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Portrait of Colorado shooting suspect emerges -- A Times/Google+ live hangout

July 23, 2012 | 10:41 am

The Times will host a Google+ chat at 11 a.m. on the Colorado shooting and suspect James Holmes.

Holmes made his first court appearance Monday, his hair dyed reddish-orange in an apparent nod to the comic book world of Batman.

Times reporters Phil Willon and Matt Stevens will discuss what they've learned about Holmes' background.

PHOTOS: 'Dark Knight Rises' shooting

We invite you to join in on the conversation by posting comments below or onto The Times’ Facebook and Google Plus pages or on Twitter using the #asklatimes hashtag.

Many friends of Holmes in California said he was a gifted student and an intelligent person -- but others said he was more complicated. 

Arash Adami, a UC Riverside student studying for his doctorate, was James Holmes' teaching assistant for a neuroscience class in 2009. The class focused on the nervous system’s importance to controlling other systems in the human body. Adami said nothing really stood out about James except for his intellect.

THE VICTIMS: Who they were

"He was one of the smartest kids in the class," Adami said. "I wasn't in his inner circle or anything, so it's tough for me to say any more about him."

During the summer of 2006, Holmes  was an intern at a prestigious computer laboratory at the Salk Institute at UC San Diego.

A graduate student who worked with Holmes at the Salk Institute’s Computational Neurobiology Laboratory recalled him as a “mediocre” student who was enormously stubborn.

TIMELINE: Mass shootings in the U.S.

“I saw a shy, pretty socially inept person,” said John Jacobson, now a PhD candidate at UC San Diego in philosophy and cognitive sciences. “I didn’t see any behavior that would be indicative of violence then or in the future.”

Another piece of the narrative emerged Sunday when ABC News obtained a video of James Holmes making a science presentation in San Diego while in high school.

The video was taken at Miramar College when Holmes was 18. "Over the course of the summer I've been working with a temporal illusion. It's an illusion that allows you to change the past," he says at one point.

In the video, he is introduced as someone who wanted to become a science researcher. The speaker says Holmes liked soccer, strategy games and had a goal of one day owning a Slurpee machine.

ALSO:

Suspected gunman struggled to find work, neighbor says

Shooting vigil: 'God is probably as brokenhearted as I am'

Colorado shooting suspect shy, 'socially inept,' classmate recalls

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