RANCHO PENASQUITOS (CBS) — “They appreciate all your prayers and support.”

A longtime friend of Bob and Arlene Holmes — parents of the suspect in the Aurora, Colorado massacre at a theater showing “Dark Knight Rises” — walked out of their Rancho Penasquitos home Friday thanking the public on their behalf.

The couple’s son James is accused in the massacre that has left 12 dead and 70 injured, as many as six of those critically.

The massacre occurred more than 1000 miles away, but as CBS2/KCAL9’s Stacey Butler reports from Rancho Penasquitos, this tragedy obviously hits close to home.

Many of the couple’s friends came to support them and probably to share in the disbelief. Butler reported that some of the friends left the house too distraught to talk.

San Diego police escorted one apparent family member — believed to be the alleged killer’s father — out of the house while guarding the front door in a bid to keep reporters and photographers away. Bob Holmes flew to Colorado and didn’t speak to reporters there.

The Holmes family has hired an attorney and have asked for privacy. Said Lisa Damiani, “It’s a very, very sad day. That’s really all we can say.”

The alleged shooter’s mother is believed to be in seclusion inside her home.

At the home, a card of support was left on the front door.

Neighbors recall James Holmes — they called him “Little Jimmy” — as a very bright kid.

One woman remembered hanging out with James and his sister. Said Brianna, “We used to walk the neighborhood and sell goldfish and lemonade.”

A former professor says James was “remarkably bright.”

The professor, neighbors, friends of his parents all agree on one thing. They cannot believe James Holmes is a suspected mass murderer.

Said one neighbor, “It’s just very sad. The parents are very nice. My heart goes out to them.”