James Holmes "not talking" ahead of first court appearance after Aurora theater shooting

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

(CBS/AP) AURORA, Colo. - As the suspected gunman in the Colorado theater massacre heads to his first court appearance, authorities have disclosed that he is refusing to cooperate and that it could take months to learn what prompted the horrific attack on midnight moviegoers at a Batman film premiere.

James Holmes has been held in solitary confinement at an Arapahoe County detention facility but will be moved Monday to a next-door courtroom for a 9:30 a.m. MDT hearing, known as an "initial advisement" in Colorado, where a judge will inform him of the crimes for which he is being investigated.

Holmes has been assigned a public defender and Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said that the 24-year-old former doctoral student has "lawyered up" since his arrest early Friday, following the shooting at an Aurora theater that left 12 dead and 58 wounded, some critically.

"He's not talking to us," the chief said.

Obama meets Colo. shooting victims
13yr-old survivor tried to help others
The Aurora shooting victims

Holmes has been held without bond at the lockup in Centennial, Colo., about 13 miles from the Aurora theater. Prosecutors will have 72 hours from the hearing to formally charge the 24-year-old Aurora resident originally from California.

Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney Carol Chambers said Monday her office is considering pursuing the death penalty against Holmes. She said a decision will be made in consultation with victims' families.

Holmes is accused of entering the theatre with three guns, including a semi-automatic assault rifle with an extended magazine. When that gun jammed, he was forced to use a pistol, reducing the number of rounds he could fire, according to reports.

There are also indications Holmes may have gotten away that morning, if not for observant police officers who noticed something off about his tactical gear.

"There was one particular piece of equipment that he had on him that was out of place, and I am so proud of my officers that they spotted that right away and challenged him," Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates said on the CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday.

That piece of equipment was a non-regulation gas mask. Holmes was arrested at the scene.

On Sunday, officials at the University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus were looking into whether Holmes used his position in a graduate program to collect hazardous materials, but school officials weren't saying whether they knew he was anything more than a hard-working student.

Police have said that Holmes began buying guns at Denver-area stores nearly two months before Friday's shooting and that he received at least 50 packages in four months at his home and at school.

Holmes' gun range membership rejected

While the university disclosed that it was cooperating with police in the case, that disclosure was one of the few it has made three days after the massacre. It remained unclear whether Holmes' professors and other students at his 35-student Ph.D. program noticed anything unusual about his behavior.

His reasons for quitting the program in June, just a year into the five- to seven-year program, also remained a mystery.

Holmes recently took an intense, three-part oral exam that marks the end of the first year. Those who do well continue with their studies and shift to full-time research, while those who don't do well meet with advisers and discuss their options, including retaking the exam. University officials would not say if he passed, citing privacy concerns.

The university said Holmes gave no reason for his withdrawal, a decision he made in June.

Holmes was not allowed access to the institution after his withdrawal, which was "standard operating procedure" because he was no longer affiliated with the school, said Jacque Montgomery, a spokeswoman for the medical school. Holmes had no contact with university police, she said.

The university declined to release any details of his academic record, citing privacy concerns, and at least two dozen professors and other staff declined to speak with The Associated Press. Some said they were instructed not to talk publicly about Holmes in a blanket email sent to university employees.

Montgomery said police have told the school to not talk about Holmes. The university took down the website for its graduate neuroscience program on Saturday.

Amid the continuing investigation of Holmes and his background, Sunday was a day for healing and remembrance in Aurora, with the community holding a prayer vigil and with President Obama arriving to visit with families of the victims. (Click the player at left to see Mr. Obama's remarks in Aurora)

Mr. Obama said he told the families that "all of America and much of the world is thinking about them." He met with them at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora, which treated 23 of the people injured in the mass shooting; 10 remain there, seven hurt critically.

Congregations across Colorado prayed for the shooting victims and their relatives. Elderly churchgoers at an aging Presbyterian church within walking distance near Holmes' apartment joined in prayer, though none had ever met him.

Several thousand gathered for healing at the vigil Sunday night, where a banner said, "Angels Walk With Those Who Grieve."

Comments