The psychiatrist treating Aurora shooter James Holmes in the time leading up to the massacre that killed 12 people at an opening-night showing of the film The Dark Knight Rises warned the young man’s university weeks before the spree killing, a new report suggests.
The woman treating suspected Aurora shooter James Holmes, Dr. Lynne Fenton, is said to have contacted the young man’s university with concerns — likely about his mental state — prior to the deadly incident last month. While privacy laws surrounding medical treatment and conditions prevent the information from being confirmed, the fact that Holmes’ psychiatrist is thought to have called the university suggests that the possibility Holmes would harm others (rather than himself, which is less likely to require contact with his university) was apparent in the days and weeks before he gunned down 12 theater patrons and wounded scores more.
The reason for the call reportedly made by Fenton in June, ahead of the July 20th Dark Knight Rises massacre, was not made public. A Denver-area news station only cites “sources with knowledge of the investigation” in reporting the alleged phone call, but the information leaked suggests that the nature of Fenton’s concerns surrounded potential harm to others and a threat posed to Holmes’ classmates:
News site KMGH reports:
“Sources say Dr. Lynne Fenton, who treated Holmes this spring, contacted several members of the BETA team in separate conversations. According to the university website, the BETA team consists of “key” staff members from various CU departments who have specific expertise in dealing with assessing potential threats on campus. And, sources say, officials at the University of Colorado never contacted Aurora police with Fenton’s concerns before the July 20 killings.”
Intervention seems to have been a near miss with suspected Aurora shooter James Holmes, as just as Fenton was sounding the alarm, Holmes was dropping out of school — thereby placing him out of the reach of the BETA team. The news site continues:
“‘Fenton made initial phone calls about engaging the BETA team’ in ‘the first 10 days’ of June but it ‘never came together’ because in the period Fenton was having conversations with team members, James Holmes began the process of dropping out of school, a source said.”
Holmes’ treatment and any further contact by Fenton to authorities would also fall under HIPAA laws, so little is known about what occurred after the initial reports were allegedly made. Officials at the school believe that they did all they were able to do regarding the situation before Holmes’ access to secure areas of the school was revoked on June 12th.