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Psychiatrist tried to warn about suspect before Colorado shooting

FILE - In this Monday, July 23, 2012 file photo, James Holmes, accused of killing 12 people in Friday's shooting rampage in an Aurora, Colo. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool, File)

DENVER, Colorado: The university psychiatrist seeing the young man accused in last month’s Colorado theater massacre repeatedly tried to discuss her patient with a campus behavioral and security committee nearly a month before the attack, but the group never convened, a new report said.

KMGH-TV, citing sources it did not identify, reported Wednesday that psychiatrist Lynne Fenton had called members of the University of Colorado team about graduate student James Holmes in early June. It wasn’t known what Fenton wanted to discuss, the station said.

Holmes dropped out of the university on June 10. He was arraigned Monday on charges of killing 12 people and wounding 58 in a rampage at the opening of the new Batman film on July 20. Legal experts have said Holmes’ mental state will play a key part in the case.

KMGH reported that campus officials did not contact Aurora police before July 20 and that the committee didn’t meet to discuss Holmes because he began the process of dropping out of school.

The university said Wednesday it could not discuss the report, citing a court order barring the school from releasing details about Holmes’ yearlong tenure there.

The university confirmed that Fenton was a member of a campus Behavior Evaluation and Threat Assessment team, composed of faculty and staff, including campus police.

The team was created to address behavioral problems as well as potential security issues involving members of the campus community.

Fenton couldn’t be immediately reached for comment, and it was not known whether she had an attorney.

Holmes’ attorneys last week filed a motion that revealed Holmes was seeing Fenton as a patient. The revelation raised questions about Holmes’ year of study at the university’s medical campus and about possible motives behind the shooting.

The defense motion demanded that a package allegedly sent to Fenton by Holmes, and received at the university after the shooting, be kept sealed because of doctor-patient confidentiality. It also demanded information on who may have leaked information about its contents to some news media outlets that reported – without named sources – that Holmes had written descriptions of an attack in a notebook.

Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers disputed reports that a notebook contained descriptions of an attack.

District Chief Judge William Sylvester has sealed all court orders, search warrants, affidavits and the case file. A hearing on the defense motion is set for Aug. 16.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on August 03, 2012, on page 11.

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