SC psychologist weighs in on CO accused shooter's mindset - FOX Carolina 21

SC psychologist weighs in on CO accused shooter's mindset

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James Holmes is the suspected gunman who opened fire in a crowded movie theater, killing 12. (Source: University of Colorado) James Holmes is the suspected gunman who opened fire in a crowded movie theater, killing 12. (Source: University of Colorado)
GREENVILLE, SC (FOX Carolina) -

The suspected Colorado movie theater gunman, James Holmes, is from San Diego, but lives in Aurora, CO. Holmes enrolled last year in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver but was in the process of withdrawing.

The country is left wondering how a man with a seemingly bright future be motivated to open fire in a very crowded public place.

Reports have shown that Holmes was very meticulous in planning his moment, and Upstate psychologist Roger Rhoades said all this attention is likely all he wanted.

With hundreds of millions of dollars in production and advertising, for many the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises was the movie event of the year.

Rhoades said Holmes picked this day, this movie, for the massive exposure.

"Nobody knew who he was two days ago, but all of a sudden, everybody knows his name. Everybody knows his face. He's on all the newscasts, he's gone from obscure and unknowable, to very knowable," Rhoades said.

He said Holmes likely felt desperate, with an emotional pain he didn't know how to deal with. He said everyone is capable of snapping, and with enough weight, a person can buckle under the pressure.

Rhoades said Holmes planned for the dramatic. He didn't run after the shooting, and told police about his booby trapped apartment, because he wanted his name and face to be the story.

Holmes graduated from the University of California-Riverside, in 2010. The school's chancellor, Timothy White, said "he was an honor student in neuroscience, graduated, he had merit based scholarships while he was here, and then he moved on to Colorado for graduate work."

A bouncer at a local bar Holmes frequented said, "he was laid back, kept to himself, never really talked to anybody."

Rhoades said the word "loner" often comes up in tragic shootings like these. He said the idea of the loner snapping is becoming more common because people need a network, whether it's friends, family, work, school. Rhoades said without that, people have too much time to think, and that over-thinking can be disastrous.

Rhoades said the idea that Holmes painted his hair red, and told police he was Batman's villain, "The Joker," may have been an easier way for the man to pull the trigger. He said Holmes was playing a character, disassociating from his normal self.

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