The owner of a Colorado gun range thought shooting suspect James Holmes seemed “bizarre” after he tried to follow up on an application Holmes submitted less than a month before allegedly carrying out the movie theater massacre.
Glenn Rotkovich, owner of the Lead Valley Range in Byers, Colo., told Fox News it wasn’t Holmes’ actual application that seemed strange — it was the voicemail message Rotkovich reached when trying to follow up with him.
“His answering machine message was incoherent, just bizarre, really bizarre — slurring words, but he didn’t sound drunk, just strange — I could make out “James” somewhere in it,” Rotkovich said.
Rotkovich told Fox he’d been trying to reach Holmes to discuss his application and set up a mandatory orientation and safety training. Instead, he called two more times — getting the message each time — but never heard back.
“I told my staff, here’s the name — James Holmes — this is the person. If he shows up come get me. I need to talk to him before anything else,” he said. “I said, I’m not sure about this guy.’ It was kind of bizarre.”
Holmes is accused of opening fire on a movie theater showing a midnight screening of the latest Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” early Friday morning. Twelve people were killed and 58 others injured in what has been called the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Police said he dyed his hair red and told authorities he was “The Joker”, a Batman foe.
Imitating the voice he said he heard on the answering machine, Rotkovich made a “mix of moaning in the background and movie-character-like exaggerated squeals and laughter,” according to Fox News.
“In hindsight, looking back — and if I’d seen the movies — maybe I’d say it was like the Joker — I would have gotten the Joker out of it,” he said. “It was like somebody was trying to be as weird as possible.”
Rotkovich said when his wife woke him up with news of the shooting on Friday, the suspect’s name sounded familiar. His mother’s name and San Diego residence matched the emergency contact Holmes had provided on his application, and TV reporters were camped out at the same apartment address he had listed.
“I said, ‘Yes, this looks like it’s him,’” Rotkovich told Fox. “Too many coincidences for it not to be him.”