Who Is James Holmes, the Aurora Shooting Suspect?

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Handout / Reuters
Handout / Reuters

James Holmes, 24, is seen in this undated handout picture released by The University of Colorado on July 20, 2012.

After news broke early Friday morning that at least 12 people were killed and 59 were injured in a shooting at Center 16 Movie Theaters in Aurora, Colo., during a packed midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, the attention turned to the suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes. Who is he? Here’s what we know so far.

According to public records, the last address associated with Holmes was about three miles from the theater, near the intersection of 17th Avenue and Peoria Street in Aurora. Records indicate that Holmes had lived at this address since May 2011. Prior to that, he lived in San Diego and Riverside, Calif., near the University of California, Riverside, campus. An official in the university registrar’s office told TIME that Holmes attended the university, but couldn’t release any specific details because of restrictions he requested on his records. The university later released a statement confirming that a student by the name of James Eagan Holmes “graduated from UCR with a BS in neuroscience in the Spring of 2010.” According to the Associated Press, Holmes was most recently studying for a PhD in neuroscience at the University of Colorado Denver, but withdrew from the program last month for unknown reasons.

(MORE: Shooting Rampage at The Dark Knight Rises in Colo.; 12 Dead)

A San Diego police spokeswoman told TIME on Friday morning that Holmes had no criminal record while living in the San Diego area, where he was raised in a quiet suburban neighborhood by his mother, a nurse, and his father, a software manager. The New York Post reports that Holmes led a “seemingly idyllic childhood.” He attended well-respected Westview High School, where he ran cross-country and played soccer. According to a spokesman for the Aurora police department who spoke to the Today show, Holmes had no history with police other than one minor traffic ticket. Federal authorities maintain that he was not on any watch list that would indicate that he was dangerous, and the incident is not believed to be associated with any act of terrorism. He is believed to have acted alone.

On Friday morning, a woman who identified herself as Holmes’ mother was contacted by ABC News just after the shooting. “You have the right person,” Arlene Holmes said, speaking from her home in San Diego. “I need to call the police … I need to fly out to Colorado.” San Diego police Chief William Lansdowne told San Diego’s FOX 5 News that officers are at the family’s home in the Rancho Penasquitos neighborhood to provide security at the family’s request.

(PHOTOS: Batman Movie Theater Shooting in Aurora, Colorado )

Although public records indicate that Holmes did not have a concealed weapons permit, an assault rifle, shotgun and a 40-caliber glock were all found in the theater. Police found another 40-caliber glock in Holmes’ car at the time of his detainment, according to Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates. The suspect was dressed all in black, wearing a ballistic helmet, tactical ballistic vest, ballistic leggings, a throat protector, groin protector, gas mask and black tactical gloves. Some reports state that Holmes claimed the be “The Joker”. After being taken into custody, Holmes told authorities that he had explosive materials in his home. Authorities cleared five buildings in the area and searched the apartment, which appeared to be booby-trapped, according to the Denver Post. Oates told the paper that the explosive devices they found were “pretty sophisticated,” saying, “We could be here for days.”

According to information obtained by the Denver Post, Holmes described himself on his apartment rental application last year as a student who was, “quiet and easygoing.”

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