(NEW YORK) — The family of suspected gunman James Holmes said they will support the Ph.D student accused of entering a movie theatre last Friday and not leaving until he had killed 12 people and wounded another 58.
Asked if they stand by Holmes, lawyer and family spokeswoman Lisa Damiani said at a press conference Monday, “Yes they do. He’s their son.”
Damiani said the family was holding up, “as well as anyone could under the circumstances.”
“I think everyone can imagine how they’re feeling,” Damiani said, “anyone who’s ever been a parent.”
Damiani would not comment on the family’s whereabouts or their relationship with Holmes.
The spokeswoman said the family had spoken to investigators from California, but had not been contacted by police in Colorado.
“No one from the Aurora Police Department has contacted us, or asked for assistance,” she said. Through Damiani, the suspect’s mother Arlene Holmes wanted to clarify a statement she made to ABC News in the immediate aftermath of the shooting Friday morning.
ABC News phoned Arlene Holmes at 5am PST, at her home in San Diego, Calif., according to notes and email records by ABC News producer Matthew Mosk, who placed the call.
Through her lawyer, Holmes Monday sought to clarify the remarks she made in that phone interview.
“I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time,” Arlene Holmes’s said in statement read by her lawyer Friday. “He [Mosk] asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes, who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered yes, you have the right person. I was referring to myself. I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora. He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son and I would need to find out.”
Mosk said Monday that he awoke Arlene Holmes and informed her that a man, he believed was her son had been arrested in Aurora and asked to confirm their relationship.
“You have to tell me what happened … You have to tell me what happened,” the woman on the phone said, according to Mosk. He said he told Holmes that ABC News had learned the 24-year-old had been identified by police as the lone suspect in the mass killing in Aurora, Colo. and that the details of the events were still taking shape.
“You have the right person,” was her response, he said. “I need to call the police. I need to fly to Colorado.”
Just prior to the press conference, Damiani contacted ABC News to determine whether there existed a recording of the pre-dawn conversation between Mosk and her client, according to Mosk.
One hour after learning there was no audio recording, Damiani held the conference and read Arlene Holmes’ statement.
James Holmes, 24, appeared at an Arapahoe County courthouse Monday morning, his first public appearance since last week’s massacre. He was not arraigned and did not enter a plea.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Jareen Imam, CNN
Matt McFarland, CNN
Danica Lawrence, Fox 13 Utah