Widow Sues Psychiatrist in Colorado Theater Shootings

January 17, 2013

The widow of a man killed in the Colorado movie theater shootings has sued a psychiatrist who once saw suspect James Holmes as a patient, saying the doctor should have asked police to detain Holmes before the shootings.

Chantel Blunk filed suit in Denver federal court Monday alleging psychiatrist Lynne Fenton was negligent in not asking police to place a 72-hour psychiatric hold on Holmes. The suit says Holmes told Fenton on June 11 that he fantasized about killing people.

Fenton works at the University of Colorado, Denver where Holmes was a student. Holmes withdrew about five weeks before he opened fire in the theater on July 20, killing 12, including Blunk’s husband, Jonathan, authorities said. Another 70 people were injured.

Holmes is charged with multiple counts of murder and attempted murder. He has not entered a plea.

The university said in a written statement it is sympathetic to the victims and survivors but that the suit is not well founded legally or factually.

Fenton’s attorney declined to comment.

The lawsuit does not ask for a specific amount in damages.

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