfect" test scores, Shur said. They undergo a background check but no mental examination. "No program requires psychiatric evaluation, to the best of my knowledge,"
Holmes came with "excellent academic credentials," Shur said at a press briefing Monday flanked by school Chancellor Don Elliman and Executive Vice Chancellor Lilly Marks.
Shure and other administrators were at a loss to explain Holmes' motive, especially given Shur's comments that the faculty "tightly monitors" its neuroscience students.
Doctoral students receive free tuition, and most get federally sponsored 12-month grants of $26,000, about $500 a week. Holmes, who was not employed, bought an assault rifle, shotgun, two semi-automatic handguns and 6,000 rounds of ammunition in the months leading up to what police called a methodically planned shooting spree.
Over the weeks before Holmes left, 90 packages containing ammunition and other items were shipped to the campus. Elliman said there was no way of knowing the volume or content of the shipments, which went directly to Holmes or to a campus mailroom. "We have thousands of packages that come here every day," he said.In another development, ABC News is once again under fire for its coverage of the Aurora shooting. In the morning hours following the shooting, ABC News' Brian Ross during a live broadcast exchange with "Good Morning America's George Stephanopolous attempted to link Holmes to a Colorado Tea Party. It later turned out that the Jim Holmes who belonged to the organization was a different man. Red-faced officials at ABC News were forced to issue a public apology. Now the mother of James Holmes is claiming that during that same broadcast, officials of the network intentionally misrepresentated an early morning phone interview they had with her in the hours following the shooting about her son.
Arlene Holmes, the mother of Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes, says that ABC News mischaracterized her when it reported that her initial statement to the reporter, “you have the right person,” was a reference to her son.
“This statement is to clarify a statement made by ABC media. I was awakened by a call from a reporter by ABC on July 20 about 5:45 in the morning. I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time,” Holmes said in a statement this afternoon, read to the national press by attorney Lisa Damiani. “He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered yes, you have the right person. I was referring to myself.”
“I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora,” she continues. “He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son, and I would need to find out.”
In the first paragraph of its initial report on Friday, ABC News reported that it had identified the correct James Holmes because his mother “told ABC News her son was likely the alleged culprit, saying, ‘You have the right person.’”As it turns out, Holmes' parents had not even been contacted by police and informed that their son had been apprehended in the mass shooting before the ABC News reporter contacted her and told her about it. One has to question how ABC News was so quickly able to learn who Holmes' parents were and to track their whereabout down when the public was still in the dark about the identity of the person taken into custody as a suspect in the shooting. ABC News reporter Matthew Mosk acknowledges that he awakened Arlene Holmes with his telephone call at 5:45 a.m., but he insists he did not take her comments out of context when he quoted her as saying "You have the right person. I need to call the police." Holmes' attorney contacted ABC News and asked if an audio recording of the conversation existed and was told by ABC News that the conversation had not been recorded by Mosk.