With brightly colored hair and appearing confused, Monday’s court appearance was the first time James Holmes was seen by some of his former UC Riverside classmates who lived near him off campus.
“He definitely looked different than he did when he was living there. I don’t know why he thought it was a good idea to go with that change,” said Ken French.
Holmes lived in a second-floor apartment about a mile away from campus while he studied neuroscience, ranking at the top of his class.
The man accused in a Colorado shooting massacre that killed a dozen people gathered for a midnight screening of “The Dark Knight Rises” was remembered as reclusive. In June 2010, despite top honors in a difficult subject, one classmate says the 24-year-old skipped graduation.
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“He didn’t walk… so you can tell that he didn't have the drive to even do it for his family and friends there, and celebrate the thing most college students look forward to,” said Talia Ramirez.
Holmes is remembered for crossing paths with students in a laundry room at the center of the apartment complex. Students told NBC4 News that Holmes was never one for small talk; leaving his apartment regularly for class and making no effort to socialize.
“Everyone is different behind closed doors so there is no real way to determine who a person really is,” French said.
University police officers were visible on campus Monday; however no specific reason was given.
At UCR the flag was at half-staff, a sign of mourning for the tragedy tied to one of the university’s graduates.