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Colorado shooting: What did suspect's family know? Mom issues clarification. (+video)

Through a lawyer, Arlene Holmes, mother of the Colorado shooting suspect, said she was misunderstood by a reporter. 'You have the right person,' she said, referred to herself.

By Staff writer / July 23, 2012

Lisa Damiani, an attorney and spokesperson for the parents of alleged Colorado mass murderer James Holmes, listens to a question during a news conference, Monday, July 23, in San Diego. Damiani says Holmes' mother had no idea he was believed to be the gunman who killed a dozen people in a Colorado theater until a reporter contacted her at her San Diego home.

Lenny Ignelzi/AP

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The mother of James Eagan Holmes, the alleged shooter who killed 12 people and wounded 58 others early Friday, released a statement Monday afternoon that sought to clarify she did not have prior knowledge her son was capable of committing an act of violence, contrary to early media accounts.

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Through a lawyer representing the family, Arlene Holmes said a reporter’s call woke her up in her San Diego home around 5:45 a.m., just hours after her son was arrested outside a movie theater in Aurora, Colo., where the killings took place.

“I did not know anything about the shooting in Aurora at that time,” Ms. Holmes said in the statement. “He asked if my son was James Holmes and I answered ‘yes, you have the right person.’ I was referring to myself.”

Earlier media accounts interpreted the statement by the elder Holmes as referring to her son, which some suggested that the family had perceived their son was capable of mass violence.

Lisa Damiani, a San Diego lawyer who said she did not represent the younger Holmes, read the statement. Ms. Damiani said the family contacted her through a member of their church.

Damiani said the suspect’s family members did not want their whereabouts known. "The family would like privacy," she said. "The family wants to reiterate that their hearts go out to the victims and their families."

James Holmes appeared in court Monday morning but is not yet charged. He is being held without bond.

Damiani said the family “felt it was very important for everybody to understand the sequence of events … and not misconstrue the situation.” She declined to discuss James, or his relationship to the family.

Asked if the family stands by him, she replied: “Yes they do. He’s their son.”

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