© 2023 Kansas City Public Radio
NPR in Kansas City
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Aurora Suspect: A 'Smart And Quiet Man' Who Allegedly Hid A 'Deadly Plan'

The Denver Post continues to dig into the life of James Eagan Holmes, the 24-year-old suspect in the shooting rampage Friday in Aurora, Colo., that left at least 12 people dead and about 58 wounded.

Friday, as Eyder wrote, an image emerged of Holmes as something of a recluse.

Today's Post story is here. It adds some details to the life of a man who went from being "Jimmy" Holmes — soccer player and top student in high school — to being the man authorities blame for one of the worst acts of violence in the nation's history. Here are a few key points:

-- "From what little is known about the suspect, it appears that he was a study in contrast — a smart and quiet man who authorities say harbored a deadly plan."

-- "In May, he began buying guns and apparently stocking up on the body armor that police said he wore during the shooting."

-- In San Diego, "the Mai family has lived next door to the Holmes family for abut 15 years on a middle-class street in suburban San Diego. Christine Mai, 17, said she never saw Jimmy Holmes act out violently or with a weapon, nor did she see him socializing with friends or bringing girlfriends home."

On Weekend Edition Saturday, NPR's Carrie Kahn added that:

"Before coming to Denver, Holmes lived in San Diego, where he went to high school. He attended college at the University of California, Riverside, graduating two years ago. U.C. Riverside Chancellor Timothy White says he was a top-rated student.

" 'He was an honor student, so academically he was at the top of the top. He really distinguished himself from an academic point of view during his four years with us,' White says."

Update at 1:30 p.m. ET. He Was An Average Kid, High School Classmates Say:

Los Angeles' NBC4 also has a video report on what some of Holmes' friends from high school say. Basically, they remember him as being an average kid and they're shocked to hear he's accused of this mass murder.

Update at 1:20 p.m. ET. Holmes Was A Summer Camp Counselor In 2008:

"The Colorado shooting suspect worked as a camp counselor in Los Angeles County in 2008 [at a camp] run by Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters, the group's CEO confirmed to NBC4 on Saturday," NBC Los Angeles reports.The station adds that "as cabin counselor, Holmes was responsible for the care and guidance of a group of about 10 children. His role was to ensure that the children had a "wonderful camp experience."

Update at 12:05 p.m. ET. Holmes Left No Online Trail:

According to theLos Angeles Times, Holmes "left little record of his thoughts or activities online, with no Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn or Myspace accounts under his name."

Update at 11:35 a.m. ET. "Quiet And Unassuming."

The San Diego Union-Tribune writes that Holmes was:

"As quiet and unassuming as the middle-class North County neighborhood where he grew up. Before he was arrested after a deadly shooting spree in a Colorado movie theater, James Eagan Holmes was known as a loner — shy, smart, a bit odd. But not, people thought, dangerous."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
KCUR serves the Kansas City region with breaking news and powerful storytelling.
Your donation helps make nonprofit journalism available for everyone.