Aurora Theater Shooting

James Holmes: Five questionable reports about weird behavior

Even before his bizarre first court appearance, reports have circulated about alleged weird behavior by suspected Aurora theater shooter James Holmes. One of the most vivid has already been debunked, not that it's stopped the story from zipping around the web. Hard to believe all of them (or perhaps any of them) are true, but as authorities continue to tighten access to the case, expect them to mutate and multiply. Here are five of the strangest. Amnesia According to the New York Daily News, citing a jailhouse source, Holmes "claims he doesn't know why he's in jail. He asked, 'Why am I here?'"

In addition, the source goes on, "He's claiming his belly hurts him. He complained once that he didn't like the food.... The guy killed twelve people, and he's upset that he's not getting a four-star meal?"

Spoiler alert Also from the New York Daily News, which again references a jailhouse source, Holmes asked on Tuesday, "Did you see the movie?" -- a presumed reference to The Dark Knight Rises, the film playing at the midnight screening at which the massacre took place. "How does it end?"

Holmes is said to have repeated the question to a different employee when the first didn't respond. The Daily News quotes one staffer as saying he "was trying to look like he was sincerely curious. Like he had no idea why there was anything wrong with what he was saying. It was sick.... I think he's trying real hard to act crazy."

Puppet show The Telegraph reports that after being taken into custody, Holmes "allegedly behaved bizarrely, using police evidence bags as hand puppets while his eyebrows twitched. The bags had been placed over his hands by detectives to preserve gunshot residue." Page down to read more reports about weird behavior. Employment opportunity Usually, TMZ reports items as if there's no question of their legitimacy -- but the site uses a number of hedging words in reporting about Holmes and prostitutes. The headline notes a "possible" connection, as evidenced by a message board featuring his "supposed" screen name and posts detailing multiple sexual encounters with hookers.

The site contacted three women Holmes "supposedly" reviewed. The first couldn't remember him, the second said he looked familiar but couldn't confirm he was a client, and the third was "POSITIVE" she'd been with him not once but twice. The latter woman, identified as Tiffany, claimed, "He felt bad that I wasn't getting more customers while in Colorado, so he called a few days later and we met up again."

Spit Take ABC, citing Denver's 7News, reported that Holmes had been spitting so much at jail personnel that they were forced to use a spit guard when moving him from one part of the facility to another.

The piece making this assertion remains online, with spitting in the headline -- but at the bottom of the report is this editor's note: "On Tuesday night, ABC News local affiliate station KMGH reported that sources they contacted denied that James Holmes had spit at guards or was made to wear a facemask."

Even after that, however, the likes of were still sharing the story as if it hadn't already been contradicted.

More from our News archive: "Aurora theater shooting: Judge makes CU records off-limits days before doc release."

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Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts