James Eagan Holmes was born December 13, 1987 in San Diego County, California. Holmes graduated with honors from the University of California-Riverside in Spring 2010 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Neuroscience. Holmes was a member of several honors societies, including Phi Beta Kappa and Golden Key. Holmes had trouble finding a job after earning a master’s degree from UC Riverside. Depressed, Holmes took a part-time job at McDonald’s before deciding to earn another degree in Colorado. From Fall 2011 to Summer 2012, Holmes was enrolled in the Ph.D. neuroscience program at the University of Colorado-Denver. In July, he was in the process of voluntary withdrawal from the program, and his card-entry access to university research facilities was terminated.
Holmes bought a ticket to the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and entered the theater with the crowd. Holmes then allegedly propped open an exit door after the movie started, put on protective gear, and then started shooting.
The guns used in the shooting were purchased in May, June and July at Gander Mountain Guns shops and at Bass Pro shops in Colorado. On May 22 2012, Holmes bought a Glock pistol in Aurora, CO. On May 28, he bought a Remington shotgun in Denver, CO. Early June, he bought a .223 caliber Smith & Wesson rifle in Thornton, CO. On July 6 he, bought a second Glock in Denver, CO. During the last 60 days, Holmes had allegedly been stockpiling more than 6,000 rounds of ammunition through purchases on the Internet. Another .40-caliber handgun with a cache of ammunition was found in Holmes’ 2-door white car, which was parked in the movie theater parking lot behind the rear exit.
Most of the victims shot were those standing up and running out of the theater, with far less seated moviegoers being hit, and none ducking down to the floor being hit.
Holmes reportedly fled to the parking lot after the shooting spree, then was confronted by 25 police officers and taken into custody.
Holmes asked for an attorney and invoked his right to remain silent.