A Dark Night in Aurora: Inside James Holmes and the Colorado Mass Shootings

A Dark Night in Aurora: Inside James Holmes and the Colorado Mass Shootings

by Dr. William H. Reid


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James Holmes killed or wounded seventy people in a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado. Only one man was allowed to record extensive interviews with the shooter. This is what he found.

On July 20, 2012 in Aurora, Colorado, a man in dark body armor and a gas mask entered a midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises with a tactical shotgun, a high-capacity assault rifle, and a sidearm. He threw a canister of tear gas into the crowd and began firing. Soon twelve were dead and fifty-eight were wounded; young children and pregnant women were among them. The man was found calmly waiting at his car. He was detained without resistance.

Unlike the Columbine, Newtown, San Bernadino, Orlando, Las Vegas, and Jacksonville shootings, and James Holmes is unique among mass shooters in his willingness to be taken into custody alive. In the court case that followed, only Dr. William H. Reid, a distinguished forensic psychiatrist, would be allowed to record interviews with the defendant. Reid would read Holmes’ diary, investigate his phone calls and text messages, interview his family and acquaintances, speak to his victims, and review tens of thousands of pages of evidence and court testimony in an attempt to understand how a happy, seemingly normal child could become a killer.

A Dark Night in Aurora uses the twenty-three hours of unredacted interview transcripts never seen by the public and Reid’s research to bring the reader inside the mind of a mass murderer. The result is chilling, gripping study of abnormal psychology and how a lovely boy named Jimmy became a killer.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781510735521
Publisher: Skyhorse
Publication date: 07/24/2018
Pages: 296
Sales rank: 381,398
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

William Reid, MD, MPH, is among the most experienced forensic mental health professionals in North America. He has received both the Manfred Guttmacher Award for forensic writing and the Seymour Pollack Award for Distinguished Contribution to Education in Forensic Psychiatry, and is a past president of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law. Dr. Reid has written, co-authored, or edited 16 professional volumes and over 200 professional articles and book chapters, many on antisocial behavior, terrorism and forensic practice. Dr. Reid was one of two psychiatric experts retained by the presiding judge in People of the State of Colorado v. James Holmes, and the only psychiatrist allowed to record interviews with Holmes and access the unredacted videos and transcripts. He currently resides in Horseshoe Bay, Texas.

Table of Contents

Introduction xi

Jimmy 1

1 Jimmy 3

2 The Changes Begin 17

3 College 31

James 45

4 Aurora 47

5 Seeds of the Mission 63

Holmes 79

6 Juggernaut 81

7 A Dark K/Night Rises 101

8 Armageddon 113

Aftermath 125

9 Aftermath 127

10 James Holmes in Jail 143

11 The Lawyers, the Court, and the Shrinks 171

12 My Interviews of James Holmes 187

13 The Trial Begins 211

14 The Holmes Defense 231

15 Punishment 245

Epilogue: Denouement 257

Afterword: The Search for Why 263

About the Author 271

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A Dark Night in Aurora: Inside James Holmes and the Colorado Mass Shootings 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Laurie Greenwald 17 days ago
JohnMull More than 1 year ago
Before you read the book, you should know that it is written by a psychiatrist who was hired by the state court in James Holmes' trial to provide an independent evaluation on whether Holmes was mentally insane the night he killed 12 and injured scores of others in Aurora, Colorado. The book, therefore, is very analytical in nature and focuses on the issues Dr. Reid evaluated in drawing his conclusion. He spends considerable time discussing the different types of mental illnesses that exist, as well as offering his opinion on the conclusions of psychiatrists who evaluated Holmes for the prosecution and defense counsel. There are a few paragraphs in the early chapters covering some of the individuals who were injured or killed that night, but nothing in-depth. There is also very little about the massive effort by first responders to get the injured to nearby hospitals that night for treatment. Instead, the focus is primarily on Holmes, his upbringing, his education, the gradual onset of the serious mental issues that overwhelmed him during the six months leading up to shooting, and his odd behavior while in jail following the shooting and prior to the trial. I lived in Colorado when the shooting happened and, based on newspaper accounts of the event, was under the impression that Holmes' mental issues became serious after he was dismissed from the graduate school program in which he was enrolled. The reality was that it started months before then. The book made me wonder whether this discussion our nation is having about focusing on mental health issues to curtail future mass shootings will do any good. As it stands now, individuals cannot be committed to a mental institution against their will. And, in noting how Holmes went about accumulating the arsenal he used the night of the shooting (most of it was purchased online), I'm not sure what laws could be passed that would prevent someone in the same situation from acquiring similar firearms and carrying out a mass shooting. Holmes gun of choice that night was the AR-15. At one point, the gun jammed on him and, instead of resorting to the other guns he had on him, he simply walked out of the movie theater. If AR-15 had not jammed, countless others would have died or been injured. That makes me think that is we get rid of the AR-15, the number of mass shootings will likely be curtailed.
dsharwood More than 1 year ago
An Excellent read on the mass shooting and makes you feel as if you were there with all the details. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in mental health. Dr. Reid, who is gifted beyond the psychiatry arena makes this an easy read and helps us realize that we need more facilities and funding for mental health. Emergency clinics which are numerous may be a solution by being staffed to handle mental health issues.