US gunman saw mental health experts

Wed, Aug 22, 2012, 01:00

Accused Colorado gunman James Holmes, charged with killing 12 people in a movie theater rampage last month, saw at least three mental health professionals at the University of Colorado before the shooting, a CBS News affiliate reported today.

Holmes is accused of opening fire in a midnight screening of the new Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises in a Denver suburb, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. His lawyer has said in court that Holmes suffers from an unspecified mental illness and had tried to get help.

Court papers filed by defense lawyers in July said Holmes had been a patient of the medical director for student mental health services on campus, Dr Lynne Fenton, before he filed paperwork to drop out of a competitive neuroscience graduate program.

But local CBS affiliate KCNC-TV, citing unnamed sources, reported that he had seen at least three mental health professionals associated with the university but did not name them. The report could not be immediately verified.

How long Holmes met with the additional professionals and the extent to which they were involved in his mental health treatment was not clear, KCNC-TV reported.

University of Colorado medical campus spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery declined to comment on whether Holmes had seen three mental health professionals on campus.

As in many states, mental health care providers in Colorado must warn authorities of potential violent behavior only when a patient has communicated a serious threat of imminent physical violence against a specific target.

Previous media reports had said that Dr Fenton reported Holmes to a campus threat assessment team and a campus police officer over concerns about her patient.

Holmes is being held without bond and in solitary confinement at the Arapahoe County jail. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether they will seek the death penalty.