SAN DIEGO, California – As police searched the Colorado apartment of suspected mass murderer James Holmes, media in San Diego waited outside the house of Holmes’ parents hoping to speak to Arlene Holmes, the mother.
A woman in what appeared to be in nurse scrubs did leave the home. She did not speak as she was escorted by police to her car. Neither police nor neighbors would confirm if she was Arlene Holmes.
With a high concentration of Filipinos in the region, San Diego's Rancho Penasquitos area is nicknamed "Pinoy-quitos."
Filipinos said the upper-middle-class area is known for good schools and friendly neighborhoods.
Realtor Daughlet Ordinario once lived around the corner from where Holmes grew up. Though she walked the area frequently, she never noticed him.
“My heart goes to the victims of the massacre. Yes, I used to live on Bavarian, which is the cross street of Sparren. We used to pass that everyday, our children passed that to go to school,” Ordonario said.
Cecil Camaclang has lived in the area for 30 years and his walking routine also takes him past the Holmes residence on Sparren Avenue.
He said he has never noticed the family and said that nothing as tragic as the Colorado movie theater massacre has been linked to his neighborhood.
“It's really shocking the way it happened. You'd never expect a guy who come from Rancho Penasquitos to be going over there,” she said.
Two miles away from the Holmes residence, locals at a popular Filipino hangout, Orient Valley Filipino cuisine, said they can't believe that a Rancho Penasquitos resident could be capable of such violence.
“It does make you have a little sense of just looking over your shoulder right now like who's this guy what's he going to do, just goes to show you don't really know somebody just by looking at him,” said Miles Leones.
Balitang America has spoken to Filipino Westview alumni who said they remember Holmes as the quiet, smart kid.
These recent Westview graduates, meantime, said the crime is even more shocking because students in their school have a reputation of staying away from trouble.
“It's just weird coming from our school because everyone is perfect you'd think. Everyone is smart, taking AP,” said Shyla Vasvoni, a Westview graduate.
Holmes remains in police custody after he was reported to have shown up at a midnight screening of the latest Batman movie in Aurora, Colorado and opened fire at the packed theater, killing 12 people and hurting 59 other moviegoers.
At least one Filipino-American Ryan Lumba was among those injured.
Though the gunshots were fired a thousand miles away, the pain and concern is strong in Holmes' hometown, with many of the locals now questioning what could turn a quiet kid from a quiet neighborhood into a suspected mass murderer.