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Colo. shooting suspect James Holmes rejected from University of Iowa: "Do NOT offer admission"

James Holmes, the man accused in the Colorado theater massacre, sent a letter to one of his professors days before the shooting. In it, sources tell CBS News, he talked about shooting people and even included drawings of a gunman and his victims, reports John Miller.

Source: Holmes letter warned of shooting
James Holmes' booking photo

(CBS/AP) IOWA CITY, Iowa - The University of Iowa rejected the suspected gunman in the Colorado movie theater shooting rampage from a graduate neuroscience program last year after he visited the campus for an interview which left the program director bluntly warning colleagues: "Do NOT offer admission under any circumstances."

Pictures: The Colorado massacre suspect

James Holmes applied to the Iowa program in late 2010 and was given an interview on Jan. 28, 2011, according to records released by the university. Holmes wrote in his application that he was passionate about neuroscience and would bring "my strong moral upbringing" to the program. He painted himself as a bright student interested in improving himself and helping the world with a career in scientific research.

But two days after Holmes' interview, neuroscience program director Daniel Tranel wrote a strongly worded email urging the admissions committee not to accept him to the school.

"James Holmes: Do NOT offer admission under any circumstances," wrote Tranel, a professor of neurology.

Psychology professor Mark Blumberg followed up with a separate email two days later to say he agreed with Tranel about Holmes, one of three students Blumberg interviewed. "Don't admit," he wrote about Holmes.

Neither official elaborated on their reasoning in the emails, which are among 12 pages of records the university released about Holmes in response to public records request filed by news outlets.

None of the documents further explain why Holmes' application was denied. University spokesman Tom Moore said Thursday that Holmes was academically qualified but officials did not see him as "a good personal fit for our program." He declined to elaborate.

Blumberg said in an email Thursday that he has no specific recollection of Holmes or his opinion, noting officials interview many applicants each year.

Holmes later enrolled as a first-year Ph.D. student in a neuroscience program at the University of Colorado, Denver. He withdrew about six weeks before the attack in Aurora, where prosecutors say the 24-year-old opened fire during a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.

Complete coverage of the Colorado movie theater shooting

  • Crimesider Staff

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