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Colo. suspect's mom learned of shooting from media

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Lisa Damiani is the attorney representing the family of 24-year-old James Holmes. Damiani held a news conference in downtown San Diego Monday, July 23, 2012 to issue a statement on behalf of the family. (Photo courtesy: News 8’s Richard Allyn) Lisa Damiani is the attorney representing the family of 24-year-old James Holmes. Damiani held a news conference in downtown San Diego Monday, July 23, 2012 to issue a statement on behalf of the family. (Photo courtesy: News 8’s Richard Allyn)

SAN DIEGO (AP) — The mother of James Holmes had no idea her son was believed to be the gunman who killed a dozen people in a Colorado theater until she was contacted hours after the tragedy at her San Diego home by a reporter, the family's lawyer said Monday.

At a news conference in San Diego, the family's attorney, Lisa Damiani, told reporters that Arlene Holmes received a phone call at 5:45 a.m. Friday from an ABC News reporter who asked if she was the mother of James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colo.

"I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time," Arlene Holmes said in the statement.

Authorities say Holmes opened fire on a crowded movie theater Friday at a midnight showing of the new Batman movie. Twelve people were killed and 58 were injured. James Holmes, 24, made his first court appearance Monday in a Denver suburb where he's being held without bond.

Damiani declined to say whether the suspect's parents were surprised their son was being accused of a crime or whether he had shown any signs of instability before July 20. Damiani said they would not publicly discuss details about their son.

When asked if they stood by Holmes, Damiani said, "Yes they do. He's their son."

Holmes, who has been assigned a public defender, is expected to be formally charged next Monday. He is being held on suspicion of first-degree murder.

"Everyone's concerned" about the possibility of the death penalty, Damiani said.

"They're doing as well as they can under the circumstances," said Damiani of the family, adding that they have been getting "amazing" support from their church.

The parents want to reiterate what they said shortly after the shooting, that their hearts go out to the victims and their families, Damiani said.

 

This is a story update. The previous story is below.

 

SAN DIEGO (CNS) - An attorney for the San Diego-area relatives of Aurora, Colo., shooting suspect James Holmes said Monday their "hearts go out to the victims and their families" of the theater attack, but the family continued to request privacy.

"The Holmes family would like to maintain their privacy, so at this time we will not be discussing James or his relationship to the family, and we would respect courtesy in that regard," attorney Lisa Damiani told reporters in downtown San Diego.

Asked if the Rancho Penasquitos family stands behind Holmes, Damiani said, "Yes they do. He's their son."

Holmes, 24, is accused of carrying out the Friday morning massacre in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." Twelve people died in the shooting and dozens of others were injured.

Holmes' family is "doing as well as they can under the circumstances," Damiani said.

Damiani would not answer questions about where the family was or their reaction to Holmes' court appearance in Colorado Monday morning. She also would not discuss whether the family will try to get him mental health treatment or if they were concerned about the possibility of him facing the death penalty.

"At this point in time, they really want their privacy respected," she said.

 

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