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'Dark Knight' Massacre Puts Officials on Heightened Alert

A 24-year-old shooting suspect accused of killing 12 in a movie theater during 'The Dark Knight Rises' in Colorado is from San Diego and graduated from UC Riverside.

Law enforcement is on heightened alert following a massacre that left 12 people dead and dozens wounded after a masked gunman opened fire at a crowded theater showing the movie in Aurora, Colo.

"While the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado appears to be an isolated incident, our vigilance has been raised," said Sheriff's Capt. Mike Parker. "The heightened alert of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department includes increased patrols to create a more visible presence at movie theaters and other places where people congregate." 

"As always, we encourage the public: 'If You See Something, Say Something.' The greatest deterrent to crime is often a phone call to law enforcement by a person who sees something that just doesn't look right," Parker said. 

"Our thoughts and prayers go to the many victims, families, friends, and first responders affected by this senseless crime," Parker said. 

The suspected gunman accused of killing a least a dozen people in a Friday morning massacre at a Colorado movie theater is being called a "happy, nice guy" by a neighbor who knows the suspect's Rancho Penasquitos family.

Details are emerging that show James Holmes to be a young student pursuing an advanced degree in neuroscience who didn't get into trouble at home in San Diego.

Holmes, 24, is a 2006 graduate of Westview High School who holds a bachelor's degree in neuroscience from the University of California, Riverside. He graduated from the school in spring of 2010.

The Huffington Post is reporting Holmes was attending the University of Colorado-Denver in pursuit of a Ph.D in neuroscience, but was in the process of withdrawing from the program. University of Colorado Hospital spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery said she didn't know why he was exiting the program.

A search of San Diego Superior Court shows Holmes has no local record—not even a traffic ticket, said Karen Dalton, a public affairs officer with the court.

A press release from the Poway Unified School District says Dr. John Collins, the district superintendent, was contacted by the San Diego Police Department regarding the alleged shooter.

“On behalf of the Poway Unified School District, Superintendent Collins joins the rest of the nation in offering our deepest condolences to the victims and their families,” the release stated.

The suspected shooter's family, who live in Rancho Penaquitos, released the following statement:

"Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California, and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."

The Aurora police department is leading the investigation, with assistance from agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, said FBI special agent Darrell Foxworth.

The U.S. Attorney’s office in Colorado is coordinating the federal law enforcement response and working closely with the state District Attorney’s office with respect to any federal, state, or local charges that might be applicable, according to Foxworth.

Brown said San Diego police are at the home only to provide with security.

"The police department is just here to preserve the peace and to make sure the privacy of the family is still respected," said Brown. "That's the only reason why the San Diego police department is here."

The shooting has prompted the , according to Iowa City Patch local editor Stephen Schmidt.

The tragedy also scrubbed a, by first lady Michelle Obama, according to Fredricksberg Patch local editor Dan Telvock.

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San Diego police provided security Friday to a Rancho Penasquitos woman whose 24-year-son is accused of killing at least a dozen people and injuring 38 others at a midnight showing of the Batman film, The Dark Knight Rises in a Colorado movie theater.

Arlene Holmes of San Diego told ABC News that her 24-year-old son, James Holmes, is the man accused in this morning's massacre in Aurora, Colo., nine miles outside Denver. Holmes was taken into police custody in the theater's parking lot shortly after the gunfire broke out around 12:40 a.m., authorities said.

Around daybreak, San Diego police officers were spotted in and outside of Arlene Holmes' residence in the Rancho Penasquitos area as media crews started to gather outside with video cameras. Police Chief William Lansdowne said the officers were there to provide security to the Holmes family and to assist Aurora police by gathering information for that agency's investigation.

Shortly before 7:30 a.m., police were spotted escorting a man out of the home and whisking him away in an unmarked police sedan. There was no immediate word on where the man was headed or his possible relation to the alleged shooter, but he was carrying what appeared to be luggage.

Holmes allegedly wore what appeared to be a bullet-proof vest and riot- type mask as he opened fire in the Century Aurora 16 movie theater with three weapons. Authorities said at least 12 people died and 38 were wounded.

The theater is about five miles from Holmes' Aurora third-story apartment, which was being searched by police for explosives and more weapons. The Associated Press is reporting the apartment appears to be booby-trapped and is being evacuated.

Holmes apparently acted alone, authorities said. The motive was unclear.

Stay with Patch for updates on this story.

–City News Service contributed to this report.

Gregg July 20, 2012 at 08:09 PM
What is wrong with are youth today? Is it media,video games,glorified violence,drugs,mental health,bullying,etc..............We live in sad times.

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