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22:09, 26 June 2017 Monday
Update: 11:02, 08 August 2012 Wednesday

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Colorado gunman's psychiatrist alerted police before rampage: report
Colorado gunman's psychiatrist alerted police before rampage: report

The sources did not know what the officer approached by Dr. Lynne Fenton did with the information she passed along, ABC said in a report late on Monday on its website.

World Bulletin / News Desk

The psychiatrist who treated suspected movie-theater shooter James Holmes contacted a University of Colorado police officer to express concerns about Holmes' behavior several weeks before the rampage, ABC News reported, citing unnamed sources.

The sources did not know what the officer approached by Dr. Lynne Fenton did with the information she passed along, ABC said in a report late on Monday on its website.

They said, however, that the officer was recently interviewed, with an attorney present, by the Aurora,Colorado, Police Department as a part of the investigation of the July 20 shooting that left 12 people dead and 58 wounded.

The sources said Fenton would have had to have serious concerns to break confidentiality with her patient to contact the police officer or others, the network said.

Holmes, 24, was a doctoral student of neuroscience at the University of Colorado's Anschutz Medical Campus before turning in paperwork to drop out in June, the month before the shooting in an Auroratheater.

Under Colorado law, a psychiatrist can legally breach a pledge of confidentiality with a patient if he or she becomes aware of a serious and imminent threat that the patient might cause harm to others, ABCsaid. Psychiatrists can also breach confidentiality if a court has ordered them to do so.

University spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery declined to comment to either Reuters or ABC on what, if anything, the university police officer might have done with information provided by Fenton.

She cited a court-issued gag order preventing her from confirming or denying any information related to Fenton or the shooting investigation.


In a written statement to ABC News, the university said campus police officers were frequently involved in meetings of the university's Behavioral Evaluation and Threat Assessment team.

The statement went on to say that police involvement with threat assessment "could include security matters, badge access, background checks, wellness checks, criminal investigations and referrals and outreach to other law enforcement agencies."

Fenton is medical director for student mental health services on campus and was "instrumental" in establishing the behavioral threat-assessment team, according to the school.

"Dr. Fenton will not be providing a statement regarding the media reports as to her involvement with Mr. Holmes," her lawyer, Jane Mitchell, told Reuters in an e-mail.

Holmes was charged with 24 counts of first-degree murder and 116 counts of attempted murder in the shooting at a midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" movie in suburban Denver.

ABC News and affiliate KMGH-TV in Denver reported last week that Fenton had contacted other members of the university's threat-assessment team about her concerns.

Aurora police referred inquiries related to the shooting to the district attorney's office. Prosecutors declined to comment, citing a court order not to discuss the case.

The University of Colorado said last week it had hired a former federal prosecutor to conduct an internal review of the Denver-based campus' dealings with Holmes.

Holmes is being held without bail in solitary confinement to protect him from other inmates. Prosecutors have not yet decided whether they will seek the death penalty against Holmes.

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Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland
Cyprus president seeks peace deal in Switzerland

Cypriot president Nicos Anastasiades said Monday he hopes to clinch a reunification deal laying out a new security blueprint for the divided island during a crunch summit in Switzerland this week. Anastasiades will attend United Nations-backed talks at the Alpine Crans-Montana ski resort Wednesday with "complete determination and goodwill... to achieve a desired solution", he said in a statement. He said he hopes to "abolish the anachronistic system of guarantees and intervention rights", with a deal providing for the withdrawal of the Turkish army. The eastern Mediterranean island has been divided since 1974 when Turkish troops invaded its northern third in response to an Athens-inspired coup seeking union with Greece. Turkey maintains around 35,000 troops in northern Cyprus. The so-called guarantor powers of Turkey, Britain and Greece retain the right to intervene militarily on the island. Greek and Turkish Cypriots are at odds over a new security blueprint, but their leaders are under pressure to reach an elusive peace deal. "I am going to Switzerland to participate in the Cyprus conference, with the sole aim and intent of solving the Cyprus problem," Anastasiades said. Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci is also set to attend the summit, which is expected to last at least 10 days. Greece, Turkey and Britain will send envoys along with an observer from the European Union. UN-led talks on the island hit a wall in late May after the sides failed to agree terms to advance toward a final summit. Unlocking the security question would allow Anastasiades and Akinci to make unprecedented concessions on core issues. But they have major differences on what a new security blueprint should look like. Anastasiades's internationally recognised government, backed by Athens, seeks an agreement to abolish intervention rights, with Turkish troops withdrawing from the island on a specific timeline. Turkish Cypriots and Ankara argue for some form of intervention rights and a reduced number of troops remaining in the north. Turkish Cypriots want the conference to focus on broader issues of power-sharing, property rights and territory for the creation of a new federation. Much of the progress to date has been based on strong personal rapport between Anastasiades and Akinci, leader of the breakaway Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. But that goodwill has appeared frayed in the build-up to their meeting in Switzerland. The Greek Cypriot presidential election next February has also complicated the landscape, as has the government's search for offshore oil and gas, which Ankara argues should be suspended until the negotiations have reached an outcome.