James Holmes Emails: Accused Colorado Theater Shooter Had 'Romantic Relationship' with Grad Student

The university made close to 3,800 emails public.

December 5, 2012, 8:55 PM

Dec. 5, 2012— -- Accused movie theater shooter James Holmes had "a brief romantic relationship" with a graduate student at the University of Colorado, according to one of thousands of emails released to ABC News today.

The revelation came from an email written by an employee of the university, Larry Hunter, to a colleague late in the morning after Holmes is alleged to have killed 12 and wounded 58 at a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Hunter wrote to his colleague, "Yeah, he was a grad student here, and, it turns out, had a brief romantic relationship with one of the grad students in my program last fall. She, fortunately, it turns out is in India right now. She knows, and is pretty freaked out."

The rampage is considered the most extensive mass shooting in U.S. history.

PHOTOS: Colorado 'Dark Knight Rises' Theater Shooting

Another email nearly two weeks after the shooting seemed to show growing concern from at least one student about the way the university was responding.

On Aug. 2, 2012, upon learning that Holmes' psychiatrist, Lynne Fenton, had gone to a university threat assessment team about Holmes before the theater massacre, one University of Colorado student wrote an angry letter to the CU communications department. In it, she said, "This is a major failure of the system. You need to address this issue with the students. We deserve to know what's going on here."

The same day, two professors in the University of Colorado's oncology department exchanged emails about a story that noted Holmes had been referred to the threat assessment team.

Said professor Gail Eckhardt to colleague Well Messersmith, "It's really getting messy and heads are going to roll over this -- so tragic."

In July, ABC News and other news organizations filed a series of public records requests with the University of Colorado asking to see the chain of emails by or between key university officials in the days and weeks following the attack.

Soon after that request, a gag order was issued preventing the release of documents such as the one described above.

ABC News also requested to inspect any emails Holmes may have sent to professors or others related to non-personal items such as federally funded research for the university.

Last month, a judge released CU from its gag order.

Today, the university made nearly 3,800 emails public, including approximately 2,300 redacted emails from university employees and an additional 1,500 from two university email accounts belonging to Holmes, himself.

CU also withheld nearly 1,000 emails from university officials and nearly 1,200 emails from Holmes, telling ABC News, "There are additional e-mails not subject to disclosure because they are student records."

ABC News is in the process of sifting through the trove of emails released today. You can check back ABCNews.com for updates.

If you have information or a tip you would like to share about the Holmes case, you can email mark.p.greenblatt@abc.com.

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