A 'Knight' in the crowd
Undercover cops try to deter copycats following ‘Dark Knight’ shooting
In the days after a lone gunman went on a deadly shooting rampage in Colorado during an early Friday morning screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” police around the country went on “heightened alert” at movie theaters showing the film.
In Pasadena, Police Chief Philip Sanchez stated the shooting incident in Aurora, a suburb of Denver, which claimed the lives of 12 people and injured 58, “appears to be an isolated incident.”
“Nevertheless,” the chief wrote in a Friday morning memo, “The Pasadena Police Department’s heightened diligence may include extra patrols and covert police presence as appropriate.”
Authorities had good reason to be concerned. Although nothing out of the ordinary occurred in Pasadena, Glendale or Burbank over the weekend, on Tuesday news agencies reported two incidents related to the shootings.
In Maine, officers found an assault rifle, four handguns and boxes of ammunition, along with news clippings on what happened in Aurora, in the car of a 49-year-old man they pulled over for driving 104 mph. Timothy Courtois, according to Richmond, Va.-based WTYVR, CBS6, Huffington Post and the New York Daily News, was on his way to shoot his former boss after watching the new Batman film while carrying a loaded handgun in his backpack.
And in Denver, KDVR, FOX 31 first reported that Jordan Morado, posted, “Mad props to James Holmes. Thank you for making this world a whole lot better,” on his Facebook page. Morado was placed on a mental health hold.
It was unknown what motivated Holmes, a 24-year-old graduate student from San Diego studying neuroscience at the University of Colorado, who authorities and witnesses say was dressed in body armor, a bullet-proof vest, a helmet and a gas mask when he opened fire on people in the packed theater. Police say Holmes was armed with an assault rifle, a shotgun and two handguns during the attack, which occurred at 12:25 a.m. Friday — about 25 minutes into the film.
In 2008, the Los Angeles Times reported Holmes worked as a cabin counselor at Camp Max Straus in Glendale, a nonsectarian program run for underprivileged kids 7 to 14 by Jewish Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Los Angeles.
The film’s homicidal villain, Bane, wears a mask that covers the bottom portion of his face. However, it was another famous Batman bad guy, the Joker, whom Holmes may have been emulating.
Looking dazed and disheveled, Holmes, his hair dyed orange, appeared in court Monday to face arraignment.