James Holmes Psychiatrist Warned He Was A Threat 6 Weeks Before Shooting

  on August 02 2012 4:26 PM
Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes sits with public defender Tamara Brady during his first court appearance in Aurora
Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes sits with public defender Tamara Brady during his first court appearance in Aurora Reuters

The psychiatrist who was treating James Holmes at the University of Colorado had notified members of the school's threat assessment team that the eventual alleged Aurora shooter was a potentially dangerous individual.

The school's threat assessment team is comprised of a group of psychological experts who are responsible for keeping the campus safe from any student whom they feel might be a threat. Dr. Lynne Fenton, Holmes' psychiatrist, and the rest of her  team didn't follow up on their concerns because Holmes dropped out of the neuroscience program before they could look further into the matter, according to ABC News.

The concerns came up approximately six weeks before the "The Dark Knight Rises" shooting took place. Fenton is one of the primary contacts on the University of Colorado's campus for anyone who wants to report a potential threat.

Denver news outlet KMGH-TV is reporting that made a call to express concern about Holmes within the first ten days of June. It's unclear whether the threat team discussed Holmes at all, although a source told KMGH-TV that when he left the school, they would have "had no control over him."

The threat team is made up of staff members from various departments at the school, and it has been specifically trained to pay attention to students like Holmes, who is currently charged with murdering 12 people and injuring 58 more in an elaborately planned shooting. One psychologist said that the group should have been even more concerned after Holmes dropped out  instead of washing their hands of the situation. KMGH-TV had previously reported that Holmes purchased an assault weapon just hours after he failed an important exam.

After he was arrested, Holmes told the police that he had previously mailed a package to a psychiatrist at the university that contained a notebook with graphic drawings of a stick figure shooting other stick figures. The package in question, which was addressed to his psychiatrist, had been sitting in the school's mail room for over a week prior to the shooting.

It's still unclear what exactly triggered Fenton's concern, although one source said it generally takes "specific statements" and that "He would have[had] to [to have told] her that he had taken steps to make it happen."

Although he's been described as someone who had been a good student, Holmes' grades started to slip in the weeks leading up to him dropping out of the university, where he had been studying neuroscience. It's been speculated that the poor grade on an oral exam was his breaking point, although this new report suggests his mental state was already at a concerning level. Legal experts expect Holmes' defense team to plead not guilty by reason of insanity, saying it's his "only possible defense."

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