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Colorado shooting: Psychology of a gunman like James Holmes

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MILWAUKEE -- The world got its first look at 24-year-old James Holmes Monday, July 23rd as he made his first court appearance -- accused of opening fire in a crowded theater during the Dark Knight Rises midnight showing on Friday, killing 12 and injuring over 50. Among many lingering questions since Friday's massacre is what would drive someone to commit such a crime?

Police have not released any information that would suggest a potential motive at this time, however, an expert in criminal psychology provided some insight into the criminal mind.

"This was a guy who had a lot of intention to do harm," Dr. Stan Stojkovic, a criminal science professor and dean at UW-Milwaukee said.

Over four decades of Stojkovic's life have been spent studying criminals. To him, there is no such thing as an ordinary crime, but the unprovoked attack on a crowded movie theater shocked him.

"What makes it more disturbing is the cold-bloodedness with which this guy did this," Stojkovic said.

Police say not long after the midnight showing began, Holmes entered the theater through an emergency exit door, launched gas canisters and began firing into the crowd. The attack killed 12 and injured over 50.

"What drives this guy is going to be the study of a host of issues, from media attention, notoriety, issues clearly of low self-esteem and issues about his own accomplishments," Stojkovic said.

Stojkovic says there's no quick answer to Holmes' potential motivations and believes it will take months if not years to answer the biggest question of "why."

"As the investigation ensues, you're going to get more detailed information about his level of premeditation and deliberateness. I mean, this guy wanted to kill, there's no doubt in my mind," Stojkovic said.

Holmes had moved to Colorado from California to study neuroscience at the doctoral level, but dropped out in June after a year in the program. Holmes was taken into custody at the theater, and has been held in solitary confinement since Friday.

Formal charges are expected against Holmes next Monday, July 30th.

Colorado has the death penalty, though no one has been executed in the state since 1976.

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