Jared Lee Loughner being held without bail

Print
Email
|

by Catherine Holland

azfamily.com

Posted on January 9, 2011 at 1:06 PM

Updated Wednesday, Oct 30 at 8:26 AM

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Jared Lee Loughner, the suspected gunman in Saturday's mass shooting in Tucson, made his initial appearance in federal court Monday afternoon.

The shooting outside a Safeway store left six people dead, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, and 14 others wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords who remains in critical condition at University Medical Center in Tucson.

"This was an attack on our institutions and an attack on our way of life," said FBI Director Robert Mueller in a Sunday morning news conference.

Loughner was taken into custody after two men who were at Giffords' "Congress on Your Corner" event tackled him while he was trying to insert a new magazine into his weapon. Patricia Maisch grabbed the magazine and tried to get the gun away from Loughner. During the pause in the shooting that Maisch created, Roger Salzgeber and Bill Badger took the suspect down. At that point, Joe Zamudio ran over to help restrain the gunman.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Loughner likely would have continued shooting had those four people not intervened.
(Read more about one of the people being hailed as a hero in the wake of the shooting.)

Glock

A gun with an extended magazine similar to this one was used in Saturday's shooting.

Investigators have determined that the weapon used in Saturday's shooting, a 9mm Glock 19 with a 31-round magazine, was legally purchased by Loughner on Nov. 30.

Taken into custody by the Pima County Sheriff's Office within minutes of the shooting, Loughner was later transferred to federal custody and reportedly has invoked his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination.

He is being held without bail.

Loughner faces potential life in prison or death for the counts that have been filed against him.

"Disaffected, angry, and a coward"

Very little in the way of official information about Loughner has been released, but his online activity does offer some amount of insight. Loughner has his own YouTube Channel and had a MySpace page that was taken down as soon as he was identified as the suspect in the shooting.

Some say the videos Loughner posted are suggestive of anarchist tendencies.

"Based on what we know right now, you're dealing with someone who is disaffected, angry, and a coward," said Dr. Steve Pitt, a forensic psychiatrist. "Beyond that, I think it is really, really difficult to come to any definitive conclusions based on Facebook postings or YouTube rantings."

Mueller said investigators will be "looking at every one of those postings, any activity he had on the Internet, any activity he had whether it be e-mail or other communications. We'll be looking at every one of his associates to determine whether or not they continue to present a threat."

Investigators seized Loughner's computer when they search his home, where he lives with his mother.

Loughner's mental state is also a source of discussion.

"All I can tell you is that this individual may have a mental issue, and that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol," Dupnik said during a news conference Saturday evening.

Loughner was a student at Pima Community College until last October when he voluntarily withdrew. College officials said that between February and September 2010, campus police had five contacts with Loughner for classroom and library disruptions.

In September, PCC police found a video Loughner had posted on YouTube that claimed college is illegal according to the U.S. Constitution. He was suspended at that time for code of conduct violations, and withdrew a few days later.

Previous contact with Giffords?

Investigators said Sunday that Loughner apparently communicated with her Giffords and her staff when he attended another "Congress on Your Corner Event" in 2007.

"There was some correspondence between Giffords' office and him about a similar event, and he was invited to attend," Dupnik said.

When investigators searched a safe connected to the suspect, they reportedly found a letter from Giffords' officer thanking him for attending.

They also discovered a paper on which Loughner had written "assassination" and "I planned ahead," but the significance of that paper is now known.

Witnesses to Saturday's shooting said it was clear that Giffords was Loughner's intended target. Mueller confirmed that Sunday morning. Giffords was the first one shot. After that, Loughner allegedly continued firing into the crowd, hitting 19 more people.

Person of interest in Giffords shooting

Investigators were calling this man a "person of interest" in the shooting. He was later cleared.
Click for larger image

Person of interest cleared

Investigators released a photo of a man they were calling a "person of interest" in the case. He was seen entering the Safeway where the "Congress on Your Corner" event was taking place at the same time as Loughner.

"We do not have any belief at this time that that individual was a participant in the shooting. It is somebody we need to identify," Mueller said Sunday morning.

Investigators said yesterday that this man might have been some kind of accomplice, but information developed since has lead them to believe otherwise.

Pima County Sheriff's Deputy Jason Ogan said investigators did eventually talk to the man and cleared him of any involvement in the shooting.

The man is a cab driver who drove Loughner to the grocery store where the shooting took place. He told authorities he went inside with Loughner because he did not have the proper change to pay the fare.

The shooting took place shortly after the two exchanged money.

Dupnik said Sunday afternoon that there no evidence that anybody besides Loughner was involved in the shooting.

Did Loughner plan to kill himself?

Based on past-tense writings online, there has been some speculation that Loughner might have intended to commit suicide, but authorities have said they can't comment on that until the investigation is complete.

Authorities said they do not believe Saturday's shooting is part of a larger threat.

"Given this tragedy, all logical precautions are in place to best insure the safety of other public officials," Mueller said. "There is no information at this time to suggest any specific threat remains."

Federal complaint filed

At this point, Loughner is charged with one count of attempted assassination of member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government (Judge John Roll and Giffords' staffer Gabe Zimmerman) and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee (staffers Pam Simon and Ron Barber).

The federal complaint was signed by Magistrate Judge Michelle Burns in Phoenix.

While additional federal charges, as well as state charges, could be forthcoming, Loughner made his initial court appearance before Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson in a Phoenix courtroom Monday afternoon.

According to the Rules of Criminal Procedure, a grand jury has to review the evidence and issue and indictment within 30 days of that initial appearance. The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona is working on that indictment.

Well-known public defender Judy Clarke, who represented Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, reportedly will appear with Loughner at his initial court appearance Monday afternoon.The Federal Public Defender's Office in Phoenix is recommending that she be appointed to represent Loughner going forward.

He remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing. He could face the death penalty if convicted for the murder of Judge Roll and Zimmerman.

Process in peril?

While members of Congress have said they will not let Saturday's shooting keep them from hosting meet-and-greet events like "Congress on Your Corner," many have said they will considering taking more precautions, including using more secure locations and requesting a visible police presence.

Congress members say informal gatherings like "Congress on Your Corner" are essential when it comes to connecting with constituents.

Some fear that Saturday's mass shooting in Tucson might cause lawmakers to host fewer such events.

Print
Email
|