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Colorado Theater Shooting: Classmate says James Holmes was "totally non-aggressive," a little "forgettable"

A man holds his face in his hands in front of a memorial after a prayer vigil Sunday, July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colo. Twelve people were killed and over 50 wounded in a shooting attack early Friday at the packed theater during a showing of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, inset. AP Photo/Alex Brandon

James Holmes, inset, A man holds his face in his hands in front of a memorial after a prayer vigil
A memorial after a prayer vigil Sunday, July 22, 2012 in Aurora, Colo.
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
(CBS) - A school buddy of James Eagan Holmes - who spent years in the same classes throughout middle and high school told CBS News Correspondent Peter Van Sant that his one-time classmate was "totally standardly normal. If anything, a little bit forgettable."

Pictures: 12 dead, dozens wounded in shooting at Batman movie

Sumit Shah, who still lives in Holmes' hometown of San Diego, described a quiet kid who excelled in school, cracked jokes with his friends and was not absorbed by violent video games whatsoever.

"It's like he was totally non-aggressive," Shah told Van Sant. "He didn't seem like he had any aggression or meanness in him.

"The biggest thing I remember about him was -- we did a high school project, it was -- the end of -- the year project for AP European History class -- and that's when I found out he could play the piano. He's actually pretty good at the piano. He was just playing some old Irish stuff. But that's -- that's really the deepest I got to know about him."

But Shah says that, looking back, he now realizes that he hardly knew Holmes at all. He says the two never socialized outside school and he didn't know anyone who did.

Van Sant: You never went to a movie with him?

Shah: No, I never spent any time outside of school with him, aside from working on a project.

Van Sant: And talking to your old circle of friends, people who were in class with James Holmes, nobody seemed to have a relationship with him outside of school, is that right?

Shah: Yeah, that's right. Nobody really had a relationship with him.

Van Sant: That's unusual, isn't it?

Shah: Yeah -- that is unusual.

Shah: Did he want to be a friend? Did he ever say to you, "Hey, let's get together some time. Let's go see a movie. Let's go hang out, play some videogames?"

Shah: No, he never really opened up in that way. He never really reached out to anybody that I know of. He just-- seemed like he was there to be there for what he needed to do. And I don't know what he did after.

Van Sant: Socially a loner.

Shah: Yeah, it would seem that way.

Shah went on to say that, even though he and Holmes hung out with a "nerdy" crowd, he could not remember Holmes ever being harassed or bullied.

"He didn't seem like he was emotionally damaged or anything. He wasn't ever aggressive," Shah said. "There wasn't anything ever telling me that this would be the guy who would do something like this."

Complete coverage of James Holmes on Crimesider

  • Paul LaRosa

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