- (Photo: REUTERS/The University of Colorado)
James Holmes, the Colorado shooting suspect charged with killing 12 people and wounding 58 others, was reportedly hospitalized after attempting to commit suicide Tuesday. He was scheduled to attend his pre-trial hearing the following day.
The 24-year-old former University of Colorado student reportedly made several attempts to take his own life by running headfirst into a jail cell wall and falling backwards in an apparent attempt to crack his skull open, according to TMZ.com.
While he allegedly sustained injuries, they were not life-threatening. He has since been released from hospital and is said to be back behind bars, where he awaits trial over the gruesome killings.
Holmes is charged with 24 counts of murder including first degree murder over the July 19 Aurora movie theater shooting rampage that shocked the nation. He is also charged with 116 counts of attempted murder as well as one count of possessing an explosive device and one count of violent crime.
Prosecutors allege that Holmes entered a packed movie theater during a midnight screening of "Dark Knight Rises," where he set off gas canisters gas before shooting into the crowd. Those who were able to safely flee the scene spoke of their horrifying ordeals.
"I told my friend `We've got to get out of here,' but then he shot people trying to go out the exits," one witness Jennifer Seeger told NBC's "Today." She said the shooter made his way up the aisle, firing as he went, saying nothing.
Another witness, Shayla Roeder, recounted the moment that she saw a young teenage girl lying on the ground and bleeding outside of the theater.
"She just had this horrible look in her eyes ... We made eye contact and I could tell she was not all right," Roeder said.
If convicted of the crimes, Holmes would potentially face the death penalty, as Colorado reinstated capital punishment in 1975. Only one prisoner has been executed by the state since 1977.
It is still unclear what exactly motivated Holmes, who reportedly called himself "The Joker," to open fire, particularly since neighbors have described him as a "normal" young man. Some experts suspect that mental health problems may have played a role in the killings.
"He seemed to be a normal kid, I don't know what triggered it. This makes me very sad," Tom Mai, a retired electrical engineer and Holmes' neighbor, told The Los Angeles Times.
"I saw him as a normal guy, an everyday guy, doing every day things," said Mai's 16-year-old son, Anthony.