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James Holmes' school psychiatrist warned campus security - new documents

James Holmes, accused in the shooting massacre at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., appears in court on Tuesday, March 12, 2013.
April 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
A psychiatrist who treated Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes had warned officials about her patient's dangerous and homicidal thoughts a month before the deadly assault, according to newly released court documents.

Dr. Lynne Fenton treated Holmes at the University of Colorado, Denver, where he was a student. The documents, made public on Thursday, revealed that Fenton told a campus police officer in June that the shooting suspect had threatened and intimidated her.

The doctor's warning came more than a month before the July 20 attack at a movie theater that killed 12 and injured 70. Holmes had been a student in the university's Ph.D. neuroscience program but withdrew about six weeks before the shootings after failing a key exam.

Campus police officer Lynn Whitten told investigators after the shooting that Fenton had contacted her. Whitten said Fenton was following her legal requirement to report threats to authorities, according to one of the documents, a search warrant affidavit.

Whitten also said that Fenton said she began to receive threatening text messages from Holmes after he stopped seeing her for counseling, the documents stated.

It is not clear if Fenton's concerns about Holmes reached other university authorities. Whitten told investigators she deactivated Holmes' access card after hearing from Fenton, but the affidavit did not say what other action she took.

The university released a statement Friday saying the documents supported its assertions in August that Holmes' access card was deactivated when he quit a doctoral program but that he was not banned from campus.

However, the statement did not address whether the university took any steps in response to Fenton's warning that he was a threat to the public.

The statement also did not directly address the difference between the officer's statement that she deactivated Holmes' access card because of Fenton's concerns and the university's statement that the card was deactivated because Holmes had left the school.

A school spokesperson said she could not elaborate on the statement because of a judge's gag order and because the school did not want to jeopardize the prosecution of Holmes.

The documents released Thursday were previously sealed, but the new judge overseeing the case ordered them released after requests from news organizations.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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