|“||I just considered them numbers really, not people.||”|
— Holmes during his trial
James Eagan Holmes is an American mass murderer who perpetrated the July 20, 2012 Aurora shooting which killed a dozen people and wounded 70 others.
Born December 13, 1987, Holmes' father is a mathematician and scientist and his mother a registered nurse. By his own account, he used to fear what he called "Nail Ghosts" that would knock on the walls, and see what he called "flickers" that fought each other with firearms. He also claimed to be obsessed with killing for over a decade. Holmes began developing mental health issues very early in childhood and showed varying signs of mental instability, such as having attempted suicide as a child, expressed growing desires to kill people, had very poor social skills, and often made flat jokes. He was also a notable fan of superhero movies, most notably the 2012 The Dark Knight Rises film (something which is believed to have been a factor in his motive). Holmes spent almost two months preparing his massacre, buying his equipment over the course of almost six weeks, and even made a call to a crisis hotline to attempt to get them to talk him down (but was unsuccessful).
The Aurora Shooting
On July 20, 2012, Holmes arrived at the theatre and purchased a ticket for a screening of The Dark Knight Rises and sat in the front row. After watching only twenty minutes, he left and went to his car to dress and retrieve his supplies. He then returned through the back door and began by releasing two gas canisters to disorient and blind the crowd before opening fire. He moved from the back of the theatre to the aisles and shot anyone in sight. Police responses arrived soon after and Holmes was arrested by Jason Oviatt without resistance.
Holmes was arrested and eventually charged with a dozen counts of murder and briefly placed in an institution in Colorado, but later sent to prison.
Holmes used two tear gas grenades to keep the victims in place before shooting at them with a Smith & Wesson M&P15 sport Rifle, Remington 870 Express Tactical shotgun, and a Glock 22. He also booby-trapped his house with a bomb before leaving to go out on his massacre. What's also interesting to note is that Holmes' outfit managed to fool both his victims and police (either assuming him to be a patron or being mistaken for a police officer).