Alleged movie theater shooter worked at Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters camp


(JTA) — James Holmes, the alleged shooter who killed 12 in a crowded Colorado movie theater, reportedly worked at a summer camp operated by Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles.

Holmes, 24, spent a summer working as a counselor for Camp Max Straus in Glendale, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reported Saturday. According to its website, the camp serves underprivileged children of all ethnic and religious backgrounds.

He is suspected of opening fire on the crowd late Thursday night at a midnight screening in Aurora, Colo., of the new Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises." Twelve people were killed and 58 were injured in the shooting spree.

Holmes was arrested shortly after the shootings. He reportedly set off smoke bombs before firing at the crowd.

In a statement to the Los Angeles Times, Randy Schwab, chief executive of Jewish Big Brothers Big Sisters of Los Angeles and director of Camp Max Straus, said of Holmes, "His role was to ensure that these children had a wonderful camp experience by helping them learn confidence, self-esteem and how to work in small teams to effect positive outcomes." In a later e-mail, Schwab added, "That summer provided the kids a wonderful camp experience without incident."

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent a letter to President Obama on Saturday expressing his condolences and those of the Israeli people to the families of the Americans who were murdered in the theater.                                                                                                     

"All Israelis stand alongside the American people in mourning over this terrible tragedy which claimed the lives of so many," Netanyahu wrote. "We well understand the pain and loss that you are experiencing."

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