A 24-year-old college student accused of killing at least a dozen people and injuring 38 others in a massacre in a Colorado movie theater early Friday graduated from a high school in Rancho Penasquitos, where his parents still live.
Around daybreak, San Diego police officers went to a two-story home on Sparren Avenue to provide security for the family of James Holmes as media crews began to assemble outside. Family friends identified Holmes as a 2006 graduate of Westview High School at 13500 Camino Del Sur, according to broadcast reports.
Holmes is in custody in Colorado, accused of going into a midnight showing of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” and opening fire on movie- goers around 12:40 a.m. The motive is unclear.
Media began to gather outside the Rancho Penasquitos home after ABC News phoned his mother early Friday and quoted her as confirming her relationship to the alleged shooter.
“The police will be here as long as we’re needed to preserve the peace of the neighborhood,” Lt. Andra Brown, a San Diego police spokeswoman, told reporters.
In a statement, the Holmes family said their hearts go out to the victims of the shooting and their loved ones. They also asked the media to respect the family’s privacy and their neighbors.
“As you can understand, the Holmes family is very upset by this -- it’s a tragic event,” Brown said, adding that family members are fully cooperating with authorities both in San Diego and Colorado.
Friday morning’s massacre took place in Aurora, nine miles outside Denver.
Holmes was taken into police custody in the theater’s parking lot shortly after the gunfire broke out, authorities said.
San Diego Police Chief William Lansdowne said officers went to the Sparren Avenue home to provide security to the Holmes family and assist Aurora police by gathering information for that agency’s investigation.
Shortly before 7:30 a.m., police were spotted escorting a man out of the Sparren Avenue home and whisking him away in an unmarked police sedan. There was no immediate word on where the man was headed or his possible relation to the alleged shooter, but he was carrying what appeared to be luggage. Brown later said the man was the suspect’s father, but she declined to say where he was going.
Holmes allegedly wore what appeared to be a bullet-proof vest and riot- type mask as he opened fire in the Century Aurora 16 movie theater with three weapons. Authorities said at least 12 people died and 38 were wounded.
The theater is about five miles from Holmes’ Aurora third-story apartment, which was being searched by police for explosives and more weapons.
Holmes apparently acted alone, authorities said.
—City News Service