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Posted: 6:03 p.m. Friday, July 20, 2012
SALINAS, Calif. —
James Holmes, the suspect in the movie theater massacre, grew up just outside the Bay Area in Salinas and his former neighbors spoke to KTVU about him Friday.
Neighbors painted a completely different picture of the boy they used to call Jimmy.
Those who knew the boy are having a tough time wrapping their minds around what happened. Many remember him as a boy with bright eyes and sharp mind.
A time zone away from the theater massacre, in the quiet farming community of Salinas, Kony Eng, a former neighbor, was reading the news online.
"It was right there: "Dark Night," Aurora, Colorado, midnight showing," Eng said.
Eng was neighbors with shooting suspect when Holmes was a boy.
He said he remembers Holmes as a little kid who used to ride his bike around the block.
Eng said Friday he is clearly shaken by the man James Holmes has become.
"Jimmy Holmes, I can't make the connection," he said. "It's a disconnect, something has transpired in his life that has (made him) lash out."
In the same Salinas neighborhood, Julia Lonero remembers Holmes from the neighborhood pool.
She didn't make the connection when she heard the suspected shooter's name, but something about the suspect's photo seemed familiar.
"It was those beautiful eyes he had," Lonero said. "(I was) just amazed that he went and did that education. Impressed he went that far. Saddened that something happened like that."
Holmes' father was at the San Diego airport Friday en route to Denver.
San Diego police Lt. Andra Brown., a spokesperson for the family, has asked for privacy.
"As you can understand, the Holmes family is very upset by this," Brown said. "It's a tragic event and it's taken everybody by surprise."
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