Did CU Officials Consider James Holmes 'High Risk' For Violence?

CALL7 Investigators Obtain Documents Directing CU Staff Call Police On High Risk Student

By calling campus police, a psychiatrist treating James Holmes took action recommended by a campus threat assessment document for a student at "high risk" to hurt himself or others, according to documents obtained by CALL7 Investigators.

The CU Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team (BETA) documents include an Integrative "Threat Assessment Matrix," which details five levels of threats from "No Risk Identified" to "Imminent Risk," records show. The first time the threat matrix says to include "law enforcement response" is at level 4, labeled "High Risk."

Sources familiar with the investigation into James Holmes, charged with killing 12 people and injuring 58 others, said his treating psychiatrist Dr. Lynne Fenton called campus police six weeks prior to the killings to do a background check on Holmes and to express her concern that he could hurt others. She also expressed concern to other BETA team members that he might be dangerous, sources said.

Despite those concerns, after Holmes dropped out of school on June 10, BETA team members did not call local police nor did they convene to discuss the threat, a source said. The threat matrix recommends that team members "develop (an) active plan monitoring and management plan" and "possible liaison with local police to compare red flags."

Sources say neither of those things were done, but it is unclear whether Fenton believed Holmes was a Level 4 threat or was just contacting police not connected to the guidelines.

Two weeks ago, CU spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery told CALL7 Investigators that there were no guidelines for when the BETA team must meet. Asked about the matrix Thursday night, Montgomery said it was a best practices document the team tried follow in most cases.

Montgomery also previously told investigators that there were more than a dozen threat investigated by the BETA team in the past four-and-half years, but documents show there were 306 reported threat incidents since its creation. Montgomery now said she was referring only to the Anschutz campus where she now says there have been several more incidents.

While, sources said, Fenton and the BETA team did not meet about Holmes or notify Aurora police when he left school, the documents show the types of incidents where the BETA team did convene or acted.

In one example, police were called to monitor the beginning of a class when a student wrote a letter they labeled "concerning, but not an imminent threat."

In a different case, the team met after a student who threatened to stab a professor in the eye with a pencil despite the professor telling the team that he or she did not feel threatened.

In another case, a student, upset about his grades, told a professor that he would "not sit back and take it." Police were called to the photo lab, according to an email sent to the BETA team.

Spokesperson Montgomery said Thursday night that the data she originally gave to CALL7 was the information given to her, and that all the documents 7News examined, dating back to 2009, weren’t available until now.

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