As if there wasn’t anything negative to add to the story of the horrible massacre committed during an opening weekend midnight matinee of the new Batman movie in Aurora, Colo., this past weekend, you likely will be sickened to learn that the suspect, James Holmes, had previously been awarded a $26,000 taxpayer-supported grant to go to school.
The grant, which was one of six awarded to the brightest of students by the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md., is considered extremely prestigious. NIH is part of the Department of Health and Human Resources.
The agency awarded the stipend to Holmes and also paid his tuition to the highly competitive neuroscience program at the University of Colorado Denver. Five other students at the school were also given the stipend.
It wasn’t clear if any of the funds were used by the suspected gunman to purchase the vast array of weapons, 6,000 rounds of ammunition and other gear – such as his bulletproof vest, shin, groin and neck protectors, as well as a gas mask and other items – he used in the attack and to booby trap his apartment.
No cooperation with police
Holmes, who dyed his hair bright reddish-orange and called himself “Joker” – a character in the Batman series – has reportedly refused to cooperate with police. He is likely to be formally charged next week.
He is currently being held on suspicion of many counts of first-degree murder, but will probably also face numerous accounts of aggravated assault and weapons violations. During the shooting spree, 12 people were killed and another 58 wounded, many seriously.
Weeks before the shootings, Holmes abruptly left a 35-student Ph.D program in neuroscience for reasons that still aren’t clear.
He reportedly took an intense oral exam that marked the end of his first year but so far, university officials won’t say whether or not he passed, due to privacy concerns.
At a news conference following the shootings, university officials would not go into much detail regarding Holmes.