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Jul 27 2012

Aurora gunman may have been under psychiatric care

New evidence and/or leaks in the case of James Holmes, the gunman may have been under the care of a college psychiatrist and sent a letter to that person before opening fire:

CBS News — On Monday afternoon, investigators scoured the mailroom at the University of Colorado-Denver/Anschutz Medical Campus and found what they’d been searching for: a piece of mail from the suspect in the Aurora, Colo., shooting that killed 12 people and injured 58 at a midnight screening of the new Batman film last week. Before opening it, the sheriff’s bomb squad handled it with a robot and took an X-ray, just in case there were explosives inside. … Sources told Miller the letter was from a pent-up Holmes to one of his professors. In it, he talked about shooting people and even included crude drawings of a gunman and his victims.

Beyond the obvious public interest, this could turn out to have an affect on how the case is defended, and could even affect future gun laws. People found mentally defective by a judge or who have been committed to an institution are barred by Illinois Colorado state law from purchasing firearms.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    jaranath

    Illinois state law? Am I missing something? Was he originally from Illinois?

  2. 2
    jacobfromlost

    There must be confusion somewhere. There IS an “Aurora, Illinois” (remember Wayne’s World?), but the shooting happened in Aurora, Colorado.

  3. 3
    lanir

    I expect a lot of bad reporting as a result of that notebook. I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see some people try to blame the psychiatrist for the shootings and selectively edit details of the notebook to imply the psychiatrist received it and just dropped the ball.

  4. 4
    machintelligence

    The defense attorneys have apparently been in court to argue that the notebook could be privileged communication. It might be a while before we know what is in it.

  5. 5
    davidct

    There is no evidence that any judge ever declared Mr. Holmes mentally ill. Therefore that restriction would have had no baring on his ability to purchase in Illinois. If just visiting a psychiatrist would have legal consequences, many fewer people would seek treatment of any kind.

    I legally purchased my first pistol in Detroit, MI and the process took a couple months. I could have purchased a weapon the same day illegally. I can do this now legally in Texas. With the number of guns out there and the patchwork of laws, I don’t see much of a meaningful legal solution coming any time soon. Personally I like to target shoot but recoil at the prospect of shooting a person. As a result my guns live in a safe when I am not using them. Still I like the right to choose.

  6. 6
    Randomfactor

    I’ll be very surprised if we don’t see some people try to blame the psychiatrist

    And Cthulhu help us if he was being treated with antidepressants. The $cientologists and their culokissers will go nutz.

  7. 7
    Brad

    Did they say when it was postmarked? I was going to disparage snail mail, but then I realized it matters when he sent it.

  8. 8
    janeymack

    I read something somewhere (I know, great citation) that said it had been in the mailroom for about 8 days but hadn’t been delivered to the psychiatrist for some reason. Made me wonder what the hell was happening in the mailroom that stuff was just sitting around like that! But I did have the impression that it was mailed well before Holmes went on his rampage and you sure have to wonder if the whole tragedy could have been averted if it had been delivered in a timely manner.

  9. 9
    ttch

    According to this ABC News story,

    Defense: Shooting Suspect Was Seeing Psychiatrist

    Holmes was a psychiatric patient of Dr. Lynne Fenton, medical director of the University of Colorado’s Student Mental Health Services. She had a research interest in schizophrenia.

    More interesting for skeptics, Dr. Fenton “worked for the U.S. Air Force in Texas as an acupuncturist” before joining the university.

  10. 10
    Stephen "DarkSyde" Andrew

    Excellent catch TTCH! I might post that.

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