Alleged gunman was ‘bookworm’ but also temperamental, locals say

James Holmes

Aurora resident Jackie Mitchell turned on the television this morning and saw a familiar face staring back at him.

It was a mugshot of a man Mitchell had beers with at the Zephyr Lounge on East Colfax Avenue on Tuesday night. James Holmes, who allegedly gunned down dozens of people in an Aurora movie theater and was a regular at the Zephyr, seemed like just an average guy, Mitchell said.

He had glasses, a backwards cap, and he was carrying a backpack Tuesday, he said.

“Bookworm, smart guy, really intelligent looking guy,” said Mitchell, 45. “The look on the picture that was on TV was the same look you got when you sat across from him. There wasn’t no evil look. I didn’t see it coming. Not that.”

Zephyr owner and manager Myron Melnick said employees at the bar said they’ve never seen Holmes in the bar, including this week.

“It’s just not true,” Melnick said. “Tuesday night was very slow. We definitely would have recognized this person. But I don’t think he’s ever been in here.”

Mitchell, who lives just a few blocks away from Holmes’ house near the intersection of Peoria Street and 17th Avenue, talked about their brief encounter at the local bar. In the background, dozens of firefighters and heavily armed policemen searched Holmes’ house for explosive devices.

Mitchell and Holmes shared a few beers over the course of an hour on the patio of the bar on Tuesday evening. The topic of conversation was Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning. There was no talk about the Aurora movie screening of the “Dark Knight Rises,” where he allegedly shot more than 70 people two days later.

“It’s crazy,” Mitchell said. “Look at it from my side. How can you go from drinking a beer with a guy and having a conversation about football on Tuesday night and then Thursday night (he) shoots the whole thing up? That’s crazy.”

Mitchell didn’t feel threatened in any way, but his girlfriend, Rachell Reed, saw a different side of the gunman when she saw him at the bar two weeks ago.

Reed recalled putting a Lil’ Wayne song on the jukebox at the bar, and being chastised for it by Holmes.

“He was talking trash because he liked rock music and country and he made a slightly racial comment about people listening to rap music,” she said.

Her friend said they should leave before the situation escalated, and they did so. She was shocked when she awoke this morning to a photograph of him on the news.

“I think it’s terrible,” she said. “I mean there was kids there, you know? It takes a certain type of person to gun down people. It’s one thing to set up a bomb, but you have to be a certain type of person to shoot somebody, especially kids.”

  • Justavoid

    “He was talking trash because he liked rock music and country and he made a slightly racial comment about people listening to rap music,” she said. — This is really a bad quote, as I have been around those who make slightly racial comments about people wo like rock & country, or is it only racial when it is in the one direction? What this quote here does is profile and narrow the scope of the violence. So, instead of the tragedy that this shooting is, you are twisting it into a whole different animal.

    • Al in SoCal

       She was asked what they discussed, should she not bring up comments because you disapprove?  Perhaps she can submit her conversation with this complete NUT case and you can redact what portions you don’t agree with.

    • She was describing the encounter as she remembered it happening. Since when does she have to check with you for political correctness or historical revision?

    • Lesroys

      My take on this is, he made the woman feel uncomfortable.  Let’s face it, if you walked into a bar and sat down with a strange couple, would you attack her musical tastes?  I got from this that  Holmes may have some beef against women, because his aggressive stance was only taken at something SHE did – his mother noticed something odd about him, too, which indicates to me that he displayed certain behaviors towards women which he didn’t against men, or that the men didn’t pick up on it.

      The classic profile of the lone psychopathic male killer includes a hatred of women.

    • margie

      so can”t he be an intelligent,country-music loving,racist,murderer? I don’t care for opera music but don’t say anything racial about italians or whomever… oh and by the way I like country music. You are basically defending a MURDERER who thought out, planned and executed men ,women and children randomly

      • KingBrian

        How do you figure that? Wow…I don’t read ANY defense of a murderer,

    • Caldwellmai

      and yes he is an ANIMAL a savage one

    • In this nation, a large number of people would probably see being a racist as being worse than a murderer.  Racism is the one sin that Americans won’t forgive (unless the racist is a leftist-type such as Robert Byrd, or an anti-Semite.)

  • J

    setting up a bomb and shooting people are equally bad considering that one has to be a REAL nut job to do it!

    • Al in SoCal

       The point I believe was that it takes a special nut case to shoot at point blank range a 3 month old baby.

      • mother of 2

        Common curtousey states you probably shouldn’t bring a baby into the theater in the first place. Not saying what the guy did was right but what kind of parent brings their BABY into a theater where people are trying to enjoy a movie? I teared up when I heard about the babies but then I was thinking “I don’t go to the theaters with my babies because they can’t sit still and well if they start crying people in the theater won’t be very happy” So why did the parents bring their babies into a violent movie in the first place?

        • Al in SoCal

           I agree with you – though that was not the point of the original post.

          • Guest

            the fact that a baby was present in the theater makes NO DIFFERENCE to the tragedy of what actually happened. in light of the the horrendous shooting, injuries, deaths and straight up INSANITY and fear that occurred, judging young parents for bringing their children to a midnight showing is not only petty, but also taking away the POINT to the article. i agree that babies and young children should not be there, but that doesn’t matter.

          • grandmaforguns

            what does it matter who was where and who liked or disliked it, as Americans we have the right to choose what and where our children play or spend family time and we could be anywhere at any time and become a part of this craziness without being responsible for what happens to us, this should be a wakeup for all responsible citizens to become concealed weapon carriers when they have the ability to use the weapon to protect anyone anywhere at any time this may stop mass murderers from succeeding at multiple murders allowing many to walk away from these situations safe. I bet any of the family members of those who passed would agree that if someone had had a weapon maybe their family member would be alive and thank them for carrying that weapon into a public place. Often this is stopped by an off duty police officer and they are deemed hero’s I’m  voting for citizen hero’s and hope there is one available if i’m ever in a spot like this

          • Guest

            In this case, I’m sure anyone that tried to shoot at the fully armored shooter would have been taken down just as quickly as everyone else.

          • Another Guest

             one person with a gun could have made a difference! As long as people choose not to own and carry they will continue to be targets for some one who does. Alot of people’s desire to own and carry a hand gun has gone away because we have been made to feel that it’s bad.

          • Me

            That’s ridiculous. Contemplate the many factors and you you’ll spot the foolishness in the assertion that an armed patron could’ve made a difference. Factors for example: a smoke-filled and unlit room severely reducing visibilityand GREATLY reducing odds of hitting your target, a mass of bodies moving in an unpredictable and incoherent fashion, greatly INCREASING odds of patrons getting injured or killed by your shots and last but not least escalating the situation by shooting at the shooter. I could go on but those are the three most obvious reasons why an armed patron would spell disaster.

        • B2

           …Not to mention the baby was brought to a midnight screening? Why? Exactly how old are the parents? Who brings babies to midnight screenings? Since I have not seen anyone else mention this, maybe this is a common practice? Very tragic.

          • Maybe parents of a child who hasn’t yet slept through the night?  Who can’t afford babysitters at their outlandish rates these days?  Stop with this.  This is about Holmes and HIS mindset

          • Mother of 2

            Exactly. I haven’t been to a theater since before I had kids now that I have kids I refuse to go unless I have a sitter I guess some mothers don’t have common sense

        • Jim46113

          My girlfriend and I were discussing that tonight. If I’m a theater owner or manager, I’m turning those people away on exactly that principle. If you can afford to pay first run movie prices these days, you should be able to afford a sitter for a few hours.

  • Ladybath52

    This is such a tragedy…What would make someone do something like this…some would say…because he wanted to…but then what would make anyone want to do something as tragic as this?  

  • I know there are plenty of folks–black, white, and in-between who strongly prefer other genres of music over rap (myself included), but don’t pick up firearms to murder innocent people in protest. However, I suppose this article was included to give the public a better picture of who the shooter is and his disturbed mindset. Could this supposed dislike for rap and his disparaging racial remarks about people who listen to it bring some tiny insight into a larger issue he may have against our increasingly racially diverse society? Perhaps, but it’s much too early to tell. It seems to me that he was pretty anti-social anyway, so why would he care? Whatever his twisted motive, my prayers go out to the victims and their grieving families. God help America!

  • Pingback: Aurora, Colorado: Tragedy, Wingnuttery, and a possible racial angle? | Black Skeptics()

  • JMcMahon

    He was in a bar, by himself, with no friends, and particularly, no girlfriends, at least twice in two weeks? Think about that and forget the racial stuff.

    • Knowyourhistory

      Why forget about the “racial stuff”? It indicates they think they are superior, and that is a HUGE red flag.

      • what does race have to do with the killings? Did he only kill people of one color, or do you just want him to be a racist so you can better justify your feelings of hate for him? Because the articles I read and I have read at least 12 of them so far, all say  he shot randomly he did not lie them up and chose them by race, so race has nothing at all to do with it. Here we go again, everyone wants to make this about something it is not, how do you know the guy and his girlfriend are not lying and never even meet Holmes like the Owner of the bar claims? Just out to get attention, or there names in the news, it would not be the first time it has happened, and sadly it will not be the last time, a least think it over before jumping to the Race thing!

    • Guest

      Hey JMcMahon F you! Don’t forget that!

  • Pingback: Crazy Tragic Day: Solemn Open Thread « Sky Dancing()

  • Pingback: James Holmes, Aurora Shooting Suspect, Purchased 6,000 Rounds Of Ammunition Online | News Fresh Daily()

  • Pingback: Aurora Shooting Suspect Purchased 6,000 Rounds Of Ammunition Online | WestPenn Journal()

  • Pro-Life

    Off topic here, but it’s amazing how many people would get so upset at a person shooting at a baby iand not be just as upset about pro-choice!! Killing babies in the womb is just as bad as killing babies outside the womb, actually it is worse because it is the crazy mothers killing their own babies and so many say “It’s ok, that’s her choice.” Just like it was Holmes “choice” to

    • Mother of 2

      That really has nothing to with what happened, how is it your place to judge people? I would much rather hear a drug addict aborted a child than to continuously using drugs through the pregnancy and then doing somethimg outrageous on drugs after the pregnancy and harming/Killing the baby or even having to go into foster homes. We should have the spay/Neuter rule for certain people. I have never had an abortion but I’m also capable of taking care of kids. So why should those who aren’t capable of it have kids for the state to have raise?

      • Jesuslives1

        I see you are one of the people that think it is ok to kill a baby for the mother’s selfishness. If a drug addict is that bad off on on drugs, she will probably lose the baby anyway and if not, there is a purpose for that child’s life FYI. It’s not the drug addicts just aborting babies, tons of abortions are decided by very capable women.

      • John

        So you justify that it’s ok to kill babies in the womb and not out. Guess what?! It is still killing babies. You are a mother, you should know better!!

      • Sweetie
      • Photolady

        Wow. U just called someone speaks up for babies judgmental, but u just JUDGED an entire class of people, or as u said it, “certain” people. I know two women who’s testimonies include being drug addicts while falling prego, having the baby changed their life. U would never guess. Aborting their children would prob push them into drugs more

  • Me

    On gawd, here we go with charges of racism. That American ship has sailed. Get over yourself, Rachael Reed.

    • Ms Jenkins

      I don’t think it is about race or someone being about theirselves. Its about the encounter and conversation. It’s funny how people zone in on one aspect when you are unclear on the objective of the speaker. Additionally, no one knows the specific question asked and what was taken from that answer. Let’s focus on the personality that is trying to be highlighted and the victims v “I don’t like what that person said”.

  • Sady

    We don’t even know if these conversations really took place. The bar employees say it was a slow night, and they would have remembered if Holmes was there.

    It’s not unusual for people to pretend they know these news “celebrities” much better than they actually did. Very sad, but true.

  • So everyone thinks letting the assault weapon ban run out under Bush was a good thing? It was   enacted after Columbine to prevent this exact type of situation? You can thank the NRA and the violence prone culture of our country for this latest  mass murder. it now controls all level of our government including the US Supreme Court. Even left wing Obama doesn’t dare say one word about gun control out of fear of the NRA and its campaign budget. I guess the gun huggers will say that if someone like George Zimmerman were in the audience  no one would have been killed. The preamble of the second amendment  means nothing  and the security of citizens  is dictated by the whims of the NRA. Pathetic

  • Omniacaelum

    What about comments made by hip hop and rap people about those who prefer country or rock? Is that racist? Or is racism only committed by white people? Get over the guilt trip…we are all people…one likes rap and defends it by “talking trash” about those that like country and vice versa…just like those that defend their favourite football team…we do not have to search for the proverbial needle…good grief!

  • Gargantua

    hang on… this thread went off about the a largely irrelevant third person claim that race may have been in the mind of people at a bar days earlier..  and completely ignored Rachell Reed’s statement that “It’s one thing to set up a bomb, but you have to be a certain type of person to shoot somebody, …. ”  

    oh?  really?… wtf is in the tequila out there?


    the talk on the underground web is that he was payed to do this act.
    this will be about the right to bear arms ,they will twist this to get that right taken away from us ….

  • cresfresh

    I wish he wasn’t such a cutie. If I saw him on campus, I would have had such a crush on him. 🙁