Mother of Aurora theater shooter breaks silence

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SAN DIEGO — Nearly four years after James Holmes opened fire in a packed Aurora movie theater, killing 12 people and injuring 70 others, his mother is speaking out for the first time.

Holmes was convicted in August of 24 counts of first-degree murder, 134 counts of attempted first-degree murder, six counts of second-degree attempted murder and one count of possession or control of an incendiary device for the July 20, 2012, massacre.

He was sentenced to 12 consecutive life sentences plus 3,318 years in prison by Arapahoe County District Court Judge Carlos Samour Jr. He is being incarcerated at an unknown facility out of Colorado.

In an interview with KGTV in San Diego, Arlene Holmes said she was coming forward because May is Mental Health Awareness Month.

“I talked to other people about signs and symptoms of people who have problems with mental health and they told me it’s been helpful, so I want to share the lessons that I’ve learned,” Arlene Holmes said. “At the same time, I want to acknowledge that my son did indeed do something very terrible, and it was a great tragedy. Many people were killed, many people were harmed, and I want to focus not on him, but on education.”

Holmes said in the nearly eight-minute interview that she prays for the victims every day.

“It’s the first thought when I wake up in the morning. I’m very cognizant of how bad this all was, and I’m praying for their healing; mentally, physically, emotionally,” she said. “I can’t erase the day, but I wish I could. The way that I want to honor their injuries and their distress is to try and help prevent something this bad from happening again.”