Did Colorado Suspect Practice Shooting Before ‘Batman’ Massacre?
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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — It appears James Holmes, the alleged shooter in the Aurora movie massacre that left 12 dead, may have practiced shooting before going on his rampage.
CBS News senior correspondent John Miller suggests the suspect had to have practiced shooting because the shooter had a 50 percent hit ratio, twice of what a police officer might hit during a street setting.
“Here’s an individual who we see kind of lolling in court but who went into that theater, actually shooting and hitting with bullets more than 52 people of the 70 injured,” Miller said on “CBS This Morning.” “Here’s a guy who went in with what we think was about 100 rounds; that gives him a 50 percent hit ratio.”
Miller later added that the alleged shooter Holmes was able to transition quickly between the three guns he was carrying.
“He was working effectively with three weapons,” Miller explained. “So the idea that transitioning from three weapons he could have a 50 percent hit rate on moving targets in a confusing environment really goes to the idea that he’s been practicing somewhere.”
Holmes made his first court appearance Monday. Unshaven and appearing dazed, Holmes sat virtually motionless, his eyes drooping as the judge advised him of the severity of the case. At one point, Holmes simply closed his eyes.
He never said a word.
Prosecutors said they didn’t know if he was being medicated. His demeanor, however, angered victims’ relatives. Tom Teves, whose son, Alex, was killed in the attack, watched Holmes intently throughout the roughly 12-minute hearing, sizing up the 24-year-old former doctoral student.
“I saw the coward in court today and Alex could have wiped the floor with him without breaking a sweat,” Teves said. His son, a physical therapist, dove to protect his girlfriend during “The Dark Knight Rises” shooting at a multiplex in nearby Aurora in the Denver suburbs.
The court appearance gave millions the chance to scrutinize Holmes’ every movement, every flutter of his heavy eyelids and form their opinions.
“It struck me that this is a person who’s been through an emotional maelstrom and therefore might be totally wiped out emotionally,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gardere, an assistant professor of behavioral medicine at Touro College of Osteopathic Medicine.
Gardere said there could be “a psychotic process going on and we see that being acted out there. Or there might be some sort of malingering going on. In other words, trying to make himself look worse than he actually is. Or maybe a combination of all of those things.”
The hearing was the first confirmation that Holmes’ hair was colored. On Friday, there were reports of his hair being red and that he told arresting officers that he was “The Joker.” Batman’s nemesis in the fictional Gotham has brightly colored hair.
Authorities have declined to confirm if Holmers told officers that he was Batman’s enemy. Investigators found a Batman mask inside his apartment, a law enforcement official close to the investigation said Sunday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the news media.
Holmes, whom police say donned body armor and was armed with an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and handguns during the attack, was arrested shortly afterward. His home was booby-trapped with a trip wire, explosives and unknown liquids that took a day to disarm.
Police have said Holmes began buying guns at Denver-area stores nearly two months before Friday’s shooting and that he received at least 50 packages in four months at his home and at school.
Holmes, who is being held in isolation, is refusing to cooperate, authorities said. They said it could take months to identify a motive.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)