Batman Killer: The Drug Angle

By Valerie Tejeda 07/23/12

James Holmes reportedly took Vicodin before he opened fire on moviegoers.

Was Holmes on drugs? Photo via

How big a part did drugs play in the Aurora movie theater massacre? James E. Holmes opened fire at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises in Colorado just after midnight on Friday, killing 12 people—including a six-year-old girl—and wounding 59, among them a three-month-old baby. As new details emerge about the 24-year-old PhD student, there's been inevitable speculation that drugs may have played a part. Holmes reportedly admitted to police that he took 100mg of Vicodin about two and a half hours before the shooting, and unconfirmed reports say he was hooked on the prescription drug. Health Ledger—who played the Joker in The Dark Knight—had Vicodin in his system when he died back in 2008. Sources also claim that Holmes regularly smoked pot outside his home. “I’d see him smoking weed behind the apartment,” says his Aurora neighbor Lance Bradshaw. “Nobody ever really talked to him. He was alone a lot.” Authorities are also looking into a post on the sex site that was placed by Holmes prior to the shooting. It said: “Will you visit me in prison?” He also described himself on the website as a “light/social drinker” and wrote on the question of whether he took drugs, “Prefer not to say.” Holmes remains in custody and is scheduled to be arraigned early this week.

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Entertainment journalist and author Valerie Tejeda spends her days reporting on books, television, and all things pertaining to pop culture, and spends her nights writing novels for teens. Her stories have appeared on a variety of different publications, including but not limited to: VanityFair, MTV, The Huffington Post, TeenVogue, She Knows, Latina, The Fix,, Cosmopolitan, and more. You can find Valerie on Linkedin and Twitter.