Arlene Holmes, Colorado shooter James Holmes' mother, has disputed a media account of her reaction to the "Dark Knight" killings last Friday, in which she allegedly told a reporter, "You have the right person," regarding her son.
However, ABC News has stood by its account of the phone conversation with Holmes. The network said a San Diego woman identifying herself as James Holmes’ mother, Arlene, spoke briefly with a news crew Friday morning.
Although she said she had awoken unaware of the news of the shooting and had not been contacted by authorities, "speaking on instinct" she expressed concern that her son may have been involved, according to ABC.
"You have the right person,” Arlene Holmes said, according to ABC. "I need to call the police,” she added. “I need to fly out to Colorado."
The network said its producer, Matthew Mosk, spoke exclusively with Holmes in her California home in the hours after news of the massacre broke.
However, Holmes family attorney Lisa Damiani read a statement Arlene Holmes to the press in San Diego on Monday, saying that she needed to "clarify" the comments attributed to her.
The statement, cited by Politico, said: "I was awakened by a call from a reporter by ABC on July 20 about 5:45 in the morning. I did not know anything about a shooting in Aurora at that time. He asked if I was Arlene Holmes and if my son was James Holmes who lives in Aurora, Colorado. I answered yes, you have the right person. I was referring to myself.
"I asked him to tell me why he was calling and he told me about a shooting in Aurora. He asked for a comment. I told him I could not comment because I did not know if the person he was talking about was my son, and I would need to find out."
According to police, Holmes killed 12 people and injured 58 others during a shooting rampage at an opening night screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" July 20, in Aurora.
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Washington Times reported that Damiani began the news conference by telling reporters: "The reason we’re here is that the media has been attributing certain statements to Mrs. Holmes and taking statements out of context."
Asked if the family stood by James Holmes, Damiani responded: "Yes they do. He's their son."
The Huffington Post suggested that any misreporting by ABC would constitute "another black eye" for the network, which had previously erred in its coverage of the killings in Aurora.
ABC was forced to retract an unverified claim by reporter Brian Ross that Holmes might have been affiliated with the Tea Party.
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