Created on Friday, 05 April 2013 Written by DAN ELLIOTT,Associated Press NICHOLAS RICCARDI,Associated Press
CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — A psychiatrist who treated James Holmes told campus police a month before the Colorado theater attack that Holmes had homicidal thoughts and was a danger to the public, according to documents released Thursday.
Dr. Lynne Fenton, a psychiatrist at the University of Colorado, Denver, told police in June that the shooting suspect also threatened and intimidated her. It was more than a month before the July 20 attack at a movie theater that killed 12 and injured 70.
In the days after the attack, campus police said they had never had contact with Holmes, who was a graduate student at the university.
But campus police Officer Lynn Whitten told investigators after the shooting that Fenton had contacted her. Whitten said Fenton was following her legal requirement to report threats to authorities, according to a search warrant affidavit.
"Dr. Fenton advised that through her contact with James Holmes she was reporting, per her requirement, his danger to the public due to homicidal statements he had made," the affidavit said.
Whitten added that Fenton said she began to receive threatening text messages from Holmes after he stopped seeing her for counseling, the documents said.
Whitten did not immediately respond to messages left at her home and office. University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said she could not comment because the school had not reviewed the court records.
The indication that a psychiatrist had called Holmes a danger to the public gave momentum to Democratic state lawmakers' plans to introduce legislation to further restrict mentally ill people from buying guns. State Rep. Beth McCann initially cited the information Thursday as a reason she would introduce a bill as soon as Friday, but quickly backed off and said no date has been set.
The theater massacre already helped inspire a new state ban on large-capacity firearm magazines.
Prosecutors have suggested Holmes was angry at the failure of a once promising academic career, and had stockpiled weapons, ammunition, tear gas grenades and body armor. Chief Deputy District Attorney Karen Pearson said Holmes failed a key oral exam in June, was banned from campus and began to voluntarily withdraw from the school.
Holmes last week offered to plead guilty in the attacks. Prosecutors rejected that offer and announced Monday they would seek the death penalty.
The new details were in previously sealed documents that the new judge overseeing the case ordered released Thursday. Media organizations, including The Associated Press, had argued that a "wealth of information already made public in the proceedings thus far," so there was no basis for the documents to remain sealed.
The document that included the threats to the psychiatrist was filed to obtain the contents of a package Holmes sent to her before the attack. That package included a notebook that the newly released documents describe as like a "journal."