Colorado movie house massacre suspect was under psychiatrist’s care
AURORA, Colo. (Reuters) – The third funeral in as many days was underway Friday in this Denver suburb for victims of last week’s deadly shooting rampage at a midnight screening of the latest “Batman” film, this one for an 18-year-old man who had been bound for art college in the fall.
At an earlier candlelight vigil held in his honor, friends of Alexander J. “AJ” Boik recalled him a popular member of the recently graduated class of 2012 at Gateway High School in Aurora, just blocks from the site of the July 20 massacre at the local debut of “The Dark Knight Rises” at the Century 16 theater.
Boik was among 12 people, aged six to 51, who were killed when police say a 24-year-old graduate school dropout, James Eagan Holmes, opened fire on the packed theater. Fifty-eight more people were injured in the shooting, 12 of whom still remain hospitalized, five in critical condition.
Holmes, arrested within minutes of the rampage at his car in the theater’s parking lot, is being held in solitary confinement in the local jail. He will be formally charged in the shooting on Monday.
Boik, who chaired the high school orchestra’s viola section, was known also as an enthusiastic supporter of Gateway’s sports teams, from boys’ football to girls’ volleyball, frequently showing up in body paint to cheer on the players.
An award-winning ceramic artist, he was bound for Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the fall to study art education. His funeral, the third memorial service so far for the 12 people killed, was at Queen of Peace Catholic Church in Aurora.
On Thursday, mourners crowded into a Denver Baptist church for the private funeral of 23-year-old Micayla Medek, which ended with sobbing family members clustered around her flower-covered coffin, some softly singing “You Are My Sunshine” while others blew kisses after the hearse that bore her body away.
The first funeral took place Wednesday. It was for Gordon Cowden, who at 51 was the oldest victim of the shooting. The self-employed real estate appraiser had attended the movie with his teenage daughters, both of whom escaped unharmed. A native of Texas, a separate memorial service was planned for Cowden in Austin on Friday as well.
Several more funerals and memorials were planned for other victims for the weekend.
STILL NO KNOWN MOTIVE
Authorities have yet to offer a motive for the bloodshed.
One clue under examination was a mysterious package that was delivered to the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, where Holmes had been enrolled as a doctoral student of neuroscience. The package was reported to contain a notebook detailing the shooting scenario.
According to a Fox News report, which cited an unnamed law enforcement source close to the investigation, the parcel was addressed to a psychiatrist on the university faculty and included hand-drawn illustrations of the massacre with pictures of stick figures shooting at other stick figures. The psychiatrist was not identified.
Meanwhile, Holmes’ neighbors in the three-story apartment house where he lived were permitted to begin returning to their homes on Wednesday night for the first time since the building was evacuated on Friday, shortly after the shooting.
Residents were ordered out when Holmes’ unit was discovered to have been booby-trapped with explosives capable of leveling the entire complex had they been detonated.
(Writing by Dan Burns; Editing by Vicki Allen)
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