Aurora shooting suspect rejected from gun club
Published Sunday, July 22, 2012 12:43PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, July 22, 2012 10:56PM EDT
The owner of a Colorado gun club said he rejected theatre-shooting suspect James Holmes’s application after hearing Holmes’s “bizarre” answering machine message.
Gun club owner Glenn Rotkovich said Holmes applied to the club on June 25. When Rotkovich gave Holmes a follow-up call, he said he got the answering machine message, which he described as “bizarre -- guttural, freakish at best.”
Rotkovich eventually told his staff not to accept Holmes into the club.
Rotkovich’s comments were among new details to emerge Sunday about the man suspected of killing 12 and injuring 59 in Aurora, Colo. during a midnight screening of the new Batman movie.
Investigators in Aurora are hoping a laptop removed from Holmes’s apartment will reveal a motive behind Friday’s massacre, which has been described as one of the worst acts of gun violence in the U.S. since the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre.
“It’s a bit mystifying for some people who knew James Holmes,” CTV’s John Vennavally-Rao told CTV News Channel on Sunday.
“They say he was a really smart guy,” he said from Aurora.
While authorities refuse to discuss a possible motive behind one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history, a law enforcement official revealed late Sunday that police found a Batman mask inside Holmes’s apartment.
The official made the revelation when speaking to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity.
Meanwhile, more details about Holmes's background as a student and would-be scientist trickled out Sunday.
About a month prior to the shooting, Holmes, 24, dropped out of the competitive graduate program in neuroscience at the University of Colorado Denver, where he was one of six students to receive National Institutes of Health grant money.
Video obtained by ABC News shows an 18-year-old Holmes at a science camp talking about “temporal illusions.” In the video he appears slightly nervous but extremely intelligent.
Vennavally-Rao said unlike most individuals in their twenties, little information about Holmes can be found online.
A lot of people in their twenties, “have websites, Facebook pages, they tweet, but Holmes didn’t have a whole lot about him on the Internet,” he said.
Police in Aurora continued Sunday to secure Holmes’s apartment in the north end of the city, where several jars filled with chemicals and about 30 improvised explosive devices were found. Police said Saturday that all hazards had been removed from the 800-square-foot space.
Police believe the apartment was booby-trapped in such a way that anyone who entered -- which investigators assumed would likely be a police officer -- would be killed.
Residents in the low-rise apartment building where Holmes lived were evacuated on Friday and police said they will likely be able to return to their homes on Sunday.
Meanwhile, the University of Colorado said it is investigating whether Holmes used his position as a graduate student at the school to order the hazardous materials found in his apartment.
Over the course of four months, Holmes received at least 50 packages to his home and school, police said Saturday.
A university spokesperson said the school is looking into whether those packages were received at the school.
Jacque Montgomery said police have asked school staff not to speak to reporters as the investigation continues. However, Montgomery revealed that the university is working with police.
Among the weapons Holmes ordered prior to the deadly shooting in Aurora’s Century 16 Theatre were 6,000 rounds of ammunition.
“(Police) are thinking this suspect had this in mind for some time and he was preparing to do battle inside of that theatre,” said Vennavally-Rao.
Police revealed Sunday that it appears the gunman’s semiautomatic rifle jammed during the shooting, meaning he had to switch to gun with less firepower.
Holmes is currently in solitary confinement in a Denver-area county detention facility and is scheduled for an initial court appearance Monday.
Holmes has been assigned a public defender. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said Sunday that Holmes is not co-operating with investigators.
"He lawyered up,” Oates said. “He's not talking to us.”