July 25, 2012 / 12:46 AM / 7 years ago

Report of suspected Colorado shooter's notebook surfaces

AURORA, Colo. (Reuters) - The man accused of the shooting rampage in a Denver-area screening of the latest “Batman” movie mailed a notebook detailing his plans to a psychiatrist days before the attack, FoxNews.com reported on Wednesday, as the first funeral was held for one of the 12 people killed.

The package allegedly from the suspected shooter, 24-year-old James Eagan Holmes, remained unopened in a mailroom, perhaps for as long as a week before its discovery Monday, FoxNews.com reported, citing a law enforcement source.

Reuters could not immediately verify the report but was seeking to do so. Messages left with police in Aurora and other law enforcement officials involved in the case were not immediately returned.

The FoxNews.com report said Police and FBI agents were called to the University of Colorado Anschutz medical campus in Aurora on Monday morning after a psychiatrist, who is also a professor at the school, reported receiving a package believed to be from the suspect.

Although that package turned out to be from someone else and harmless, a search of the Campus Services’ mailroom turned up another package sent to the psychiatrist with Holmes’ name in the return address, the source told FoxNews.com.

After obtaining a search warrant, police took the package away and discovered its contents.

FoxNews.com quoted its source saying: “Inside the package was a notebook full of details about how he was going to kill people. There were drawings of what he was going to do in it - drawings and illustrations of the massacre.”

Images in the notebook included drawings of stick-figures shooting at other stick figures, the FoxNews.com report said.

Police say Holmes, wearing body armor, a gas mask and toting three firearms, opened fire on a crowded midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” in the Denver suburb of Aurora, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.

Holmes, who was arrested immediately after the attack outside the theater, made his first appearance in court on Monday. Authorities plan to formally charge him on July 30.


Also on Wednesday, the first of the funerals was underway for a victim of the July 20 massacre.

Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes makes his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, July 23, 2012. REUTERS/RJ Sangosti/Pool

Gordon Cowden, who at 51 was the oldest person killed, was a self-employed real estate appraiser who had taken his teenage daughters to the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” when he was killed along with 11 others. His daughters escaped unharmed.

An excerpt from the funeral program attributed to his daughter Brooke read: “I will never forget that in such disorientation and confusion of that night what was certain were your yells, declarations of ‘I love you’ to both of us. Forever, with love, Brooke.”

Cowden’s funeral in Denver comes as 20 of the 58 people injured in the shooting remained hospitalized, seven in critical condition.

Holmes was arrested behind the theater shortly after the massacre and was in court for the first time on Monday, appearing dazed and groggy and his hair dyed shades of bright orange and red.

The judge ruled on Tuesday that no cameras would be allowed in the courtroom when Holmes is charged. Holmes’ initial appearance on Monday was televised.

Authorities have not offered a motive for the shooting spree. Police said Holmes, a former neuroscience student, left his 800-square-foot (75-square-meter) apartment booby-trapped with explosives that authorities said could have destroyed the entire complex.

Local and state bomb experts conducted a controlled demolition over the weekend. The building remains closed and police have not said when residents will be allowed to return.

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Holmes is in solitary confinement to protect him from other prisoners. He had recently sought to leave a doctoral degree program in neuroscience at the Anschutz Medical School, a few blocks from his apartment.

The shooting rampage has renewed debate in the United States about gun control. At the same time, Colorado authorities said on Tuesday that applications in the state for background checks to buy firearms surged in the aftermath of the shooting.

Writing by Dan Burns; Additional reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Vicki Allen

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