Watch CBSN Live

Holmes' behavior raised concerns at U. of Alabama

(AP/CBS) DENVER - Colorado theater shooting suspect James Holmes' behavior during interviews raised concerns at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, which rejected him from its neuroscience program despite describing him as an excellent candidate.

The school on Thursday released Holmes' application, which included interview review forms filled out by those who met with Holmes when he visited the school in February 2011.

Professors noted Holmes was a "top notch" student but shy. One professor doubted whether he wanted Holmes in his or her lab, noting in their review form that "he may be extremely smart, but difficult to engage."

Complete Coverage: Colorado Movie Theater Massacre
Holmes rejected from U. of Iowa: "Do NOT offer admission"

Another professor wrote that "his personality might not be as engaging as some students, but he is going to be a leader in the future." The Denver Post published Holmes' full application online.

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 July 20 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.

The University of Iowa also rejected Holmes. According to university records released last week, Holmes was interviewed, but neuroscience program director Daniel Tranel wrote a strongly worded email two days later urging the admissions committee not to accept Holmes 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. Blumberg recommended admission for the other two.

Neither official elaborated on their reasoning in the emails. University spokesman Tom Moore said Holmes was academically qualified but officials did not see him as "a good personal fit for our program."

Both the University of Alabama at Birmingham and University of Iowa released the documents after a judge loosened a gag order and allowed prosecutors to see some of Holmes educational records.

Prosecutors also learned last week Holmes tried unsuccessfully to contact a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado Denver nine minutes before he opened fire at the Aurora movie theater, via an after-hours number at the hospital.

The information came during a hearing with Dr. Lynne Fenton, who said she only met with Holmes once nine days before the July 20 shooting and told a campus police officer she was concerned about him. She said she did not know Holmes had tried to reach her.

Lawyers were trying to establish the relationship between Fenton and Holmes in order view a package and notebook Holmes had mailed her the day before the shooting.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue