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Holmes Family Stands Behind Son, Disputes Media Reports

An attorney for the family of suspected Colorado Massacre gunman James Holmes says they stand behind their son.

Updated 2:24 p.m. Monday

The mother of the suspected Colorado Massacre gunman was referring to herself—not her son—when she told a reporter he had the "right person" when asked about the shooting last week, the Holmes family attorney said Monday, adding that the parents stand behind their son.

Media reports that Arlene Holmes, the Rancho Peñasquitos mother of suspect James Holmes, was implying she wasn't surprised that her son was connected to the violence are incorrect, family attorney Lisa Damiani said at a press conference in downtown San Diego.

Damiani read a statement from Arlene Holmes describing what happened after a reporter called her at around 5:45 a.m. on Friday, just hours after the Aurora, CO movie theater shooting that killed 12 and injured 58.

"I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time. He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered, 'Yes, you have the right person.' I was referring to myself.

I asked him to tell me why he was calling. He told me, 'About a shooting in Aurora.' He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know that the person he was talking about was my son and I would need to find out."

Damiani declined to describe the family's reaction to the shooting, and said they will not comment at this time about James Holmes or their relationship with him. The attorney, however, did say, "Yes, they do," when asked by a reporter whether the family stood behind him. 

The family's "hearts go out to the victims" as well, Damiani said.

Since news broke of the possible Holmes family connection to the shooting Friday, the spotlight has burned bright on the family, including dozens of media camped out at the Holmes' Rancho Peñasquitos residence all day Friday. Damiani said because of her experience with other high profile situations, she won't say where the family is now.

"I have concerns for their safety," Damiani said without citing any specific threats. Robert Holmes, the suspect's father, arrived in Colorado on Friday, but Damiani would not say whether he is still there.

Check back with Patch for updates.

Fanny Parker July 23, 2012 at 10:50 PM
TERRIBLE for anyone to say such a thing! They have enough grief on their hearts without something like this being stated as fact! I really am trying to think how I would feel if one of my wonderful sons performed such a terrible act. Would I abandon that son? NO I would love him forever but that certainly does not mean I condone his actions! I would be concerned what brought this state of mind on, was there a medical reason? I am praying that his family have the strength to get through this. Blaming them is insanity in itself, and anyone who does so has questionable sanity!
Cynthia July 23, 2012 at 11:11 PM
Well said everyone! James Homes family is too IN mourning! Not taking any light what so ever off the poor victims that perished or have been scarred for life-but several people died that day...including this families son...maybe not physically-but mentally and emotionally their son will forever be "gone" and not the same boy they raised..and therefore his parents have a son that is dead to them.. they may visit "him" but HE isn't that boy anymore..He is a monster!
Rich Smith July 24, 2012 at 01:00 AM
The family should be left alone, at least by the public and reporters. There is nothing to gain by reporters questioning them other than cheap sensationalism. We, the public, do not need to know the intimate facts of the family. Unless this is an extremely exceptional family, the mother is a victim of this too.
Carol DeAngelis July 24, 2012 at 03:36 AM
I totally agree with you. My sympathy goes out to the parents, coming to the realization that their son has done such a horrific thing. This is not the matter of how he was rased. This is a situation of the workings of an individual person. What a waste of a evidentily a super intelligent mind. He could have given so much to society instead of the terrible distruction he created. Somehow from the beginning he was hot wired wrong and his intelligence allowed him to create the disaster he did. I am so sorry for all of the families of the deceased and the people involved that had to witness such a thing. This is a tragedy for all involved. There is nothing good to say for anyone involved. God Bless and help all involved to heal.
Encinitas resident July 24, 2012 at 04:06 AM
I agree totally. I media needs to get out of the Holmes front yard, and leave them alone. The last thing they need is to be misquoted for cheap sensationalism by some news station. There are many victims, but let us not forget. The Holmes had a very bright son with a bright future that for some unknown reason lost it. That is not their fault.
Doug Curlee July 24, 2012 at 04:39 AM
i probably know more about the media behavior in cases like this than any of you..having had to stand out there with the electronic mob so many times.. you'll be surprised, i think, to know that i agree with all of you.. some of us.. far too few..tried top fight against that attitude for years.. decades..butg there's a psychology among senior news officials..usuallyy guided by overpaid consultants, that we must somehow be the first to "get" the family members..for no other reason than to trumpet the fact that we WERE the first to "get" them.. what usually ensues is the family members running for their lives from the pursuing reporters and photogs..which teaches n o one anythbing... answers np questions..and leaving those of us out in thefield to stand there and imply that the distraught family members are somehow evading ther "responsibility" to talk with us.. they have no such responsibility..they tell us to go to hell and leave them alone.. maybe we should do both.. doug
Things I Learned July 24, 2012 at 04:54 AM
You always showed a real decency in your reporting Doug and I'm not surprised to hear you pushed back against this stuff. It's disgusting and has no news value even though I guess the consultants just want to keep eyeballs on the screen between commercials. I avoid the worst offenders and always come away thinking less of the "reporter" ghouls who attack these families.
Ferdinand July 24, 2012 at 08:26 AM
All common decency flys out the window when common decency is violated. It may be too bad for Holmes' family but had James kept his damned guns to himself, lives would have been spared and his family would have not had to deal with his extreme B.S. I'm sorry, but I'm not terribly sorry for James Holme's family, but they can't be held entirely responsible for his stupid and insane actions either.
Dorothy Scherer July 24, 2012 at 11:44 AM
Most reporters are nothing more than gossipers and by the time the story reaches the public, it is so embellished with inaccuracies that we don't know what is truth and what is not. The real story will come out at the trial.
Doug Curlee July 24, 2012 at 02:49 PM
dorothy..that's not necessarily true.. history is replete with examples of people being convicted.. or acquitted.. because jurors were NOT given all the information available about the case they were trying.. it happens every day somewhere..i can't count the times i've seen jurors say, "my vote sure would have been the other way if i'd known about that fact or that story when i was deliberating.."..or words to that effect.. doug
erma July 24, 2012 at 03:38 PM
None of us know what happened. If the reporters were really interested in getting the facts; maybe they could stop acting like a bunch of wolves circling the prey and have some respect for other people. To many people want to (ass u me) to many things, instead of waiting till the air clears, so they can see. If it turns out that just maybe this young man has had a mental break: of which there would have been signs of before now, everyone who knew him can share some of the blame for his actions. I personally have found it the hardest thing in the world to get help for a loved one who is mentally ill. If it turns out this is the case here, the mental health laws in this country need to be seriously overhauled so family can help loved ones without going thorough so much BS. Everyone has rights, but the mentally ill need help, not laws preventing family and friends from helping them. Erma
Sarah Riccitelli July 24, 2012 at 04:24 PM
This is so tragic! I hope the family can make it through this.
jon seale July 24, 2012 at 05:23 PM
My thoughts/feelings are the same as yours. JS
Ann July 24, 2012 at 05:35 PM
It was ABC news. That network has turned into a tabloid. They skew things and even start trouble. Hard to believe Disney owns it. I'm writing them a letter.
Batman July 24, 2012 at 05:48 PM
In a matter of speaking Mr. Holmes is not responsible for this. He is a robot assassin just like Lee Harvey Oswald, Sirhan Sirhan and John Hinkley. Someone at his university is responsible for placing the entire operation in his mind. If Mr. Holmes dies the identity of the actual culprit or culprits will never be known. If he lives the information will eventually come out of him, and I'm sure it will incriminate some people in mighty high places.
NR July 24, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Batman, you been watching too many shows. Come back to earth, this was all Mr. Holmes doing and he deserves what ever is coming his way from the court. No matter how his mind came up with this plane, or as you say "Some one else had him do this" He is still held responsible for his actions as no one was holding a gun to his head when he pulled the triger on all these people. God will judge and only God!
NR July 24, 2012 at 07:18 PM
Batman, you been watching too many shows. Come back to earth, this was all Mr. Holmes doing and he deserves what ever is coming his way from the court. No matter how his mind came up with this plane, or as you say "Some one else had him do this" He is still held responsible for his actions as no one was holding a gun to his head when he pulled the triger on all these people. God will judge and only God!
Sarah Riccitelli July 24, 2012 at 08:08 PM
I agree. Holmes will be judged but by we, the people first and probably not by God. Although I guess that it's possible.
Babs July 24, 2012 at 09:28 PM
I've been disgusted, as many of you write here, by the local and national "news" reporters camped in front of the family home saying one unsubstantiated thing or another as they speculate under the guise of responsible reporting. What I've done is written to each news station expressing my displeasure at this shameful behavior. If more of us did so, maybe they would leave these people alone and go dig a ditch somewhere that is more useful.
Doug Curlee July 24, 2012 at 10:10 PM
babs..not all true.. very often we can be very useful, bringing light to problems ignored by the higher-ups, or catching them in lies.. i've done that many times.. it's in areas like this one, where we DON'T shine, that create the bad perceptions..and as i said..many of those bad perceptions are entirely justified.. doug
KarenNJ July 24, 2012 at 11:16 PM
I am so sad for all the victims and even for James Holmes and his family. I can't wrap my mind around whatever may have caused Mr. Holmes to get to this point. His family must be devasted and will never recover, nor will any of the victims and their families. So many innocent people destroyed and for what? I do not place blame anywhere or on anyone. Mr. Holmes state of mind is simply tragic. Very psychotic and he clearly just snapped. I know it sounds like I'm defending him, but I'm not. He needs to be put away for ever and then another 100 years... I just can't help but to think that he too was robbed of life. I hope the authorities/professionals can figure out exactly what made him the way that he is so hopefully others in a similar state can be helped. My love and prayers to all involved.
Babs July 25, 2012 at 01:40 AM
Thank you for your comment. It is however unfortunate that when not shining seems to be prevalent, it spawns more of that sort of barren reporting. Shoving a microphone in the face of a passerby and asking, "What do you think about this?" while standing in front of the house does NOT constitute "news." It's at best unqualified opinion pandering as is unsubstantiated speculation. My comment remains extant: to be precise - it is useless to bay at the wind on blogs such as this when it is far better to write to "news stations" informing them that you do NOT appreciate their "chasing ambulance" type reporting or filling space with indecorous thoughts. We can change the way news stations report by letting them know what is acceptable and what is indelicate and or indecent.
Doug Curlee July 25, 2012 at 03:03 AM
go ahead and write..you should.. just be aware that your letter will be kept in the station's FCC file for a certain period of time, as required by law..it will then be placed in a file cabinet or a box somewhere.. never to be seen again by human eyes.. the message will have been forgotten..if it was ever read by news executives in the first place.. doug
silkbowler67@gmail.com July 25, 2012 at 05:58 AM
COME ON PEOPLE THIS IS SUCH A TRAGEDY EVERY-ONE NEEDS TO PRAY FOR THIS FAMILY TOO WE DO NOT HAVE CONTROL OF WHAT OTHER PEOPLE DO THIS IS ONE OF THE SADDEST DAY FOR HIS PARENTS WONDERING WERE WE WENT WRONG JUST THINK ABOUT IT THIS IS DEFINATLELY NOT YOUR DREAM CHILD . WE ONLY CAN DO WHAT WE CAN ONCE THEY GET OUT ON THERE OWN THEN THEY MAKE THERE OWN CHOICES ! NO ONE WANT THERE CHILD TO TURN OUT LIKE THIS I DO NOT BLAME HIS PARENTS THEY WANTED THE BEST FOR THERE SON BUT SOMETHING WENT REAL WRONG HE MADE A CHOICE AND WELL THOUGHT OUT PLAN TO HURT AS MANY PEOPLE AS HE COULD BUT THE PARENTS DID EVERYTHING THEY COULD TO RAISE THIS BOY WRIGHT PLEASE LETS JUST PRAY FOR THE VICTIMSE AND THE LIVES LOST AND THE FAMILIES WHO WILL NEVER BE THE SAME AGAIN BUT WE NEED TO PRAY FOR HIS PARENTS ITS NOT THERE FAULT THEY DID NOT PICK UP THE GUNS I AM SURE IF THEY COULD OF THEY WOULD OF STOPPED IT LOOK AT THE HUMILITY HE CAUSED HIS POOR PARENTS HOW WOULD YOU FEEL IF YOU WERE IN THERE SHOES NOT VERY GOOD! IT IS A SAD DAY FOR EVERYONE THIS WAS A TRAGEDY PLEASE LORD BE WITH EVERYONE IN VOLVED PLEASE GOD DO YOUR HEALING WE PRAY FOR SPEEDY RECOVERIES .LOVE YOUR DAUGHTER JEWELS.
virgo diva July 25, 2012 at 09:39 AM
I am in absolute minority here, but I will NOT pray for his parents. The personality is formed roughly by age 5. There is not ONE study that demonstrated that a human being grows up being uninfluenced by his upbringing. I find their comment of "standing by our son" to be very arrogant and offensive, unless they KNOW that he is insane. However, everything we know about the months of preparation of the massacre/execution of it, of booby trapping own place (but taking extremely careful measures protecting himself), speaks volumes about a calm and calculating mind (not "brilliant", though). Not ONE of you had mentioned here that sadly missed "thing of the past", i.e., a personal responsibility for own actions. Why is it?
Doug Curlee July 25, 2012 at 03:09 PM
we're all arguing from a position of sheer ignorance.. NONE of us know what motivated holmes to do what he allegedly did..and we won't know at least until the trial..and may not know after that.. on the one hand, you castigate my former brethren in television for giving opinions wiothout foundation.. and that's a valid criticism.. but you then turn around and do the exact same thing you're angry about the media doing..and i still don't think there's a Ph.D in psychology among us, is tjere? doug
thwack July 26, 2012 at 05:52 PM
12 people were killed, and this one's bitching about being woken up at 5 am or being quoted out of context.
Ann July 27, 2012 at 08:57 PM
You are nuts or extremely ignorant. You must not have children.
Batman July 27, 2012 at 09:17 PM
I agree, my theory is far-fetched. But there is an obvious motive for someone doing what I suspect - gun control, which equals political control. Gun control has nothing to do with public safety and everything to do with increasing the power and influence of government bureaucrats and politicians. And some of these people will do anything, including mass murder, to aquire this power.
Babs July 31, 2012 at 03:55 PM
I am uncertain about which "news station" you worked, but I can tell you that my letter was read and I got a prompt response. The letter and the response HAVE been seen by human eyes and I can write here that when enough people take things seriously that a valid and worthwhile outcome happens. To poo-poo the idea and denigrate the idea of writing to TV stations and put their feet to the fire is most likely the reason you are NOT anywhere near a valid opinion writer here. I do thank you for at least suggesting that one "should" write. At the same time I'm encouraged that in doing so it is possible to effect and make a change. Or at a minimum go on record as being a RESPONSIBLE citizen.

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