ABC has apologized after one of its veteran reporters linked the Colorado shooter who killed 12 people at a premier of the Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” to the Tea Party.
Appearing on Good Morning America in the wake of the Aurora, Colorado massacre in which 12 people attending the highly-anticipated premier were killed and 59 more wounded, Brian Ross confused the actual gunman– 24-year-old University of Colorado neuroscience doctoral student James Holmes– with a Colorado Tea Party Patriots (CTTP) member also named Jim Holmes.
“There is a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado page on the Colorado Tea Party site… talking about him joining the Tea Party last year,” Ross said. “Now, we don’t know if this is the same Jim Holmes, but it’s Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado.”
It was not the same Jim Holmes. Speaking with Joel Pollack of the far-right website Breitbart, the wrongly-identified Holmes said “it was freaky” to be confused with a mass-murderer.
On his Tea Party Patriots page, Holmes decried “the blatantly lazy and inept report of Brian Ross” that he, “and by extension, the CTTP, is linked to the deranged murderer in Aurora.”
ABC has issued an apology for Ross’ suggestion that the CTTP’s Holmes had anything to do with the Aurora massacre.
“An earlier ABC News broadcast report suggested that a Jim Holmes of a Colorado Tea Party organization might be the suspect, but that report was incorrect. ABC News and Brian Ross apologize for the mistake, and for disseminating that information before it was properly vetted,” the network said.
As of Friday afternoon, the death toll from the midnight massacre stood at 12, with 59 more injured, making it the worst shooting spree in modern US history. Holmes, heavily armed and armored, burst into filled-to-capacity cinema shortly after the final film of the Batman trilogy, “The Dark Knight Rises,” started, throwing gas canisters and opening fire with semi-automatic weapons.
Homes was apprehended in a parking lot outside the theater. He is reportedly uncooperative with investigators.