Arapahoe County Sheriff’s Office


The Aurora shooting was yet another incident that traumatized the world.  The horrific shooting rampage that took the lives of 12 innocent people and left 58 wounded.  It was not exactly the night out at the movies that these people were anticipating.  The shooting was the worst in the U.S. since the Nov. 5, 2009, attack at Fort Hood, Texas.

Law enforcement sources say gunman James Holmes, 24, was dressed for battle in a bullet-resistant vest and gas mask Friday (July 20) morning but didn’t resist arrest by Aurora, Colo., police.

The shock and horror to learn that this young man, a med-school drop out, was capable of such a heinous act has been incomprehensible from people who knew him.

But he was also someone’s son.  What do you do and how do you act when you learn that your son planned and followed through on such evil.

The Call

I have witnessed a mother hearing negative news about her child over the radio. It was no where close to the severity of this case, but it was a shock none-the-less.  As mothers, our children become our world and we only want the best for them.

When asked if the family stood by their son, the Holmes’ family lawyer, Lisa Damiani, replied, “Yes they do. He’s their son.”

Many will question why the parents would decide to support their child.  Many parents who have been through this before will relate to their allegiance to their son. Can a parent support their child without supporting the act of violence?

Most of us, thankfully, have never been put in this position.

ABC’s Allegations

Yesterday, Damiani hosted a news conference in front of her San Diego office, she told reporters present “The reason we’re here is that the media has been attributing certain statements to Mrs. Holmes and taking statements out of context.”

Damiani did not finger-point a specific media outlet.  However, it is fact that ABC News reported early Friday morning that it had identified the correct James Holmes because his mother “told ABC News her son was likely the alleged culprit, saying, ‘You have the right person.'”

Arlene Holmes, the mother who greeted the morning with an early morning phone call about a horrific shooting and the possibility of it being her son, was blindsided and misquoted for confirming that she was the mother of a young man named James Holmes.

After the initial shock, Holmes explains, “I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora,” she continues. “He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son, and I would need to find out.”

The anguish of being the parent of a murderer

It has to be very hard to accept.  When we look at the Modesto murder of Laci Peterson, Scott Peterson’s parents still upholds his innocence.   They are unable to accept that their son would be capable of such an act of violence.  Peterson was from a well to do family from San Diego, there was no indication of deviant behavior from their “miracle child” from childhood to adult.

After surfing the net for quotes about parent’s of child murderers, I found this comment.

“Every parent thinks their child is a reflection of them,” says momlogic’s licensed marriage and family therapist Shannon Fox, “and the fact is, parents are the number one influence in a child’s life, so if their child murders they definitely have something to do with it.” “There are almost always signs of a deeply troubled youth or child,” says Fox, “and most parents simply ignore the signs.”

I believe that statement is a little harsh but it does hold some weight as well.  I do believe that murderers can come from good and bad family environments.   However, I certainly know that my children’s personalities differ greatly where the one I wasn’t concerned about as a child, may be my biggest concern as a teenager.  That may change yet again as they get closer to adulthood.

I think the more our children spend secluded in their rooms on computers, watching movies, and maintaining a minimal amount of communication with the outside world, it can only get worse for children who are deeply troubled.  We need to continue talking and sharing our thoughts.

At the end of the day, I honestly don’t think we can assume what we would do if James Holmes was our child.  My heart bleeds for my children when they are sad or troubled.  I want to protect them as I did when they were children.   There is no greater love or joy than our children.

My thoughts and prayers go out to James Holmes’ family (little sister included), the victims, and the victim’s families in this case.  No matter what, this horrific act warrants a stiff penalty.  James Holmes deserves the maximum penalty that the Colorado courts allows.

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