Lynne Fenton, James Holmes doctor, reportedly alerted threat team weeks before theater attack
Yesterday, we noted that Dr. Lynne Fenton, the psychiatrist ID'd as treating accused Aurora theater shooter James Holmes, was the target of stories about previous disciplinary action more minor than headlines implied. Now, however, Fenton is getting press more positive for her but potentially injurious to the University of Colorado Denver. The report: She warned a UCD threat team about Holmes in June, but no action was taken.
The info comes courtesy of 7News. According to sources who spoke to the station on the pledge of anonymity, Fenton "was so concerned about his behavior that she notified other members of the University of Colorado Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment, or BETA, team that he could potentially be a danger to others."
Fenton was instrumental in creating the BETA team two years ago. However, the Denver Post notes that she's transitioned from a leader of the group to an adviser.
Why didn't the team meet as a result of Fenton's contacts? The 7News source speculates that the matter may have been dropped because Holmes began the process of withdrawing from the neuroscience program at the school. A University of Colorado spokesperson tells the broadcaster that he lost access to secure campus areas on June 12.
At this point, all records related to CU and Holmes have been sealed, with 18th Judicial District Judge William Sylvester placing the university under a gag order. For that reason, we don't know if there was any mechanism in place for the BETA team to alert law enforcement even if the Holmes-CU divorce was underway. Moreover, it's unclear whether the statements that alarmed Fenton were generalized evidence of mental instability of comments about actions like the ones he's accused of taking early on July 20 at the Aurora Century 16, where twelve moviegoers were killed and dozens more were injured.
Whatever the case, the report suggests that Fenton was worried about Holmes a month and a half before he proved that such intuition was all too accurate.
More from our Colorado Crimes archive: "Aurora theater shooting: Reference to James Holmes being psychiatric patient censored."
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Westword's biggest stories.