SAN DIEGO (AP) — The mother of James Holmes had no idea her son was believed to be the gunman who killed a dozen people in a Colorado theater until she was contacted hours after the tragedy at her San Diego home by a reporter, the family's lawyer said Monday.
At a news conference in San Diego, the family's attorney, Lisa Damiani (dah-ME-ah-nee), told reporters that Arlene Holmes received a phone call at 5:45 a.m. Friday from an ABC News reporter who asked if she was the mother of James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colo.
Arlene Holmes said that when she told the reporter that morning "yes, you have the right person" she was referring to the fact that she is the mother of James Holmes, and not saying that she expected this to happen and knew that police had arrested the right person.
"I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time," Arlene Holmes said in the statement.
Authorities say Holmes opened fire on a crowded movie theater Friday at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie. Twelve people were killed and 58 were injured. James Holmes, 24, made his first court appearance Monday in a Denver suburb where he's being held without bond.
Damiani declined to say whether the suspect's parents were surprised their son was being accused of a crime or whether he had shown any signs of instability before July 20. Damiani said they would not publicly discuss details about their son.
When asked if they stood by Holmes, Damiani said, "Yes they do. He's their son."
Holmes, who has been assigned a public defender, is expected to be formally charged next Monday. He is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder.
"Everyone's concerned" about the possibility of the death penalty, Damiani said.
"They're doing as well as they can under the circumstances," said Damiani of the family, adding that they have been getting "amazing" support from their church.
The parents want to reiterate what they said shortly after the shooting, that their hearts go out to the victims and their families, Damiani said.