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University of Colorado to review how it handled shooting suspect

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 10:53 PM EDT, Fri August 3, 2012
The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. <a href='http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/21/us/gallery/colorado-mourning-victims/index.html' target='_blank'>More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre</a> The public gets its first glimpse of James Holmes, 24, the suspect in the Colorado theater shooting during his initial court appearance Monday, July 23. With his hair dyed reddish-orange, Holmes, here with public defender Tamara Brady, showed little emotion. He is accused of opening fire in a movie theater Friday, July 20, in Aurora, Colorado, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others. More photos: Mourning the victims of the Colorado theater massacre
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The university hires a former U.S. attorney to conduct the investigation
  • Shooting suspect James Holmes was a student at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus
  • He was a patient of a CU psychiatrist before the July 20 attack

(CNN) -- The University of Colorado has hired a former U.S. attorney to conduct an independent review into how the school handled the man accused of opening fire inside a crowded movie theater.

Robert Miller, a former U.S. attorney for Colorado, began the review last week.

"The University is doing everything it can to fully cooperate with the criminal investigation. Additionally, we are doing everything we can to understand how the university's systems and processes functioned in this situation. Bob Miller comes to us with a stellar reputation for diligence and integrity. We have given him broad latitude to conduct his review," University of Colorado President Bruce D. Benson said in a statement Friday.

Shooting suspect James Holmes, 24, was a doctoral student at the university's Anschutz Medical Campus until June, when he withdrew from the program.

He is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 during a screening of the new Batman film in Aurora, Colorado. He was charged Monday with murder and attempted murder; he also faces two weapons charges.

It's not clear when Miller is expected to complete his review. Nor is it clear how much of his report will be released to the public. The university said it is under a court order that bars it from discussing matters connected to the criminal investigation, and must also follow laws related to the release of some types of information.

Cynthia Davis, center, visits the roadside memorial set up for victims of the Colorado shooting massacre across the street from the Century 16 movie theater on Monday, July 30, in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve people were killed in the theater early July 20 during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." Suspect James Holmes was taken into custody shortly after the attack. More photos: Colorado movie theater shooting Cynthia Davis, center, visits the roadside memorial set up for victims of the Colorado shooting massacre across the street from the Century 16 movie theater on Monday, July 30, in Aurora, Colorado. Twelve people were killed in the theater early July 20 during a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises." Suspect James Holmes was taken into custody shortly after the attack. More photos: Colorado movie theater shooting
Colorado massacre: Mourning the victims
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Colorado massacre: Mourning the victims Colorado massacre: Mourning the victims
Were red flags on Holmes ignored?
Warning was sent about Aurora suspect
Shooting victim's mother speaks

A court document filed last week revealed that Holmes was a patient of CU psychiatrist Lynne Fenton before the July 20 killings.

She was so concerned about his behavior that she mentioned it to her colleagues, saying he could potentially be a danger to others, CNN affiliate KMGH reported Wednesday, citing sources with knowledge of the investigation.

Fenton's concerns surfaced in early June, nearly six weeks before the attack, sources told the Denver station.

They told KMGH that Fenton contacted several members of a "behavioral evaluation and threat assessment" team to say Holmes could potentially be a danger to others, the station reported.

The "BETA" team consists of "key" staff members from various university departments who have specific expertise in dealing with assessing potential threats on campus, the school says on its website.

Sources told KMGH that university officials did not contact Aurora police with Fenton's concerns before the attack.

"Fenton made initial phone calls about engaging the BETA team" in "the first 10 days" of June but it "never came together" because in the period Fenton was having conversations with team members, Holmes began the process of dropping out of school, a source told KMGH.

Therapists walk fine line in reporting violent plans

Sources told the station that when Holmes withdrew, the BETA team "had no control over him."

KMGH said sources did not know what Holmes told Fenton that sparked her concern.

It's not clear if Fenton continued treating Homes after he dropped out of school, whether she referred him to another medical professional, or had any further contact with him, KMGH reported, citing sources familiar with the investigation.

Michael Carrigan, chairman of the CU board of regents, told KMGH he did not know if Holmes had ever been discussed by the BETA team.

Authorities have remained silent about a possible motive in the case.

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