OTR Interviews

'Creepy' red flags seen in hindsight in Colorado shooting suspect

Private gun range owner recalls James Holmes application and eerie voicemail message

 

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," July 23, 2012. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: The movie theater massacre shocking the entire nation. So were there red flags about the suspect? Weeks before the mass shooting, James Holmes applied for a membership at a private gun range. The range owner says he had questions about Holmes. Why? He says he saw several signs that Holmes was creepy and strange.

Range owner Glenn Rotkovich joins us. Nice to see you, Glenn.

GLENN ROTKOVICH, OWNER, LEAD VALLEY RANGE: Hello.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK, so he applies for -- to join your club on about June 25th?

ROTKOVICH: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did he show up or do an on-line application?

ROTKOVICH: No, he did an on-line application. We read the application, look at it, and then make a phone call back to the person to see if they can come to orientation. That's where we get to meet them, see who they are.

VAN SUSTEREN: So did -- so do you -- do you make the phone calls yourself?

ROTKOVICH: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: (INAUDIBLE)

ROTKOVICH: Yes.

VAN SUSTEREN: So you -- so when did you call him after June 25th?

ROTKOVICH: Next day.

VAN SUSTEREN: And?

ROTKOVICH: All I ended up was his voicemail, his answering service, whatever you want to call it. And it was a very bizarre, guttural, deep, rambling, undistinguishable, bizarre mess, I think is the way to put it.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did you think you had the right number?

ROTKOVICH: I had doubts. But then one of the words that was distinguishable in it was "James" and "message." So OK, it must be right. So maybe it's joke. Maybe somebody's doing something. So I left my message and waited until the next day.

VAN SUSTEREN: Did he call back the next day?

ROTKOVICH: No. I called again the next day, and the third day, which is another -- besides the bizarreness of his message, the other key is, is that here in Denver, we have a shortage of shooting ranges. So when I call somebody and say, Hey -- I leave a message, I'm calling you about the application, they usually call me back in about two hours wanting to know and do that, or I get 90 percent of all the calls in the first day.

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. Well, his message didn't change, then, from...

ROTKOVICH: No.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... the second or third day.

ROTKOVICH: No.

VAN SUSTEREN: Were there any other words you could make out in the message?

ROTKOVICH: "The" or something. I mean, it was a real -- it was a real bizarre message, and I didn't try real hard to understand it. It was just enough to say, you know, What's going on? This is kind of bizarre, to leave -- send me -- send me an e-mail that you want to join, don't call, and have something like this on your phone.

VAN SUSTEREN: So did you say anything to anybody else you work with, like, This guy's a -- you know, there's something -- this guy's a weirdo or anything?

ROTKOVICH: Well, the day of orientation, I told all my staff that if -- this guy is not scheduled to be here. We haven't heard from him. If he shows up, sit him down, get me. I want to talk to him. Don't process him, don't do anything until I see to talk to him to find out what's going on.

VAN SUSTEREN: Why did you -- why -- do you ever see people personally like that, or was this a -- just a ...

ROTKOVICH: Well, we end up talking to most of the people. But no, I don't flag them that way on a regular basis because there's no reason to. I've talked to them on the phone or I've met them personally because they came out and looked at the range and I know who they are. But this one I never did.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, when you listened to the call, like, it was - - I mean -- and I'm actually probing with you a little bit...

ROTKOVICH: Sure.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was it just like one of -- I mean, it's like, it just was just so obviously weird?

ROTKOVICH: Yes, it was a very, like I say, deep, guttural kind of just rolling -- somebody deliberately trying to do something, But I had no clue what it was.

VAN SUSTEREN: Was it a long message?

ROTKOVICH: It was longer than the average message. I would say someplace between three quarters to a minute.

VAN SUSTEREN: What did -- what did you think when -- when he got arrested for the shooting behind us at this movie theater?

ROTKOVICH: Well, I saw what was going on. I had a staff member call me and say, Hey, remember the James Holmes you said you flagged? I said, yes, why? And then she said, Well, they just said that's the name of the shooter.

And it was, like, Really? So I pulled the form, looked at it. Based on where some of your reporters were, the address, everything, the parents in San Diego, said, Yes, that's him. And a that point in time, my thought was, Thank you, Lord, for not getting us in the middle of this.

VAN SUSTEREN: And when you see this picture, I mean, you never saw the guy then...

ROTKOVICH: No.

VAN SUSTEREN: ... until you saw the picture.

ROTKOVICH: No, not until I saw the picture. The first time I saw him was the picture they had of him in his high school yearbook, which was the first picture they had of him.

VAN SUSTEREN: And you -- and he never called back?

ROTKOVICH: No, he never called back. We never talked to him or anything other than that. You know, my wandering question at this point about him is, is real simple, is where did he, with what he's doing, get the money to buy what he -- buy the equipment and the stuff that he bought in two months? We're talking $6,000 to $8,000 worth of stuff.

VAN SUSTEREN: A lot of stuff. Anyway, Glenn, thank you.

ROTKOVICH: Sure.