An attorney for the San Diego-area relatives of Aurora, Colo., shooting suspect James Holmes said today their "hearts go out to the victims and their families" of the theater attack, but the family continued to request privacy.
"The Holmes family would like to maintain their privacy, so at this time we will not be discussing James or his relationship to the family, and we would respect courtesy in that regard," attorney Lisa Damiani told reporters in downtown San Diego.
Asked if the Rancho Penasquitos family stands behind Holmes, Damiani said, "Yes they do. He's their son."
"At this time, we will not be discussing James and his relationship to the family," she added.
Holmes, 24, is accused of carrying out the Friday morning massacre in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises." Twelve people died in the shooting and dozens of others were injured.
Holmes' family is "doing as well as they can under the circumstances," Damiani said.
Damiani would not answer questions about where the family was or their reaction to Holmes' court appearance in Colorado this morning. She also would not discuss the family's relationship with their son or if they were concerned about the possibility of him facing the death penalty.
"At this point in time, they really want their privacy respected," she said. "I think everyone can imagine how they're feeling, anyone who's ever been a parent."
Damiani said she had concerns for the family's safety.
"I've had experience with cases that have this much attention, so through my personal experiences of dealing with those cases in the past, that's what causes the concern," Damiani said.
At the outset of the news conference, Damiani read a statement from the alleged shooter's mother, Arlene, in which she tried to clarify her comments to an ABC reporter who called and woke her up about 5:45 a.m. Friday.
"The media has been attributing certain statements to Arlene Holmes and taking it out of context," Damiani said.
According to the statement, the reporter asked the mother if she was Arlene Holmes, the mother of James Holmes, who lives in Aurora, Colo., and she replied, "Yes, you have the right person," referring to herself.
Asked to comment on the shooting, Arlene Holmes told the reporter she couldn't comment because she didn't know if the person he was talking about was her son, the statement read.
"She (Arlene Holmes) felt it was very important for everyone to understand the sequence of events and what he said, what she said, and not misconstrue the situation," Damiani told reporters.
Damiani said it was important that the "significant" case be tried in court, and not in the media.
She said she was referred to the Holmes' family by another lawyer.