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Colorado tea partier describes ‘surreal’ day of wrongly being linked to theater massacre

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Alex Pappas
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      Alex Pappas

      Alex Pappas is a Washington D.C.-based political reporter for The Daily Caller. He has also written for The Washington Examiner and the Mobile Press-Register. Pappas is a graduate of The University of the South in Sewanee, Tenn., where he was editor-in-chief of The Sewanee Purple. While in college, he did internships at NBC's Meet the Press and the White House. He grew up in Mobile, Ala., where he graduated from St. Paul's Episcopal School. He and his wife live on Capitol Hill.

Colorado Tea Party Patriots member Jim Holmes told The Daily Caller in a Friday interview that his day has been “surreal” after falsely being linked to the movie theater massacre in Colorado by an on-air ABC News reporter.

“What kind of idiot makes that kind of statement?” Holmes told TheDC. “Really, seriously, how do we take a journalist seriously when it’s pretty clear they really haven’t done any sort of check on their facts?”

Holmes has the unfortunate coincidence of sharing a similar name with James Holmes, the 24-year-old accused of going on a rampage during a midnight showing of the “Dark Knight Rises” in Aurora, Colo., early Friday morning.

Because of this, ABC News reporter Brian Ross, appearing on “Good Morning America” on Friday, suggested the suspect could be a member of the tea party, citing the fact that “there’s a Jim Holmes of Aurora, Colorado, page on the Colorado Tea Party site.”

But Ross had the wrong guy: The tea partier he was referring to is this 52-year-old former law enforcement officer. ABC News was forced to apologize online.

Holmes told TheDC that ABC News didn’t call him before going to air and he still hasn’t heard from them or received a direct apology. “No, not a thing,” he said.

“They could’ve contacted me through the Tea Party Patriots website,” said Holmes, who said he only recently joined the group and started attending lectures. (RELATED: Tea party leader tells media to stop ‘reckless and false’ reporting)

Recalling his day, Holmes said his wife first told him about the movie theater shooting Friday morning. He then received a text from a friend telling him that he was being mentioned on the news.

After the calls started pouring in, Holmes unplugged his home phone. He wanted to learn more about what was being said about him before commenting to anyone, he said. “I was getting called from area codes I just don’t get.”

“And I don’t anticipate plugging my phone in for a couple of days,” he said.

His message to reporters: “I do understand what making a mistake means… But is it really worth the person’s reputation, the potential ruining of the person’s reputation?”

He added that he knows from his law enforcement experience that one should “never, ever, ever bring somebody’s name or association into an accusation into the public eye until I know the truth.”

Holmes said it has also been a chilling day for him and his family because he considered going to see the midnight opening of the Batman film with his 19-year-old daughter.

But she decided to go see a film at another theater with her boyfriend that night, he said.

“I decided not to,” Holmes told TheDC. “I might have been there. Seriously.”

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