After killing 12 people at a screening of the film “Batman: The Dark Knight Rises”, alleged murderer and graduate student James Holmes reportedly told police officers he was “channeling” the energy of “the Joker”, the mentally unstable psychopath who is Batman’s arch nemesis, according to press reports citing police in Aurora, Colorado.
A PhD student in neuroscience at the University of Colorado-Denver, Holmes, 24, was described as an exceptional student during his undergraduate days. It is unclear why exactly he went on a shooting rampage or what he was trying to achieve. It remains unclear how he amassed automatic weapons, bullets and body armour.
Despite winning a prestigious Neuroscience Training Grant from the National Institutes of Health, Holmes apparently had struggled during the first year of his PhD and had dropped out. Neighbours described him as a loner and former classmates in California, where he grew up, said he was a shy boy who did not leave many lasting impressions.
In Colorado, he lived in a tough mostly Hispanic neighbourhood where he was one of the few Caucasians, the New York Times reported.
When police attempted to enter his apartment, they were met by an intricate web of booby traps and explosives designed to “kill whoever entered”, Aurora police Chief Daniel Oats said.
Cruising for online hook-ups
The New York Daily News, a tabloid, published photos apparently of Holmes online with his hair dyed red to resemble “the Joker”, a villain without a specific ideology except for causing chaos in order to watch the world burn.
Holmes had allegedly been using the profile and new hair doo in order to meet women or couples for sexual encounters via the website, Adult Friend Finder.
A man thought to be Homes created the adult profile on July 5, calling himself “classic Jimbo” on the hook-up site. TMZ, a celebrity website, reported that investigators are now looking into the Adult Friend Finder profile to try and determine its authenticity.
Police in Aurora have said the graduate student did not have accounts on standard social networking sites, including Twitter or Facebook. He was known as a loner in Aurora and neighbours told the New York Times he often blasted loud music in his third floor apartment and sometimes a bizarre purple light could be seen emanating from his windows.
After the shooting “He did not resist. He did not put up a fight,” Aurora police spokesman Frank Fania said, after his force grabbed Holmes at the rear of the theater complex.
The Adult dating profile, TMZ reported, included a cryptic message: "Will you visit me in prison?"