Major findings in records about 2011 Tucson shootingsPosted: Updated:
As authorities investigated the rampage that killed six people and wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, they compiled nearly 3,000 pages of documents that include everything from interviews with survivors and victims to police reports filed from the scene of the crime.
Giffords released a statement after the records were released. She said:
"The details released today regarding the shooting in Tucson reaffirm what this country already knew: The mentally disturbed young man who shot me and murdered six should never have had access to a gun. No one piece of legislation will end all gun violence, just like no one piece of legislation would have prevented the Tucson shooting.
"However, I hope that commonsense policies like universal background checks become part of our history, just like the Tucson shootings are - our communities will be safer because of it. There isn't a day that goes by that I don't think of all who were at the Congress on Your Corner event with me, and all who were affected by the shooting, and give thanks for the bravery of all the first responders who tried to limit the carnage and protect human life that day. "
The documents were released Wednesday, and they provide new insight into how the shooting occurred and the motivations behind gunman Jared Loughner. One of the main themes to emerge was the increasingly erratic behavior of Loughner, perhaps summed up best by his father as he told investigators: He "just doesn't seem right lately."
A look at some of the major findings:
The gunman was polite and cooperative with authorities who were holding him the afternoon following his morning shooting rampage. The conversation as Loughner sat in restraints in an interview room was mainly small talk. Little was said over the four hours. Loughner asks at one point if he can please use the restroom and says "Thank you" when allowed. At another point he complained that "I'm about ready to fall over."
Loughner's mother, Amy, described his run-ins with authorities, his use of marijuana and cocaine, his journals and his increasingly erratic behavior. She also says the parents took a shotgun away from Loughner after he was kicked out of a community college and tested him for drugs because his behavior was so strange.
Despite the bizarre behavior and his school's recommendation he undergo a mental health evaluation, the parents didn't seek help for him. Loughner, who was ultimately diagnosed with schizophrenia, often talked to himself in the year before the shooting and even laughed during the conversations, which weren't angry or about hurting anyone, his mother said. "And sometimes he would look like he was having a conversation with someone right there. Be talking to someone. I don't know how to explain it. I don't."
Randy Loughner said his son became increasingly difficult, and it was a challenge to have a rational conversation with him. "I tried to talk to him. But you can't, he wouldn't let you," he said "Lost, lost, and just didn't want to communicate with me no more." Randy Loughner said his son "just doesn't seem right lately."
Despite their son's increasingly bizarre behavior, Loughner's parents never got him help. Randy Loughner said his son had never been diagnosed with a mental illness. Had he seen a doctor, the detective asked. "No," replied the father. The parents were also asked about any journals or writings that Loughner kept. The father said they were written in an indecipherable script.
GOING TO THE SCENE
Loughner went to a convenience store immediately before the shooting and had the clerk call a cab for him. As he waited for the car, he was pacing inside and outside the store and went to the bathroom three or four times. The employee said that as Loughner was waiting for the cab, he looked up at a clock and said, "nine twenty-five, I still got time."
A wildlife agent pulled Loughner over earlier in the day for a traffic violation. He cried and said, "I've just had a rough time," and then composed himself, thanked the agent and shook his hand after he was let go with a warning. The agent asked Loughner again if he was OK, and Loughner said he was going home.
Giffords intern Daniel Hernandez helped tend to his boss after she was shot in the head. In an interview, he described the chaos: "She couldn't open her eyes. I tried to get any responses for her. Um, it looked like her left side was the only side that was still mobile. Um, she couldn't speak. It was mumbled. She was squeezing my hand.
"I did some training as a Certified Nursing Assistant and as a phlebotomist, um, when I was in high school. So I knew that we need to see if she's got a pulse. She was still breathing. Her breathing was getting shallower. Uh, I then lifted her up so that she wasn't flat on the ground against the wall," he said.
Hernandez described how constituents and other people were lining up to see Giffords, and he was helping people sign in. He recalled handing Loughner a clipboard. "The next thing I hear is someone yell, 'gun,"' he said.
Doris Tucker was talking to Giffords when she was shot. All she recalls of Loughner was a dark, slim shape. "I remember screaming and ... hearing the terrible noise, and seeing the cartridges fly," said Tucker, whose husband was wounded. "I was talking, the next thing I knew, she was down. ... I saw her fall." Witness Lane Beck was pulling up in her car, with Giffords and the line of constituents in full view. Loughner was "kind of hopping up and down as he was shooting," she said. "His face was very animated."
Patricia Maisch said Loughner walked up the line of people waiting to talk to Giffords and shot people at random, including the woman next to her. Then, three men tackled him. In the ensuing struggle, Loughner tried to reload. "He was partly on top of me. I had laid down to get out of the line of fire, I didn't know what else to do. ... Apparently he was out of bullets. He pulled the clip out, so I grabbed the clip and would not let him have that." Maisch then kneeled on Loughner's ankles while others held him down, until she noticed that one of the men was bleeding from his head. She went into the Safeway supermarket to get paper towels to stanch the flow of blood.
On the day of the shooting, Loughner friend Bryce Tierney told investigators that Loughner had called him early in the morning and left a cryptic voicemail that he believed was suicidal. "He just said, 'Hey, this is Jared. Um, we had some good times together. Uh, see you later.' And that's it." He tried to call back, but it was a restricted number that didn't register on his phone.
Loughner's father considered his son's firing as a salesman at an Eddie Bauer store to be a turning point. Asked about how the firing affected his son, Randy Loughner said: "He just wasn't the same. He just, nothing, nothing worked, seem to go right for him."
EXPELLED FROM COMMUNITY COLLEGE
Hours after the shooting, Randy Loughner mentioned a video that caused Pima Community College to expel his son. "They didn't like his video. `Cause, he's always, his First Amendment rights. He's, uh, he's too intelligent. You know? And they, and it, and they, they dismissed him from school. Told him he needed to go see, seek medical help to come back to school. ... He felt that the pigs were out to get him."
Loughner bought a 12-gauge shotgun in 2008, but his parents took it away from him after he was expelled from college and administrators recommended that any firearms be taken away. The shotgun was the only gun his parents knew Loughner owned.
A few weeks before the shooting, Loughner showed up at the apartment of boyhood friend Anthony Kuck with a 9 mm pistol in his waistband. Loughner said he bought the gun for Christmas for "home protection." Kuck's roommate, Derek Heintz, said Loughner left a bullet as a souvenir. Kuck said he had seen Loughner deteriorate over time: problems with drinking in high school, trouble with police, being kicked out of college, then showing up with a shaved head, bullet tattoos on his shoulder and a gun. "I just know his personality is not normal."
CARING FOR GIFFORDS
A firefighter described how he cared for Giffords after arriving at the scene. "You'd ask her to grab your hand and she would grab your hand," he said. He and paramedics rushed her to the hospital in an ambulance, giving her oxygen and an IV.
One-time Loughner friend Zachary Osler was an employee at a store where Loughner later bought a Glock handgun before the shooting. Loughner bought the Glock 9 mm handgun with a 15-round magazine in November 2010. Loughner had a military style haircut and cleared all background checks. He used a Visa card to pay the $559 for the gun and a box of ammo. Osler was questioned about seeing Loughner shopping inside, sometime before Thanksgiving. He describes an awkward encounter with his former friend. "His response is nothing. Just a mute facial expression. And just like he, he didn't care." Osler told investigators he had grown uncomfortable with Loughner's personality, "He would say he could dream and then control what he was doing while he was dreaming." Osler says Loughner never mentioned Giffords to him. Osler remembered Loughner coming into the gun store on at least two occasions in the previous year, including once to apply for a job, for which he was denied. Osler said hello to Loughner during one of the visits, but Loughner didn't acknowledge or look at him and just continued onward.
Osler said when he learned that Loughner was the suspect in the shooting, "my jaw just dropped. And I was like I know this person. Why he would do it? What would his motive be? If he had people help him? I do not know."
A few weeks before the shooting, Loughner showed up at the apartment of boyhood friend Anthony Kuck with a 9mm pistol in his waistband. Loughner said he bought the gun for Christmas. He insisted it was for "home protection," Kuck's roommate, Derek Andrew Heintz, told a Pima County Sheriff's detective and FBI agent who interviewed him the evening after the shooting. Loughner left Heintz with a souvenir: A bullet.
Police reports show what authorities found in Loughner's possession after the shooting. In Loughner's left front pocket were two magazines for a Glock, both fully loaded. In his other front pocket was a foldable knife with about a 4-inch blade. In his back right pocket, he had a baggie with some money, a Visa credit card and his Arizona driver's license. He was wearing a black beanie, a black hoodie-type sweatshirt, khaki pants and Sketchers shoes.
At Loughner's house, police found two shotguns in the trunk of a car parked in the garage, where they also found photographs of President Bill Clinton and other Pima County officials, including Rep. Raul Grijalva eating at a Mexican restaurant. A search of a safe in Loughner's room turned up a gunlock, an envelope with his Glock's serial number on it and two spent bullet casings. The envelope said he planned to go ahead with an assassination. Items seized included a copy of the Anarchist Cookbook, photo negatives and writings.
A witness described seeing an ominous-looking man in his early 20s wearing a backpack near the shooting scene. The witness later described recognizing Loughner as the same person from photos on the news.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press. All rights reserved. CBS 5 (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation) contributed to this report.