Colorado shooter's shrink reached cop before rampage: ABC


Posted at Aug 08 2012 05:08 AM | Updated as of Aug 08 2012 01:08 PM

DENVER - The psychiatrist who treated suspected movie-theater shooter James Holmes contacted a University of Colorado police officer to express concerns about Holmes' behavior several weeks before his alleged rampage, ABC News reported, citing unnamed sources.

Colorado shooting suspect James Eagan Holmes attends his first court appearance in Aurora, Colorado, July 23, 2012. / REUTERS

The sources did not know what the officer approached by Dr. Lynne Fenton did with the information she passed along, ABC said in a report Monday on its website.

They said, however, that the officer was recently interviewed, with an attorney present, by the Aurora, Colorado, Police Department as a part of the investigation of the July 20 shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

The sources said Fenton would have had to have serious concerns to break confidentiality with her patient to contact the police officer or others, the network said.

Holmes, 24, a former University of Colorado graduate student, had said he planned to drop out of school nearly six weeks before the shooting in an Aurora theater.

Under Colorado law, a psychiatrist can legally breach a pledge of confidentiality with a patient if he or she becomes aware of a serious and imminent threat that the patient might cause harm to others, ABC said. Psychiatrists can also breach confidentiality if a court has ordered them to do so.

University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery declined to comment to ABC on what, if anything, the university police officer might have done with information provided by Fenton.

She cited a court-issued gag order preventing her from confirming or denying any information related to Fenton or the investigation.

In a written statement to ABC News, the university said campus police officers were frequently involved in meetings of the university's Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team.

The statement went on to say that police involvement with threat assessment "could include security matters, badge access, background checks, wellness checks, criminal investigations and referrals and outreach to other law enforcement agencies."

Fenton could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.

Holmes was charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the shooting at a midnight screening of the latest "Batman" movie in suburban Denver.

ABC News and affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver reported last week that Fenton had contacted other members of the university's threat-assessment team about her concerns.

The University of Colorado said last week it had hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an internal review of the Denver-based campus' dealings with Holmes.

Holmes is being held without bail in solitary confinement to protect him from other inmates. He is eligible for the death penalty if convicted.