Psychiatrist warned campus police about Aurora shooter a month before mass murder

posted at 9:21 am on April 5, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

In a revelation that may have Colorado voters rethinking their state’s push on gun control, court documents revealed that the mass shooting in Aurora that killed 12 and injured 70 more could have been prevented by law enforcement.  The psychiatrist for suspect, James Holmes, had warned campus police that Holmes was dangerous and homicidal a month before the shooting took place.  Lynne Fenton even told the police that Holmes had begun to stalk and threaten her, and yet no action was apparently taken:

A University of Colorado psychiatrist told campus police a month before the Aurora movie theater attack that James Holmes had homicidal thoughts and was a public danger, according to records unsealed Thursday.

Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist at the Denver campus, told police that Holmes had also “threatened and harassed her via email/text messages” in June 2012. He is standing trial for the July 20 shooting rampage that killed 12 and injured 70 during a midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie. …

Soon after the shooting, university police said they had not had any contact with Holmes, a graduate student doing neuroscience research. But a search warrant affidavit released Thursday revealed that an officer had told investigators that Fenton had contacted her to report “his danger to the public due to homicidal statements he had made.”

In releasing the arrest and search warrant affidavits and other documents, District Judge Carlos Samour, the new judge overseeing the case, ruled that neither the prosecution nor defense had convinced him that making the files public would cause harm or that keeping them sealed would prevent harm.

The prosecution had tried to keep these records sealed, and it’s not difficult to see why.  (They can be viewed at KUSA’s website, where they were posted last night.) The narrative from political and law-enforcement leaders in Colorado has been that this could have been anyone with a gun who just flipped out, and a society without gun control cannot hope to stop it.  But Holmes didn’t just flip out shortly before the murder, and police had ample warning of the danger he presented.

Police have testified to having no contact with Holmes before the shooting.  Why exactly was that?  The complaint/warning from Fenton should have prompted police to make sure Holmes wasn’t a threat to Fenton, at the very least.  Had they performed that standard follow-up — and remember, this was a mental health professional telling the police that her patient was both homicidal and threatening her specifically — the police might well have had Holmes in custody long before the shooting.

Instead, this information has remained under seal while Colorado politicians insisted that it was the guns that created the unforeseen danger of mass murder.  The new release destroys that narrative, and poses another question. If police in Colorado can’t be bothered to follow up on information from a psychiatrist that her patient has become homicidal, dangerous to the community, and has threatened her specifically, why bother passing gun laws at all?

Update: Give CBS credit for covering this on their own:

The question on everyone’s minds is “Why?”, as Manuel Bojorquez says at the end — but not just “why did Holmes commit this murder?” We also want to know why the police never bothered to even talk with Holmes after Fenton’s warning.


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Akzed on April 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Yes, it changes the way you hold your self, your eyes, your weight, and features change when your facial musculature changes. This also happens to ordinary people who change moods and when the camera is from a different angle. I think your discrepancy detector has been warped by mental illness, frankly, because nothing else would account for it.

SarahW on April 5, 2013 at 7:51 PM

Akzed on April 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Yes, it changes the way you hold your self, your eyes, your weight, and features change when your facial musculature changes. This also happens to ordinary people who change moods and when the camera is from a different angle. I think your discrepancy detector has been warped by mental illness, frankly, because nothing else would account for it.

SarahW on April 5, 2013 at 7:51 PM

“Nothing else would account for it”?

Uhm… howsabout the obvious deduction that the college ID photo and the mug shot are two different young men? Is that “nothing else,” or something else?

Akzed on April 5, 2013 at 8:01 PM

Until or unless you or Akzed or someone tell me WHY, I ought to wonder, I’m not really going to worry. JFKY on April 5, 2013 at 2:05 PM

We could ask the Dark Knight Rises property manager about this, but he’s dead and buried in Newtown, CT.

Akzed on April 5, 2013 at 8:06 PM

Akzed on April 5, 2013 at 1:42 PM

Yes, it changes the way you hold your self, your eyes, your weight, and features change when your facial musculature changes. This also happens to ordinary people who change moods and when the camera is from a different angle. I think your discrepancy detector has been warped by mental illness, frankly, because nothing else would account for it.
SarahW on April 5, 2013 at 7:51 PM

You address “the way you hold your self, your eyes, your weight, and features change when your facial musculature changes” but not eye color? Not the width of the nose?

Now I realize that you’re calling me crazy. ” I think your discrepancy detector has been warped by mental illness…” I think you are employed by those who orchestrated the Aurora massacre.

I think your denial of the obvious is warped by your involvement with the Aurora massacre hit team, frankly, because nothing else would account for it.

Akzed on April 5, 2013 at 8:18 PM

the source told the National Enquirer.

Congrats, Young.

You detective sleuthing lead you to a UK transcript swipe of a National Enquirer story, that was also swiped by the Times.

budfox on April 5, 2013 at 10:18 AM

Not wanting to get involved in the personal p@ssing match, but to me The Enquirer holds more credibility than the Slimes and a lot of media outlets. Actually, there really aren’t any “legacy” media that I’d hold above The Enquirer.

Until I hear/read differently I’d tend to believe it as I do most media info.

kim roy on April 5, 2013 at 11:35 PM

Ed is (perhaps unwittingly) offering support for the idea of warnings such as the one reportedly made by the doc here find their way into a database in place for background checks.
 
verbaluce on April 5, 2013 at 12:40 PM

 

So you support intervention-minded government databases when a medical condition poses a threat to the lives of others?
 
rogerb on April 5, 2013 at 1:31 PM

 
So the thread is dead after we point out a particular mindset and what verbaluce is readily endorsing.
 
Oopsies.

rogerb on April 6, 2013 at 7:39 AM

But I haven’t heard anyone who favors more gun control on some level suggest that there are no other issues to be addressed.
But maybe what you’re offering here is support for robust background checks.

verbaluce on April 5, 2013 at 12:28 PM

They’re real reason for wanting gun control has nothing to do with stopping these incidents. Their desire is to control our behavior because they think they know what is better for us, just like all fascist, ignorant goons.

dogsoldier on April 6, 2013 at 9:06 AM

Everyone knows that at 400 yards Palin could plink verbaluce like an outhouse rat then ponder the waste of perfectly good ammunition.

viking01 on April 5, 2013 at 1:54 PM

Worth the price of admission, right there. LOL.

Cleombrotus on April 6, 2013 at 9:26 AM

How many reports of this nature are ignored every day?
AND for good reason. The “psychiatrist” obviously did not have enough evidence. That’s typical.
This scat will become even more common as the “gun control” BS spirals out of control. Some have already blamed “anti-depressants”.
LOL
Face it, those of you who need a reason as to why he did what he did:
He’s just your run-of-the-mill psychopath seeking a legacy.
Read: “The Rage of the Random Actor” by Korem.
This guy is no more more “mentally ill” than most reading this.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on April 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

I think we need strong background checks and positive ID checks through a national database to vote. It’s for the children, you know.

Jeff2161 on April 6, 2013 at 2:12 PM

How many reports of this nature are ignored every day?
AND for good reason. The “psychiatrist” obviously did not have enough evidence. That’s typical.

Karl Magnus on April 6, 2013 at 12:38 PM

Are you serious or is this sarcasm.

While I don’t trust doctors not to sell out to the government, especially these new doctor-lites that Obamacare will usher in to contain costs, the idea that a psychiatrist’s comments of warning should go unchecked and unnoticed by police due to insufficient ‘evidence’ is preposterous — certainly so with the laws we have today mandating reporting of certain forms of homocidal ideation, and considering the legal basis for MDs’ authority to involuntarily commit.

And then, to ignore a complaint of stalking, and electronic threats and harrassment (which are especially easy to check), especially by a psychiatrist, as unworthy of any notice because of insufficient evidence is particularly ludicrous (not the rapper).

You’ve got to be kidding, right?

flicker on April 6, 2013 at 8:54 PM

A guy called a talk show in Philly to report that after telling his doc that he drinks two six-packs a night, the doc reported him to the police and he lost his driver’s license.

So I think the authorities are not bashful about reacting to the concerns of medical professionals regarding their patients’ psych problems, real or imagined. Not that I agree with them in the case I mentioned, I’m just sayin.

Of course, given the fact that the shooter’s mug shot bears no resemblance to his purported college ID photo, there are other problems with this uh, event that demand investigation.

Akzed on April 7, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Enforce the laws on the books, a brillant new idea.

JackM on April 8, 2013 at 9:01 AM

On another thread, I blamed the people of Colorado for that jackass congresswoman who can’t articulate the difference between a large capcity magazine from a vibrator. I also demanded they tell us exactly how they were going to make things right.

I now blame them for all the harm the Colorado gun grabbers will do to America.

And I want them to fix it. Now.

JackM on April 8, 2013 at 9:07 AM

Dr. Fenton should have told the police she knew of a gun that was going to take one of her patients on a killing spree.

JackM on April 8, 2013 at 9:18 AM

Liberals should be ashamed as they tap dance in the pool of blood drawn by murdered children.

JackM on April 8, 2013 at 9:50 AM

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