Only two weeks before he allegedly killed 12 people in a shooting
rampage in a Colorado movie theater, James Holmes sent a cryptic text
message to a graduate student asking her if she had ever heard of the
psychiatric condition known as "dysphoric mania," The New York Times reports today.
newspaper describes the condition as a form of bipolar disorder that
combines "the frenetic energy of mania with the agitation, dark thoughts
and in some cases paranoid delusions of major depression."
the University of Colorado classmate messaged back, asking Holmes if it
could be managed with treatment, he replied: "It was," but added that
she should stay away from him "because I am bad news."
The exchange is noted in a lengthy,"disturbing portrait" of Holmes as a young man struggling with severe mental illness who had hinted to others that he was spinning out of control.
More than a dozen classmates and acquaintances spoke to The Times, describing Holmes as very intelligent, prone to quirky jokes but also often aloof and socially inept.
The article, by Times
reporters Erica Goode, Serge F. Kovaleski, Jack Healy and Dan Frosch,
describes Holmes as a young man who "floated apart, locked inside a
private world they could neither share nor penetrate."
says the smiles and jokes stopped in the spring, around the time that
packages containing rounds of ammunition began arriving at his
apartment, according to police.
Prosecutors say in court papers
that Holmes told a fellow student in March that he wanted to kill people
"when his life was over."
The impending darkness seemed to gain
the upperhand, the newspaper reports, as his classwork suffered and he
did poorly on oral exams.
One professor told the 24-year-old
Holmes that he should find another career, prosecutors say, and he left
campus shortly afterward.
The story also recounts two phone calls
that Dave Aragon, the director of a low-budget, Batman-style movie
dealing with vigilante justice and dark redemption, got from someone
identifying himself as James Holmes from Denver.
The caller seemed obsessed with a four-minute online trailer of the movie, and pressed Aragon for details about the film.
"He came off as articulate, nervous, on the meek side," Aragon tells The Times."He was obviously interested in the body count."
say the gunman in Aurora, Colo., wearing hair dyed red like the Joker,
stepped into a crowded theater on July 20 and opened fire on the
audience at the opening night of the Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises.