The psychiatrist treating accused Colorado movie theater killer James Holmes called the University of Colorado police department six weeks before the shooting, asking for a background check, sources told Scripps Denver station 7News.
Multiple sources familiar with the investigation tell 7News that in first 10 days of June, Dr. Lynne Fenton was so concerned that Holmes, whom she was treating, might be a threat to others that she called the university's Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment, or BETA, team. She also contacted the campus police department trying to find out if Holmes had a criminal history.
In doing so, sources say, Dr. Fenton had to take the serious step of revealing Holmes’ name to the police for the purpose of trying to ensure the protection of others.
Sources familiar with the investigation say after her initial call to the campus police, Dr. Fenton never filled out any paperwork that would cause the police to detain or hold Holmes.
As 7NEWS reported exclusively last week, Fenton also called the chairman of the BETA team, Larry Loften, with the same concerns, according to sources.
But, sources say, as the team was considering whether to convene and consider the issue, Holmes dropped out of school, and the team never met or took any action.
A number of forensic psychiatrists contacted Monday, who are unrelated to the case, say that in such circumstances a treating doctor has to make a judgment about whether a patient is an immediate threat to himself or to others.
They say if a psychiatrist is unsure of the patient’s mental condition, the doctor can have the patient taken to an emergency room for evaluation or may place the patient on a 72-hour hold for observation and evaluation.
Sources say Dr. Fenton was told Holmes did not have a criminal record. And sources say Dr. Fenton did not place Holmes on a hold, but it is unclear whether she took any other steps to make sure Holmes was evaluated.
Six weeks after the BETA team did not act, Holmes killed 12 people in an Aurora theater and injured more than 50 others, according to charge files by an Arapahoe County prosecutor.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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