The Washington Times - July 23, 2012, 07:21PM

The Denver Channel writes that James Holmes, the 24-year old accused of shooting 71 people, 12 of them fatally, at a mid night showing of The Dark Knight Rises premiere in Aurora, Colorado has also caused some online agita for a number of individuals who share his name:

The lack of a digital footprint for Holmes has created some unpleasantness for an unexpected group: people who share his relatively common name, live in the area of the shooting and do have a Web presence.

“It amazes me how insensitive, heartless and just plain old IGNORANT some people are in this world,” a different James Holmes, this one a fitness instructor who, like the suspect, lives in Aurora, wrote on his Facebook page. “In the last 24 hours I have received hate mail, racist remarks, and sexual advances. I have over 400 friend requests in which a quarter of those are ppl mocking the real killer to gain attention and this was all AFTER the identity of the real killer was revealed …”

James P. Holmes, who lives in the Denver area, left a similar note on Facebook, albeit in a more wry tone.

“I am not a 24-year-old gun-slinging killer from Aurora, I am a 22-year-old book-slinging mass eater from Littleton … ,” he wrote. “James Holmes happens to be a pretty common name, surprisingly, so try not to jump the gun. Regards, A different guy named James Holmes.”

With few, if any, conclusions to draw, Rutledge said the most interesting observation about society as a whole may be how surprised we are that the suspect did not use social media.

“It’s a testimony to how normal participating in the social media world is when we look at the lack of presence as an anomaly,” she said. “(We wonder,) ‘What’s wrong with this guy that he’s not at least on Facebook?’” 


This is not the first time in the age of internet digital footprints and crowd sourcing that individuals have pointed to the wrong person involved in a tragedy or crime. Brian Ross of ABC News had to retract and later apologize for mis-identifying a James Holmes as the suspect who is involved with the Colorado Tea Party. 

Spike Lee found himself in trouble when he re-tweeted the name, as well as address, of an individual who shared the same name as Trayvon Martin shooter George Zimmerman to his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers. The elderly couple at the address was forced to live at a hotel for a while after receiving violent threats from the public.