July 20 (Reuters) - The family of suspected gunman James Eagan Holmes said on Friday their hearts go out to those involved in the Colorado movie shooting and asked for their privacy to be respected.
Twelve people were killed and 59 injured early on Friday when a gunman in a gas mask hurled a gas canister into the midnight showing of the new "Batman" movie in Aurora, a Denver suburb, and started shooting.
The 24-year-old suspect, who was taken into custody, was in the process of withdrawing from the graduate program in neurosciences at the University of Colorado Denver, a school spokesman said.
In San Diego, where Holmes' parents live, police Lieutenant Andra Brown read a statement from the family.
"Our hearts go out to those who were involved in this tragedy and to the families and friends of those involved. We ask that the media respect our privacy during this difficult time," it said.
"Our family is cooperating with authorities in both San Diego, California and Aurora, Colorado. We are still trying to process this information and we appreciate that people will respect our privacy."
Brown said Holmes had graduated from high school in San Diego but did not specify which school he attended. (Editing by Ellen Wulfhorst and Xavier Briand)