Steven Unruh, a 38-year-old Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office Detention Facility former inmate, claims he met James Eagan Holmes right after the Colorado movie theater shooting where 12 were killed and 58 were injured during a midnight showing of Christopher Nolan's film The Dark Knight Rises.
Unruh, who got out of prison last January after serving six years for methamphetamine and credit-card fraud convictions, told Westword he was still in the detention center's booking area when officers brought Holmes — "whose head was initially covered with a hood."
"I didn't know who he was," Unruh says. "[But] I could hear some black dudes yelling from the other side, 'You're a piece of shit! Kill yourself!' I had been in prison before, so they said, 'Tell this dude he's not going to be all high and mighty on the prison yard,'" Unruh added.
Authorities deny Unruh could have had that kind of access to Holmes, who was put into a cell by himself ever since he was brought to the detention center. However, Unruh claims inmates in the area were able to communicate "by shouting through a small gap in the cell doors."
Unruh says he talked to Holmes about the way "poorly child killers are received in prison." And that he heard the so-called Batman shooter "pounding on the wall with his fists" and "slamming his body and his head into the wall" (Holmes was admitted at the hospital last week for trying to kill himself by banging his head against the wall in a "half-hearted" suicide attempt).
Unruh also claims he told Holmes "not to do that [banging his head against the wall]." And that the Aurora shooter told him "he felt like he was in a video game" during the shooting, that "he wasn't on his meds" and "nobody would help him."
But Captain Vince Sauter, of the Arapahoe County Sheriff's Office, says the center's layout would have prevented the kind of communication Unruh claims. Meanwhile, Lieutenant J.D. Knight, who supervises booking operations, added, "it would be virtually impossible [for Unruh] to have any of the communications he claims."