The Two Sides of James Holmes, the Colorado Shooter

By:  Bob Adelmann
The Two Sides of James Holmes, the Colorado Shooter

 James Holmes appears to be a normal, bright, self-effacing individual without evil intents. Looking deeper Holmes is the skilled, deliberate schemer behind the Aurora, Colorado, shootings.


The editorial staff at tried to answer the question: “Who is James Holmes?” and came up with two distinctly different answers. On one hand, Holmes was a bright young man, having been raised in an upper-middle class neighborhood by his parents. In other words, he was about as normal as hot weather in the summer. On the other hand, he was a plotting, conniving, deliberate individual intent on wreaking as much mayhem as he could during his attack on unsuspecting theater-goers at a midnight showing in Aurora, Colorado.

Carol Leonnig, writing for the Washington Post, said:

He was known as a very quiet young man, introverted but pleasant. Holmes, 24, had shown scholarly promise in the recent past. He’d earned a merit scholarship out of high school in a sunny San Diego suburb. He had graduated from college with honors. From there, he’d gone to graduate school at the University of Colorado at Denver.

He was just one of six students in his class to earn a merit scholarship, graduating at the top of his class at the University of California, Riverside. He won a grant in the amount of $26,000 from the National Institute of Health (NIH) which allowed him to enter the University of Colorado to study neuroscience.

While in high school he enjoyed going to the movies and playing video games with his friends. One of his classmates at Westview High School in San Diego said Holmes was “really smart, kinda nerdy and not too talkative with people he wasn’t friends with." He didn’t get involved in sports or other extracurricular activities and while he “didn’t really have any long-term girlfriends … I do remember him having dates to dances.”

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Photo: This photo combination shows a variety of facial expressions of James E. Holmes during his appearance at Arapahoe County District Court, July 23, 2012, in Centennial, Colo.: AP Images

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