Local psychologists try and get inside the mind of James Holmes

By Sara Belsole

COLUMBUS, GA – 24-year-old James Holmes sat quietly in court Monday morning, hair died orangish-red, showing no emotion.

Authorities say Holmes' motives for allegedly killing 12 and shooting dozens more are still unclear, but say the shooting was “deliberate and planned.”

People around the country still asking the same question, why did he do it?

“I think when the combination of things happen, when you have someone who is a loner, who has very few connections with people, who is very bright, clever, creative, I think you can get immersed in a fantasy culture,” Dr. Michael Burgan says.

Burgan is a licensed psychologist at the Pastoral Institute in Columbus.  He also lived in Aurora, Colorado for seven years.

“It wouldn't be too difficult to imagine circumstances occurring when he would lose touch with reality and get into that idea of violence,” Burgan says.

Holmes was denied bond at today's hearing and is being held in solitary confinement.

“I would say we are created to live in a sense of community and we lose that sense of connectedness with others and isolate ourselves it could lead to destructiveness, to this kind of rampage,” Dr. Ronald King, Executive Director/CEO of the Pastoral Institute, says.

Mental health officials say it's important for communities to look for warning signs and try and get help for those who seem troubled.

“His mental illness was apparently being showed a number of ways and the parents or his teachers or his friends or someone could have gotten him help that maybe would have prevented this,” Burgan says.

And because of the media attention the shooting has gotten, psychiatrists say it's important to sit down with your children and talk about what happened.

“For younger children, I would say assure them of their safety and that means talking about how you as a parent are going to do everything you can to keep them safe and prevent something like this from happening to them,” Burgan says.

Holmes will be formally charged next Monday.