DENVER (Reuters) – Family and friends filed into a Denver church on Thursday for the funeral of a 23-year-old woman who was among the 12 people killed in a massacre at the opening of the new “Batman” movie, as investigators sought to piece together a possible motive for the shooting rampage.
One clue under examination is a mysterious package that turned up days after the shooting at the University of Colorado Anshutz Medical Campus, where suspect James Holmes, 24, had been a student, and was reported to contain a notebook detailing the shooting plot.
According to the Fox News report, which cited an unnamed source close to the investigation, the parcel was addressed to a psychiatrist on the university faculty and included hand-drawn pictures of stick figures shooting at other stick figures.
A university spokeswoman confirmed in a written statement on Wednesday that a suspicious package was delivered to the campus by mail on Monday, three days after the shooting, and that it was “immediately investigated and turned over to authorities within hours.”
Also Wednesday, the judge overseeing the case sought to crack down on unauthorized disclosures related to the investigation, reiterating a previous court order barring law enforcement authorities from “disseminating information that presents a danger to the fairness of a trial in this matter.”
Formal charges against Holmes are expected to be filed on Monday. He is accused of opening fire inside a midnight screening of the latest Batman film, “The Dark Knight Rises,” at a movie theater in the Denver suburb of Aurora, killing 12 people and wounding 58.
He was arrested moments after the shooting early Friday morning behind the theater, and was ordered at his initial court hearing on Monday to remain held without bail.
Mourners assembled on Thursday at New Hope Baptist Church in northeastern Denver to attend private funeral services for one of the victims, Micayla Medek, 23, a community college student who worked at a local Subway fast-food outlet and had gone to the movie with a group of friends.
The 1,200-seat church was filled to overflowing with grieving parishioners, including at least 50 relatives of Medek, some of them sobbing and hugging one another before they entered the service.
Many of the mourners wore pink “Hello Kitty” ribbons pinned to their clothing in remembrance of the popular cartoon and merchandising character that was a favorite of Medek’s.
Holmes’ neighbors in the three-story apartment house where he lived were permitted to begin returning to their homes on Wednesday night for the first time since the building was evacuated on Friday, shortly after the shooting.
Residents were ordered out when Holmes’ unit was discovered to have been left booby-trapped with explosives capable of leveling the entire complex had they been detonated.
(Writing by Paul Thomasch and Dan Whitcomb; editing by Eric Walsh and Mohammad Zargham)