UCH confirms call around time of theater shooting


By Brandon Johansson, Staff Writer

AURORA | At 12:31 a.m. on July 20 — minutes before a gunman opened fire on an Aurora movie theater — someone called the University of Colorado Hospital’s main switchboard, but the caller said nothing and hung up after seven seconds.

Lawyers for James Holmes, who is accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 inside the theater that night, said in court Thursday that Holmes may have tried to make that call to his psychiatrist at the hospital nine minutes before the shooting.

After the comments, school officials went back through the school’s call log and saw that there was one call at 12:31 a.m. that night, said Brad Fixler, director of marketing for the hospital.

Fixler said the caller said nothing and hung up after seven seconds.

“There was no voice on the other end,” he said.

The hospital’s switchboard gets about 2,800 calls a day, Fixler said, and sometimes calls come in the middle of the night.

“It’s not uncommon. It’s a major academic medical center that’s 24/7,” he said.

The possibility that Holmes called the hospital minutes before the shooting came to light during testimony Thursday from Holmes’ former psychiatrist at the hospital, Lynne Fenton.

Holmes’ lawyer, Tamra Brady,  asked Fenton if the hospital switchboard number listed on patient discharge papers could be used to contact her after hours. She said it could.

Brady then asked Fenton if she knew whether Holmes tried to contact her at that number nine minutes before the shooting. Fenton said she didn’t know, and later said Holmes also had a direct phone number to reach her at.

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