Shooting Suspect Was Quiet, Witty Says Friends

One friend he seemed "pretty normal" and was never aggressive or mean

By Sarah Grieco and Brandi Powell
|  Friday, Jul 20, 2012  |  Updated 10:43 AM PDT
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Colorado Shooting Suspect May Have San Diego Ties

James Holmes, the 24-year-old shooting suspect who is accused of killing a dozen people in a Colorado movie theater, went to Westview High School (pictured in background) in a San Diego neighborhood.

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Colorado Shooting Suspect May Have San Diego Ties

Activity outside the home on Sparren Avenue where San Diego police were called early Friday. A man walked out of the home carrying bags and entered a car driven by SDPD.
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People who knew the Colorado shooting suspect James Holmes said he was a quiet, studious man.

Holmes, who formerly lived in San Diego, was arrested in a Denver suburb early Friday morning on suspicion for fatally shooting 12 people and wounding several others in a movie theater premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises."

Neighbors and friends said Holmes went by "Jimmy."

Sumit Shah said he went to Westview High School in Poway with Holmes, where they graduated in 2006.

“I knew him pretty well, we were friendly,” said Shah. “He was pretty shy, but once he got comfortable with you, he was the funniest, smartest guy… He always had something witty to say.”

Shah said he was shocked to learn what happened.

“I don’t even understand how,” he said. “The guy I knew in high school, I don’t understand how that could be the same guy…He was shy and little quiet, but he was never aggressive or mean. He always had really good grades. He seemed pretty normal.”


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A 16-year-old neighbor Anthony Mai said he knew Holmes his whole life. He said he cannot believe that Holmes performed such an act.

“James was happy and smiling,” said Mai.

Holmes also had trouble finding a job a few years ago, Mai said.

Neighbor Marjorie Aguliar said her son know Holmes when he lived in San Diego, and also said he was “quiet.” Another neighbor Ilana Aroson said Holmes used to swim with the fellow neighborhood kids in her backyard pool, but she hasn’t seen him in many years.  

"He was a nice kid and grew up in a nice neighborhood," said one neighbor to NBC 7 San Diego. "Whenever I spoke to his mother she was very proud of him."

Holmes is currently in custody in Colorado. Police said his apartment appeared "booby-trapped" with explosives that appeared "very sophisticated," and officials could be on the scene for hours or days.
 

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