AURORA, Colo. (AP) — New York City's police commissioner says the gunman in the Colorado movie theater rampage had painted his hair red and called himself the Joker — the villain from the Batman movies.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Friday that he had been briefed about the shootings that killed 12 and wounded nearly 60 others at a showing of the new Batman movie "The Dark Knight Rises" at a suburban Denver theater.
Kelly and his spokesman did not say who briefed him. Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates would not confirm the information about suspected gunman James Holmes, but confirmed he had spoken to Kelly. The two used to work together in New York.
Officials believe Holmes killed a dozen people when he fired into a crowded movie theater in a Denver suburb. He was wearing a gas mask and set off an unknown gas in the theater.
Holmes is in police custody, and the FBI says there is no indication that incident is tied to any terrorist groups.
Meanwhile, FBI agents and police used a hook and ladder fire truck to reach Holmes' apartment in suburban Denver, Aurora police Chief Dan Oates said. They put a camera at the end of 12-foot pole inside the apartment, and discovered that the unit was booby trapped.
A furniture mover who lives several blocks from the suspect's apartment building said he shared a beer with him Tuesday at a neighborhood bar where they talked about Denver Bronco Peyton Manning.
Jackie Mitchell, the Aurora neighbor, said he recognized Holmes' photo on television and he described the suspect as smart with a "swagger."
"We just talked about football. He had a backpack and geeky classes and seemed like a real intelligent guy and I figured he was one of the college students," he said.
There was no reference made to a planned shooting, Mitchell said.
Holmes graduated from high school in the San Diego area.
Tom Mai, a man who lives next door to the family, described Holmes as a loner and said the mother told him Holmes couldn't find a job after earning a master's degree from a public university in California.
Holmes reportedly dropped out of medical school last month.
University of Colorado spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery says Holmes was a student at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Denver until last month. She did not know when he started school or why he withdrew. He was studying neuroscience in a Ph.D program.
Holmes' family in California said in a statement that their hearts go out to those involved.
The family asked the media to respect their privacy. They say they're cooperating with authorities in San Diego and Aurora, Colo., and are trying to process everything. Holmes graduated from high school in the San Diego area.
On Friday morning, police escorted the suspect's father, a manager of a software company, from their San Diego home. The mother stayed inside the home, receiving family visitors who came to offer support. San Diego police spokeswoman Lt. Andra Brown, spoke to reporters in the driveway of the Holmes' home, on behalf of the family.
"As you can understand, the Holmes family is very upset about all of this," she said. "It's a tragic event and it's taken everyone by surprise. They are definitely trying to work through this."
Anthony Mai, a 16-year-old who grew up next door to Holmes, described the suspect as "solitary" person who largely kept to himself but his behavior was nothing out of the ordinary.
"He felt a little bit concealed, but it wasn't too much. It was alright" he said. "This is just a feeling in my gut, but I felt like he had something, like he was being picked on or something."
His father, Tom Mai, a retired electrical engineer, said Holmes was quiet.
"I said hello to him once in a while. He seemed to be a shy guy," he told reporters.
He said the Holmes have lived at the San Diego home about 10 years and they were a "very, very nice family." Holmes mother is a nurse. The suspect also has a younger sister.
Mai said the mother told him the suspect couldn't find a job after earning a master's degree from a University of California school and so went back for another degree.