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As many try to wrap their heads around who was James Holmes, it seems clear there’s conflicting information. Those who had crossed paths with the 24-year-old suspected gunman thought to have acted alone in killing 12 people at a movie theater in Aurora, outside of Denver, invariably describe him as smart, shy, and maybe a bit odd. That’s quite the contrast from what the New York Daily News hears from inside the prison where Holmes is being kept in solitary confinement out of fear that other inmates might want to hurt him.
“Let’s just say he hasn’t shown any remorse,” a jail employee tells the paper. “He thinks he’s acting in a movie.” A released inmate said Holmes “was spitting at the door and spitting at the guards … dude was acting crazy.”
There also seems to have been a break in what many had described as Holmes’ perplexing lack of a digital footprint with the uncovering of what appears to have been his profile at sex personals site Adult Friend Finder. The profile, which was reportedly created a few days before the massacre, shows a man who looks like Holmes sporting dyed orange hair (here's a side-by-side comparison). TMZ says the website has confirmed that Holmes is the man behind the profile and they tracked the IP address to Aurora. The FBI was investigating the profile but has not confirmed that the man who wrote “Will you visit me in prison?” was Holmes.
These details aside, everyone seems to agree with the San Diego Union Tribune that notes: “By all accounts, Holmes is an unlikely mass murderer.” He grew up in an affluent San Diego suburb and had been pursuing a doctorate in neuroscience at the University of Colorado School of Medicine after graduating with honors at University of California Riverside. Holmes had no run-ins with campus police throughout his undergraduate years and the worst that those who knew him have to say about him is that he was “a little weird,” which, as one woman said, is “kind of like you’d expect a really smart guy to be,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
Holmes was in the process of withdrawing from the doctorate program, reports the Denver Post. It’s not clear why he was dropping out but the Washington Post hears from a professor who says he got weak scores in exams last semester, and the program’s staff planned to give him additional instruction and maybe put him on academic probation.