Batman shooter called psychiatrist minutes before rampage

Batman shooter called psychiatrist minutes before rampage

James Holmes, the shooter who gunned down 12 people at a US movie theatre, tried unsuccessfully to call his university psychiatrist nine minutes before he opened fire, defence attorneys said.

Holmes had called a University of Colorado switchboard, which can be used to get in contact with faculty members during off hours, public defender Tamara Brady said in court.

It wasn't clear why he called Dr Lynne Fenton, his psychiatrist, and she wasn't immediately available to talk to him.

Holmes, 24, is accused of marching into the packed theatre in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, Colorado, during a midnight premiere of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," on July 20, opening fire and killing 12 people and injuring 58 others.

He has been charged with murder and attempted murder and faces two weapons charges.

Holmes appeared before a packed court hearing yesterday, which included survivors of the shooting, the CNN reported.

Fenton, testified that her contact with Holmes ended on June 11, and that she later contacted campus police because she was "so concerned" about what happened during that last meeting, though she declined to elaborate.

Officials said Holmes mailed a notebook to her before the shooting, though it's not clear whether its contents will be considered admissible in court.

Fenton testified that Holmes' defence team contacted her after the shooting and asked that she send the notebook back to Holmes via them.

In 2011, the University of Iowa rejected Holmes' graduate application, with one official saying "Do NOT offer admissions under any circumstances," according to documents.

A second university official agreed not to make the recommendation for Holmes' admittance.

The gunman was a doctoral candidate studying neuroscience at the University of Colorado's Anschutz campus in Aurora.

But he was "denied access to the school after June 12, 2012, after he made threats to a professor," according to court documents.

Subsequently, Holmes "started the process to voluntarily withdraw from his graduate studies programme."

The University of Colorado said this month that it hired a former US attorney to conduct an independent review into how the school handled Holmes.

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