Tucson shooting investigation brings indictment for Loughner, conflict between county departmentsPosted: Updated:
TUCSON, Ariz. -- A three count indictment Wednesday for accused Safeway shooter Jared Lee Loughner.
A federal grand jury here in Tucson accuses him of attempting to assassinate representative Giffords and trying to kill two of her aides, Ron Barber and Pamela Simon.
Those counts are just the beginning of the legal action.
And the U.S. Attorney's Office confirms it plans to file other charges that could carry the death penalty. State charges also are pending.
Also Wednesday, more details released from day of the shooting, by Pima county sheriff's officials in interviews with the associated press and several major media outlets.
Security camera footage reportedly caught the gunman in the act of shooting the congresswoman and others. But releasing this new information has apparently led to a so-called 'controversy' between the sheriff's department and the county attorney's office.
A key piece of evidence in the case against accused shooter Jared Loughner is security camera footage captured in the parking lot of the Safeway grocery store.
"There's a portion of the tape where you can see very clearly that Jared, the suspect, comes out of one of the doors," said the chief investigator for the Pima County Sheriff's Department, Richard Kastigar. "He walks around a table, a collapsible perhaps a six-foot table and when he does so, with very significant purpose, he walks up to the congresswoman, points gun at her face and shoots. She is barely in frame of that video. It was clear to me he was within 24 to 36 inches of her face with the weapon."
Kastigar also reportedly said Jared Loughner appeared very calculated and deliberate in the 5-second video clip, which also shows him shooting judge john roll at close range while he tried to protect Giffords' employee Ron barber. Roll died in the attack and Barber was hurt.
Wednesday morning the sheriff's department canceled a scheduled interview with Kastigar and immediately issued a statement saying they'll release no further information on the shooting, because of a 'controversy' between the county attorney's office and them.
The County Attorney's office wouldn't comment, but Tucson Defense Attorney Brick Storts believes they likely wanted to stop the sheriff's department from releasing such specific details to the public.
"I think that probably is a big factor that the publicity is just overwhelming. And I think the county attorney's office is concerned," said Storts.
Storts thinks if the case were closer to trial, the county attorney would be concerned about tainting a jury pool with those details, but even now, there are certain ethics standards lawyers have to follow concerning trial publicity.
"The whole idea is it's designed and specifically talks about not prejudice anybody either for or against a particular case, and don't try it in the newspapers," said Storts. "That's the best way to put it i think."
Storts insists all the same details will come out either at trial, or in court filings leading up to it.
Storts points out the sheriff's department is likely just trying to be transparent, but the county hasn't even indicted Loughner yet. Loughner will be back in a federal courtroom in Phoenix on Monday.
And one of Giffords' fellow members of Congress is calling for a ban on multiple-round ammunition magazines, like the one used in the Tucson tragedy.
Democratic Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy of New York plans to introduce new legislation to the house.
It would ban ammunition magazines that hold more than ten rounds. McCarthy says there's no need for them.
"We are not taking away the right to anyone owning a gun," said McCarthy. "That's already been settled by the supreme court. But, it doesn't mean that we can't do something towards gun safety to save lives."
The Tucson tragedy isn't McCarthy's only reason for introducing the legislation.
Her husband was killed and her son seriously wounded by a gunman packing high-capacity ammunition magazines on the long island railroad back in 1993.