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Classification: Mass murderer
Characteristics: The motive for the shooting remains unclear; Loughner did not cooperate with authorities, invoking his right to remain silent
Number of victims: 6
Date of murders: January 8, 2011
Date of arrest: Same day
Date of birth: September 10, 1988
Victims profile: Christina-Taylor Green, 9 / Dorothy "Dot" Morris, 76 / John Roll, 63 / Phyllis Schneck, 79 / Dorwan Stoddard, 76 / Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman, 30
Method of murder: Shooting (9mm Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol)
Location: Tucson, Arizona, USA
Status: Pled guilty. Sentenced to serve seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison without parole on November 8, 2012

photo gallery

the victims


Criminal Complaint


United States Court of Appeals
For the Ninth Circuit


United States of America v. Jared Lee Loughner


Jared Lee Loughner (born September 10, 1988) is an American who pled guilty to 19 charges, of murder and attempted murder, in connection with the shooting in Tucson, Arizona, on January 8, 2011, that killed six people, including Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll, as well as a 9-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green. The shooting also left 14 others injured, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords.

Personal background

Loughner is the only child of Randy and Amy Loughner. They were described by a neighbor as a very private family. While Loughner had friends in high school, neighbors noted that in the years following he would keep to himself and not respond to others.

Behavior change

Loughner attended Mountain View High School, and dropped out in 2006. Around this time, those who knew him noted a change in his personality. Kelsey Hawkes, who dated Loughner for several months in high school, later said she could not believe it was him after hearing of his arrest. "I've always known him as the sweet, caring Jared", said Hawkes, 21, then a student at the University of Arizona.

At some point, Loughner was fired from his job at a Quiznos restaurant, with his manager saying he had undergone a personality transformation. After this, Loughner briefly volunteered at a local animal shelter, walking dogs, but he was asked not to return. The shelter manager later said, "He was walking dogs in an area we didn't want dogs walked...he didn't understand or comprehend what the supervisor was trying to tell him. He was just resistant to that information."

According to court records, Loughner had had two previous offenses: in October 2007, he was cited in Pima County for possession of drug paraphernalia and on October 13, 2008, he was charged after defacing a street sign in Marana, near Tucson (which was dismissed following the completion of a diversion program in March 2009).

Drug and alcohol use

Zach Osler, a high school classmate of Loughner's, and his closest friend, indicated that Loughner's life began to unravel after his high school girlfriend broke up with him, and he then began to abuse alcohol and other drugs, specifically Salvia divinorum (a natural hallucinogen illegal in some states). Another longtime friend, Kylie Smith, added that he had used cannabis (marijuana), psychedelic mushrooms, and LSD around that same time. Loughner quit using marijuana (as well as alcohol and tobacco) in late 2008 and has not used it since, according to one of his longtime friends. The U.S. Army confirmed that Loughner had been rejected as "unqualified" for service in 2008. According to military sources, Loughner admitted to marijuana use on numerous occasions during the application process.

Suspension from school

From February to September 2010, while a student at Pima Community College, Loughner had five contacts with college police for classroom and library disruptions. On September 29, 2010, college police also discovered a YouTube video shot by Loughner, in which his spoken commentary stated that the college was illegal according to the United States Constitution. He described his school as "one of the biggest scams in America". The video led to Loughner being suspended from the school.

The college told Loughner that if he wanted to come back to school, he needed to resolve his code of conduct violations and obtain a mental health clearance (indicating, in the opinion of a mental health professional, that his presence did not constitute a danger to himself or others). On October 4, Loughner and his parents met with campus administrators and Loughner indicated he would withdraw from the college. During Loughner's time at Pima, a classmate said she thought he might commit a school shooting. One of his teachers has claimed a similar suspicion after the Tucson shooting.

Expressed views

Views on politics

Records show that Loughner was registered as a Republican and voted in 2006 and 2008, but not in 2010. A YouTube channel under an account called "Classitup10" was linked to Loughner. (There have been numerous copies of 'impostor accounts' such as 'JaredLoughner and Classitup1O.)

Loughner's high school friend Zach Osler said, "He did not watch TV; he disliked the news; he didn't listen to political radio; he didn't take sides; he wasn't on the Left; he wasn't on the Right." But a former classmate, Caitie Parker, who attended high school and college with Loughner, described his political views as "left wing, quite liberal," "radical."

In the aftermath of the shooting, the Anti-Defamation League reviewed messages by Loughner, and concluded that there was a "disjointed theme that runs through Loughner's writings", which was a "distrust for and dislike of the government", which "manifested itself in various ways"--for instance, the belief that the government used the control of language to brainwash people, the notion that the government was creating "infinite currency" without the backing of gold and silver, or the assertion that NASA was faking spaceflights.

Dislike for Gabrielle Giffords

According to a former friend, Bryce Tierney, Loughner had exhibited a longstanding dislike for Gabrielle Giffords. Tierney recalled that Loughner had often expressed a view that women should not hold positions of power. He repeatedly derided Giffords as a "fake". This belief intensified after he attended her August 25, 2007 event when she did not, in his view, sufficiently answer his question: "What is government if words have no meaning?" (Loughner kept Giffords' form letter, which thanked him for attending the 2007 event, in the same box as an envelope which was scrawled with phrases like "die @#!*%" and "assassination plans have been made".) Zane Gutierrez, a friend, later told the New York Times that Loughner's anger would also "well up at the sight of President George W. Bush, or in discussing what he considered to be the nefarious designs of government."

Conspiracy Theories

His friend Zach Osler noted that conspiracy theories had a profound effect on Loughner, particularly the online conspiracy theory film Zeitgeist: The Movie, with which friends claimed Loughner held an obsession. He was a member of the conspiracy theory message board Above Top Secret, although members of the site did not respond warmly to his posts. Loughner espoused 9/11 conspiracy theories, New World Order conspiracy theories, and beliefs in a 2012 apocalypse, among other controversial viewpoints. Reports appearing after the shooting noted similarities between the statements made by Loughner and the views of conspiracy theorist David Wynn Miller. The Anti-Defamation League's report also confirmed Loughner's longstanding interest in conspiracy theories.

Views on religion

While there was a great deal of speculation about Loughner being anti-Semitic due to his hatred of and attempted murder of Rep. Giffords, who is Jewish, the Anti-Defamation League's analysis of the messages by Loughner found that he had a more generalized dislike of religion. Loughner declined to state his religion in his Army application, and has stated that "God couldn't be a possible" and "I won't trust in God!" on YouTube and Internet forums.

Changes in attitude and demeanor

Tong Shan, a former friend and classmate of Loughner's, recalled observing significant changes in his attitude and demeanor a year prior to the shooting. Shan, who became friends with Loughner on the day of their high school graduation, said that they would often spend time together after class but lost touch after the semester ended. When they met again in mid-2010, Shan recalled that Loughner appeared "radically different". "From the way he was talking to me [online] can see. It was just questions and questions and random, weird questions that didn't go together," she said. "He wanted to know everything...he would just trip out." Recounting her early experiences with Loughner in light of the shooting, Shan said Loughner was "a good person that just somehow changed so much. I don't know what the hell happened to him." Shan stated that her last encounter with Loughner was in October 2010, after he was suspended and dropped out of school and just before he purchased the semi-automatic handgun used in the massacre. She said that while Loughner was "anti-government," he never appeared violent, nor did he ever mention his plans to buy a gun.

Several classmates recalled an incident in which Loughner, during a class discussion, had mocked and laughed at a young woman who was describing her abortion. One classmate described Loughner's reaction as "wildly inappropriate". "(Loughner) started making comments about terrorism and laughing about killing the baby," former classmate Don Coorough recalled to ABC News. Yet another classmate, Lydian Ali, recalled that "a girl had written a poem about an abortion. It was very emotional and she was teary eyed and he said something about strapping a bomb to the fetus and making a baby bomb out of it."

Former classmate Caitie Parker remembered Loughner as a "pot head". Loughner has a history of drug use, having been arrested in September 2007 for possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. "I haven't seen him in person since '07," Parker recalled in early 2011. "I'm looking back at this [as] a 14–19 year old...who knows if any of us knew what for sure we were yet."

Loughner also became obsessed with controlling what he perceived to be lucid dreams.

Tucson shooting

Loughner allegedly purchased a 9mm Glock pistol used in the shooting from a Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson on November 30, 2010. The night before the shooting, he left a message on a friend's voicemail saying, "Hey man, it's Jared. Me and you had good times. Peace out. Later." In a Myspace post the morning of the shooting at 4:12 am, he wrote "Goodbye friends. Please don't be mad at me. The literacy rate is below 5%. I haven't talked to one person who is literate. I want to make it out alive. The longest war in the history of the United States. Goodbye. I'm saddened with the current currency and job employment. I had a bully at school. Thank you. P.S. --plead the fifth!" Photos on the Myspace page showed a close-up picture of a handgun sitting atop a document titled "United States History."

At 7:04 am MST (UTC-7), Loughner went to a Wal-Mart store in the Foothills Mall to purchase ammunition but left the store and completed his purchase at a Super Wal-Mart on North Cortaro Road at 7:28 am. He was stopped by an Arizona Game and Fish Department officer at 7:34 am MST (UTC-7) for running a red light but once the officer determined there were no outstanding warrants for Loughner, he was allowed to proceed to his destination with a warning to drive carefully. He then took a taxi to a Safeway supermarket location in Casas Adobes, where Giffords was holding a constituents meeting. The shooting occurred on January 8, 2011 at 10:10 am MST (UTC-7). Loughner allegedly opened fire on Giffords as well as numerous bystanders, killing six people. Thirteen other people were injured by gunfire, and one person was injured while fleeing the scene of the shooting. Giffords, the apparent target of the attack, was shot in the head and left in critical condition.

Arrest and legal proceedings


Loughner was subdued by bystanders and was arrested by police, saying, "I plead the Fifth," as he was taken into custody. A photograph taken by the Pima County Sheriff's Office's forensic unit was released to the media on January 10, 2011 and published on front pages nationwide. The Washington Post described the picture as "smirking and creepy, with hollow eyes ablaze," while the art director for the New York Times stated it was placed on the front page because it "was the picture of the day [...] it was intense and arresting. It invited you to look and study, and wonder."

Charges and imprisonment

Loughner was charged in federal court with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of murder of a federal employee (including Judge Roll), and two counts of attempting to murder a federal employee. He was indicted on three of the charges on January 19, 2011. Loughner was held without bail in the Federal Correctional Institution at Phoenix, kept isolated from other inmates 23 hours a day and allowed out of his cell for just one hour a day to shower and exercise. On February 24, 2011, he was transferred to the United States Penitentiary in Tucson.

Attorney Judy Clarke, a former federal public defender who in the past had represented suspects in several high profile murder and terrorism cases, was appointed to represent Loughner in federal court. The entire federal judiciary of the state of Arizona recused themselves from hearing the case because of their ties to victim and fellow judge, John Roll. Federal prosecutors opposed motions to move the case outside of Arizona because of pre-trial publicity. At the direction of Ninth Circuit Appeals court Chief Judge Kozinski, the federal case was assigned to San Diego-based Judge Larry Alan Burns (from the Southern District of California).

Prosecutors representing Arizona, which has concurrent jurisdiction in the matter, announced they intended to file murder and attempted murder charges on behalf of the other victims, those who were not members of Congress or federal employees (although they could legally file charges on behalf of all the victims). Arizona law does not permit a verdict of "not guilty by reason of insanity", but does allow for a verdict of "guilty but insane."

Initial pleading and additional charges

On January 24, 2011, Loughner appeared at the Sandra Day O'Connor U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix, before Judge Larry Alan Burns from San Diego. Loughner, whose hair had partially regrown since his arrest, smiled while presented with the charges related to the shooting, including the attempted killing of Giffords and two of her aides. Loughner's attorney, Judy Clarke, requested that Judge Burns select a plea on her client's behalf, to which a plea of not guilty was recorded. When Burns asked Clarke if Loughner understood the charges against him, she replied that they were "not raising that issue" at the time. She also did not object to a request by prosecutors to have future hearings moved back to Tucson.

On March 3, 2011, a federal grand jury indicted Loughner on additional charges of murder and attempted murder for a total of 49 counts. On March 9, 2011, Loughner pleaded not guilty to all 49 charges.

Relationship with lawyers

On May 25, 2011, Judge Burns stated, "I got some letters declaring some conflict with his counsel...I intend to table them at this time. At such a point that his competency is restored, if he wants to bring up the matter of counsel, he can renew it then." The judge suppressed the letters from the court record.

Medico-legal proceedings

On May 25, 2011, Judge Burns ruled Loughner was then incompetent to stand trial. Court proceedings were suspended while Loughner, who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, undergoes psychiatric treatment at the psychiatric wing of the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield, Missouri. He was scheduled to appear in court on September 21, 2011, but that hearing was delayed until September 28, 2011, when the judge reviewed whether he could understand the charges against him and could assist in his own defense. (Loughner’s lawyers unsuccessfully objected to him appearing at the hearing.) Loughner disrupted the court hearing with an outburst, and was carried from the court room. According to the New York Times, Loughner believes he succeeded in killing Giffords, and clashed with his lawyer when she informed him that the congresswoman had survived.

Forced medication rules

On June 26, 2011, Judge Burns ruled that prison doctors could forcibly medicate Loughner with antipsychotic drugs in order to make him fit to stand trial. However, on July 12, 2011, a three-judge federal appeals panel from the Ninth Circuit ruled that Loughner could refuse anti-psychotic medication, since he "has not been convicted of a crime, is presumptively innocent and is therefore entitled to greater constitutional protections than a convicted inmate." However, the ruling stated that it "does not preclude prison authorities from taking other measures to maintain the safety of prison personnel, other inmates and Loughner himself, including forced administration of tranquilizers".

A week after the ruling, prison medical authorities resumed forcible treatment of Loughner with the antipsychotic risperidone, this time citing Washington v. Harper and stating the purpose of treatment was the need to control the danger he posed to himself and others in prison, rather than rendering him fit for trial. Loughner's defense team submitted an emergency motion to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit claiming that this treatment was in violation of their ruling and seeking an immediate injunction to halt treatment. The request for an injunction was denied by the court, allowing treatment to continue pending a full hearing into the matter. Arguments began on August 30 as to the lawfulness of this treatment, and in March 2012 a federal appeals court denied a request by Loughner's lawyers to halt his forced medication.

On May 24, 2012 a federal judge ordered a competency hearing for June 27 (later postponed until August 7) to determine Loughner's mental fitness to stand trial . He remained at a federal prison hospital in Missouri pending the entry of his plea. A request by Loughner's lawyers to rehear arguments on forced medication was denied on June 5, 2012.

Guilty plea and sentencing

On Tuesday, August 7, 2012, Judge Burns found Loughner competent to stand trial. Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 counts at the hearing, which spared him the death penalty. The hearing began with Loughner listening calmly to testimony from Dr. Christina Pietz, Loughner's forensic psychologist, who testified that he had displayed depressive symptoms in 2006 and was formally diagnosed with schizophrenia in 2011. Dr. Pietz then stated that she believed that, after having been forcibly medicated for more than a year, Loughner had expressed remorse and was a changed individual, and that he was competent to stand trial and agree to a plea. Sentencing was set for November 15, 2012 at 10 a.m. local time. The sentence could not include the death penalty, because the guilty plea bargain was made with an assurance that it would not be sought; Loughner therefore under the law faced a mandatory sentence of life imprisonment without the possibility of parole. Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, retired NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, U.S. Representative Ron Barber, a former aide to Mrs. Giffords, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, and the U.S. Attorney for Arizona, John S. Leonardo, had all approved the plea, which was offered and accepted after consultation with them and with the loved ones of the other victims.

Loughner, by pleading guilty in the deal, automatically then waived his right to any further appeals and cannot later alter his plea to an insanity plea. Loughner must pay a restitution of $19 million, $1 million for each of the victims. He forfeited the weapons he used in the incident, and any money earned from efforts to sell his story. Loughner calmly answered that he understood each charge, and signed his initials after each page of the agreement and shakily signed his name to it, dated August 6.

On November 8, 2012, Loughner appeared in front of U.S. District Court Judge Larry Alan Burns, some of the victims he shot and relatives of those killed in a Tucson court. He was sentenced to serve seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison without parole.


Jared Loughner sentenced to life in Tucson mass shooting

By Michael Muskal - Los Angeles Times

November 8, 2012

Jared Lee Loughner, who shot former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head, killed six and wounded 12 others in a 2011 Tucson rampage, was sentenced to life in prison without parole after listening to some of his victims berate him for damaging their lives.

Loughner, now 24, received the sentence in a Tucson federal court after a series of emotional confrontations. After one woman spoke about the pain of losing her husband to Loughner’s bullet, Giffords turned to her husband, retired astronaut Mark Kelly, and kissed him on the head, according to reports from journalists inside the courtroom.

When it was their turn to confront the shooter, Kelly and Giffords stood and looked directly at Loughner. It was the first time that Giffords has been face-to-face with Loughner. The defendant returned the couple’s gaze as Kelly explained how the bullet had changed his wife’s life, but couldn’t damage her spirit.

"Gabby would trade her own life for one you took on that day,” Kelly said of his wife, whose efforts to recover have inspired many people across the nation.  “Every day is a continuous struggle to do the things she was once so very good at.”

“Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head but you haven't put a dent in her spirit and her commitment to make the world a better place,” Kelly said, according to media reports.

"You tried to create for all of us a world as dark and evil as your own,” said the former astronaut as he looked at Loughner. “But know this, and remember it always: You failed."

“You have decades upon decades to contemplate what you did. But after today, after this moment, here and now, Gabby and I are done thinking about you.”

Giffords, who did not speak, kissed Kelly when he finished. Then he took her hand and they walked away, the former lawmaker limping.

Loughner, who wore a dark brown shirt with a tie, did not speak at his sentencing.

The scene sparked tears among many in the courtroom, according to journalists who tweeted from the scene. But it was just one of many emotional moments as the federal phase of the case came to a formal, and negotiated, end.

Giffords was making a routine political appearance at a supermarket parking lot in her Tucson district on the morning of Jan. 8, 2011, when Loughner opened fire.

Amid the chaos of the shots, passers-by wrestled Loughner to the ground. Before he was subdued, he had fired 31 more shots, six fatal.

The nation waited as doctors worked to save Giffords’ life in what has been described as a miraculous recovery. She then turned to her long-term and widely followed rehabilitation. Her first visit to Congress before stepping down from office led to a prolonged ovation from her colleagues.

The facts in the case were never in doubt. Loughner was the only suspect. The key issue  focused on whether he would avoid the death penalty because of his mental health. After the shooting, Loughner was diagnosed with schizophrenia and underwent forcible psychotropic drug treatments.

It was after those treatments that Loughner realized that he had only wounded Giffords, whom he saw as the personification of a government the shooter said he hated, prosecutor Wallace Kleindienst said in his comments to the court.

U.S. District Court Judge Larry A. Burns, who presided over the proceedings, had previously ruled that Loughner was capable of understanding the charges against him. This paved the way for a plea agreement designed to ensure that Loughner would spend the rest of his life in prison without possibility of parole. Three months ago, Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges. The agreement includes the dismissal of 30 other charges and a sentence of seven consecutive life terms, followed by 140 years in prison.

“The evidence clearly shows that he knew what he was doing, despite his mental illness,” Burns said in handing down the sentence. He called the length of the sentence justified.

Susan Hileman, one of the victims, shook as she addressed the court.

“We've been told about your demons, about the illness that skewed your thinking,” said Hileman, adding, “It's all true. ... It's not enough.”

“You pointed a weapon and shot me three times,” she said, staring directly at Loughner. He looked back at her. “And now I walk out of this courtroom and into the rest of my life and I won't think of you again.”

Loughner's mother Amy, sitting in the courtroom, wiped tears from eyes.

“There is no way to make sense of those senseless acts,” said another of the wounded, Rep. Ron Barber, a former top aide to Giffords who replaced his boss in Congress. “Our lives are forever changed."


2011 Tucson shooting

On January 8, 2011, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people were shot during a public meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, near Tucson, Arizona. Six of those shot died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll; one of Rep. Giffords' staffers; and a nine-year-old child, Christina-Taylor Green. Giffords was holding a constituent meeting called "Congress on Your Corner" in the parking lot of a Safeway store when prosecutors allege Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head, subsequently firing on other people. One additional person was injured in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. News reports identified the target of the attack as Giffords, a Democrat representing Arizona's 8th congressional district. She was shot through the head at point-blank range, and her medical condition was initially described as "critical".

Loughner, a 22-year-old Tucson man who was fixated on Giffords, was arrested at the scene. Federal prosecutors filed five charges against him, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress and the assassination of a federal judge. Loughner had a history of drug possession charges and had been suspended by his college for disruptive behavior. Court filings include notes allegedly handwritten by Loughner indicating he planned to assassinate Giffords. The motive for the shooting remains unclear; Loughner did not cooperate with authorities, invoking his right to remain silent. Loughner was found by a judge to be incompetent to stand trial based on two medical evaluations.

Following the shooting, there was an outpouring of grief and condemnations from American and international politicians. Attention focused on the harsh political rhetoric in the United States. Some commentators blamed members of the political right wing for the shooting; in particular, Sarah Palin was implicated because of gun-related metaphors in her speeches and because of the website of her political action committee which "targeted" the districts of Giffords and others with pictures of crosshairs on an electoral map. Others defended Palin by noting that Loughner was an anarchist who hated all politicians regardless of their affiliation. Gun control advocates pushed for increased restrictions on the sale of firearms and ammunition, specifically high-capacity ammunition magazines. President Barack Obama led a nationally televised memorial service on January 12, and other memorials took place.


The shooting took place on January 8, 2011, at 10:10 am MST (17:10 UTC). A United States Representative from Arizona, Gabrielle Giffords, was holding a constituent meeting called "Congress on Your Corner" at the Safeway supermarket in La Toscana Village mall, which is in Casas Adobes, an unincorporated area north of Tucson, Arizona. Giffords had set up a table outside the store and about 20 to 30 people were gathered around her when Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot Giffords in the head. The shooting was caught on video by a store security camera.

Loughner allegedly proceeded to fire apparently randomly at other members of the crowd. The weapon used was reported to be a 9mm Glock 19 semi-automatic pistol with a 33-round magazine. A nearby store employee said he heard "15 to 20 gunshots". Loughner stopped to reload, but dropped the loaded magazine from his pocket to the sidewalk, from where bystander Patricia Maisch grabbed it. Another bystander clubbed the back of the assailant's head with a folding chair, injuring his elbow in the process, representing the 14th injury. The gunman was then tackled to the ground by 74-year-old retired US Army Colonel Bill Badger, who himself had been shot, and was further subdued by Maisch and bystanders Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zamudio. Zamudio was a CCW holder and had a weapon on his person, but arrived after the shooting had stopped and did not use the firearm to engage or threaten the gunman.

The first call from the scene to emergency services was received at 10:11 am. While waiting for help to arrive, Giffords' intern Daniel Hernández, Jr. applied pressure to the gunshot wound on her forehead, and made sure she did not choke on her blood. Hernández was credited with saving Giffords' life. David and Nancy Bowman, a married doctor and nurse who were shopping in the store, immediately set up triage and attended to nine-year-old Christina-Taylor Green.

Police arrived on the scene at 10:15 am, with paramedics arriving at 10:16 am. Badger observed the assailant attempting to discard a small bag containing money and identification, which was recovered by the officers. Following the shooting, the roads surrounding the shopping center were shut down until late in the day. The intersection was cordoned off and most of the businesses in the shopping center were closed throughout the weekend during the initial investigation. The Safeway store reopened a week later, with a makeshift memorial erected near the front of the store.

Five people died at the scene, including Chief Judge John Roll and Giffords' community outreach director Gabe Zimmerman. Most of the injured were taken to University Medical Center in Tucson. Christina-Taylor Green was later pronounced dead on arrival at the hospital.

When Loughner's parents arrived at their home, unaware of the shootings, to find police tape and police cars around their house, neighbor Wayne Smith said Loughner's mother "almost passed out right there," while his father sat in the road and cried. Smith described the family as "devastated", feeling guilty, and wondering "where did they fail?" Loughner's parents released a statement three days later expressing remorse for the victims and saying "We don't understand why this happened."

Gabrielle Giffords

Gabrielle Giffords was reported to be the target of the shootings. Some news organizations initially reported that she had been killed, but these statements were quickly revised to reflect that she had survived with a gunshot wound to the head. Daniel Hernandez Jr., an intern to U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, assisted Giffords after she was wounded and is credited with saving her life.

Giffords was taken to University Medical Center in critical condition, though she was still conscious. Within 38 minutes, Giffords underwent emergency surgery, and part of her skull was removed to prevent further brain damage caused by swelling. She was placed into a medically-induced coma to allow her brain to rest. During a memorial ceremony on January 12, President Barack Obama announced that earlier that day Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time since the attack.

As Giffords' status improved, she began simple physical therapy. On January 21, less than two weeks after the attack, her condition was deemed sufficiently stable for her to be released to Houston's Memorial Hermann Medical Center. A few days later she was moved to the center's Institute for Rehabilitation and Research to undergo a program of physical therapy and rehabilitation. After examination, her Houston doctors were optimistic, saying she has "great rehabilitation potential". Medical experts expect Giffords' recovery to take from several months to more than one year.

On August 1, she made her first public appearance on the House floor to vote in favor of raising the debt limit ceiling. She was met with a standing ovation and accolades from her fellow members of Congress. Giffords engaged in intensive rehabilitation treatments in Asheville, North Carolina from October 25 through November 4. In Kelly's memoir, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope, released in November 2011, he reports that Giffords vows to return to Congress, although she continues to struggle with language and has lost 50 percent of her vision in both eyes.

On January 22, 2012, Giffords announced that she would resign from her congressional seat in order to concentrate on her recovery, but promised to return to public service in the future. She submitted her resignation on January 25 on the floor of the House, in an emotional appearance with colleagues and the House leadership offering their tributes to her courage and strength.


Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect, was described as a white male in his mid-20s with short hair and "dressed in a shabby manner". He was arrested after being detained by bystanders, and police later released his name and details. The FBI attempted to question Loughner, but he reportedly refused to cooperate with authorities and invoked his Fifth Amendment right.

Authorities have said the alleged shooter's motivation was unknown. However, evidence seized from a safe in Loughner's home included an envelope marked with notes reading "I planned ahead", "My assassination", and "Giffords", as well as a letter from Giffords's office thanking him for attending a similar event in 2007.

Federal officials charged Loughner on the next day with killing federal government employees, attempting to assassinate a member of Congress and attempting to kill federal employees. Police reports reveal he had purchased a Glock pistol at a Sportsman's Warehouse store less than six weeks before and attempted to buy additional ammunition for the pistol at a Walmart on the morning of the shooting, but the clerk refused to sell it to him based on his appearance and demeanor.

As the shooting occurred outside the Tucson city limits in unincorporated Casas Adobes, the Pima County Sheriff's Department started the initial investigation with assistance from the Tucson Police Department and the Arizona Department of Public Safety. Federal Bureau of Investigation director Robert Mueller was ordered to the location by President Obama, and the FBI is ready to take over the investigation. The United States Capitol Police are also conducting an investigation.


Jared Lee Loughner, the primary suspect, was 22 years old and lived with his parents in Tucson, about 5 miles (8.0 km) from the site of the shooting. Grant Wiens, who attended high school and college with Loughner, described him as "kind of an interesting character" who kept to himself and was opinionated. Caiti Parker, who claimed she knew the suspect in high school four years earlier, described him as a politically radical loner. Classmates noted that Loughner was critical of religion.

Little was initially known about the suspect, but his online presence was soon discovered, as he had accounts on both Myspace and YouTube. His Myspace profile included a pistol on a photograph of a U.S. history textbook. Hours before the incident, Loughner's Myspace page was updated with posts from his account stating, "Goodbye," and said to friends: "Please don't be mad at me." Long before the shooting Loughner had posted numerous text and videos on the Internet. He briefly discussed terrorism saying:

If I define terrorist then a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon. I define terrorist ... If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is ad hominem. You call me a terrorist.

A YouTube channel under an account called "Classitup10" was attributed to Loughner. The profile of this account stated among other things that some of the subject's favorite books were The Communist Manifesto, Animal Farm, Mein Kampf, Plato's Republic, and We the Living; one video told viewers that they "don't have to accept the federalist laws", called for a return to the gold standard, and accused the government of mind-controlling and brainwashing the citizenry. The YouTube profile also listed works such as The Wizard of Oz, Peter Pan, Gulliver's Travels, and Through the Looking-Glass. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik conceded that there was no evidence that the shooting was a result of anything in particular that Loughner might have read or heard.

Loughner attended Pima Community College until school authorities suspended him after receiving complaints of his inappropriate behavior in class. He had also posted a video on YouTube on September 23, 2010, in which he described the college as "one of the biggest scams in America". Loughner chose to drop out in October 2010, rather than having the mental health evaluation and clearance which would have been required for him to re-enroll.

According to court records, Loughner had two previous offenses, one of which was for drug possession. U.S. Army officials said that Loughner had attempted to enlist, but his application had been rejected as "unqualified" for service in 2008. They declined further disclosure due to confidentiality rules, although an administration official indicated to the media that this was due to a failed drug test.

Bryce Tierney, a friend of Loughner, received a voice message from Loughner eight hours before the shooting. Tierney stated that Loughner held a grudge against Giffords for failing to answer a question sufficiently, in his view. Loughner previously met Giffords at a "Congress on your Corner" event in a Tucson mall on August 25, 2007, where he asked the congresswoman, "How do you know words mean anything?"

Pima County Registrar of Voters records show that Loughner registered as an independent on September 29, 2006, and voted in 2006 and 2008 but not in 2010.

Police reports reveal he had purchased a Glock pistol at a Sportsman's Warehouse store less than six weeks before and attempted to buy additional bullets for the pistol at a Wal-Mart on the morning of the shooting. News reports indicate that the clerk at the first Wal-Mart where Loughner attempted to buy the ammunition may have refused to sell it to him based on his appearance and demeanor. Wal-Mart declined requests to confirm or deny the incident.

On the day of the attack Loughner's parents arrived at their home after a shopping trip, unaware of the shootings, to find police tape and police cars around their house. Neighbor Wayne Smith told them what happened. Smith said Loughner's mother "almost passed out right there," while his father sat in the road and cried. Smith described the family as "devastated", feeling guilty, and wondering "where did they fail?" Loughner's parents released a statement on January 11, 2011, expressing remorse for the victims and saying "We don't understand why this happened."

Earlier on the day of the shooting, Loughner is reported to have had an altercation with his father, who had watched his son take a black bag from a car trunk. After being confronted about the bag, Loughner mumbled and ran away, resulting in his father chasing him in a car. A bag matching the description was later found in a nearby desert area containing 9mm amunition, and according to a Pima County Sheriff's Deputy it is believed to belong to Loughner. Later that morning, at approximately 7:30 am, Loughner was stopped by an Arizona Game and Fish Department officer after running a red light, but was released with a warning after it was determined that there were no outstanding warrants against him.

Legal proceedings

Loughner was held in the Federal Correctional Institution at Phoenix without bail. All federal judges based in Arizona recused themselves from the case because of their ties to Judge Roll, who was killed in the attack. It was decided that the federal case would be heard by a San Diego-based jurist, Judge Larry Burns from the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. Public defender Judy Clarke (also based in San Diego) was appointed to represent Loughner in federal court.

On January 19, a federal grand jury handed down an indictment for three counts against Loughner for the attempt to assassinate Representative Giffords, and attempting to kill two federal employees, Ron Barber and Pamela Simon. Loughner was indicted on additional charges of murder and attempted murder on March 3, for a total of 49 counts against him. Prosecutors representing the State of Arizona filed murder and attempted murder charges on behalf of the victims who were not federal employees. Under Arizona's speedy trial statutes, Arizona state prosecutors normally have ten days from the time a suspect is taken into custody to file charges, but time spent in federal custody does not count toward this limitation.

Conviction in either federal or state court meant that Loughner could face the death penalty. The United States federal laws governing defendants with mental diseases or defects were reviewed and resulted in the Insanity Defense Reform Act of 1984, after John Hinckley, Jr. was acquitted by a court over the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan in March 1981. Arizona law does not permit a verdict of not guilty by reason of insanity, but does allow for a verdict of guilty but insane.

On May 25, 2011, Loughner was found by a judge to be incompetent to stand trial based on two medical evaluations. However, a new evaluation was due January 25, 2012. He was forcibly medicated following his diagnosis of schizophrenia. On February 6, 2012, his stay at the Springfield, Mo facility was extended by four months. A request by Loughner's lawyers to end forced medication was denied. Another competency hearing was set for June 27, 2012 but was later rescheduled for August 7, 2012.

On August 7, 2012, a federal judge found Loughner competent to stand trial. Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 counts at the hearing, which spared him the death penalty. The hearing began with testimony from Dr. Christina Pietz, Loughner's forensic psychologist, who testified that she believed Loughner was competent to stand trial. Sentencing is set for November 15, 2012 at 10 a.m. local time.


Six people were killed in the attack; all but Christina-Taylor Green died at the scene of the shooting. The deceased are (in alphabetical order by surname):

  1. Christina-Taylor Green, 9, of Tucson. Green was accompanied to the meeting by neighbor Susan Hileman. Born on September 11, 2001, she had appeared in the book Faces of Hope: Babies Born on 9/11 (page 41). She was the granddaughter of former Major League Baseball player and manager Dallas Green.

  2. Dorothy "Dot" Morris, 76, a retired secretary from Oro Valley; wife of George, who was wounded.

  3. John Roll, 63, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Arizona, named to the federal bench by President George H. W. Bush in 1991.

  4. Phyllis Schneck, 79, homemaker from Tucson.

  5. Dorwan Stoddard, 76, retired construction worker, from a gunshot wound to the head; his wife Mavy was wounded.

  6. Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman, 30, community outreach director for Giffords, and a member of Giffords' staff since 2006.

Thirteen people were wounded in the attack; a fourteenth person was injured at the scene, but was determined not to have been shot. Gabrielle Giffords and two other members of her staff were among the surviving gunshot victims.



In the wake of the shooting, Democrats and Republicans both called for a cooling of political rhetoric and a return to bipartisanship. On the eve of the shooting, Giffords herself had written to a Republican friend, Trey Grayson, Secretary of State of Kentucky, saying, "we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down." In March 2010, Giffords had expressed concern about the use of crosshairs on a national midterm election map on Sarah Palin's campaign webpage denoting targeted congressional seats including Giffords's, in Arizona's 8th district. Shortly after the map's posting and the subsequent vandalizing of her office that month, Giffords said, "We're in Sarah Palin's 'targeted' list, but the thing is that the way she has it depicted, we're in the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district. When people do that, they've got to realize that there are consequences to that action." At that point in the interview however, even the interviewer stated "campaign rhetoric and war rhetoric have been interchangable for years." The image was removed from Palin's "takebackthe20" website following the January shootings. Palin responded to her critics in a January 12 video, rejecting the notion that anyone other than the actual gunman could bear any responsibility for the Tucson shooting and accusing the press of manufacturing a "blood libel" to blame her and the right wing for the attacks.

The political climate in the United States and in Arizona in particular was pointed to by some observers as a possible contributing factor for the violent act. For example, Clarence Dupnik, Pima County Sheriff, initially expressed concern that overheated political rhetoric and violence may be related, observing, "When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down the government. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous." He felt that Arizona had unfortunately become "the capital" of such feelings. "We have become the mecca for prejudice and bigotry," he said. However, Dupnik later said that he had no evidence that the alleged murders were a result of anything particular Loughner may have read or heard. International media referred to the political climate in the United States and the Palin map in particular.

The French newspaper Le Monde said that the attack seemed to confirm "an alarming premonition that has been gaining momentum for a long time: that the verbal and symbolic violence that the most radical right-wing opponents have used in their clash with the Obama administration would at some point lead to tragic physical violence." President Barack Obama called the shooting an "unspeakable tragedy", adding that "such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society". Arizona Governor Jan Brewer called the attack "senseless and cruel violence" and House Speaker John Boehner said, "An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society". Chief Justice John Roberts issued a statement noting, "we in the judiciary have suffered the terrible loss of one of our own", with the death of Chief Judge John Roll.

Political figures such as Arizona's United States Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi issued statements. Numerous foreign politicians additionally commented on the shooting, including Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon, British Prime Minister David Cameron, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero, and Cuba's Fidel Castro.

Senator Chuck Schumer called for a fresh look at gun control laws in the United States, including the possibility of prohibiting the sale of high capacity magazines, and prohibiting a person who has been rejected for military service due to drug use from owning a gun. Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter T. King announced that he would introduce a bill to ban the carrying of firearms within 1,000 feet (300 m) of certain federal officials. Representative Carolyn McCarthy announced that she would introduce legislation to ban the sale of high-capacity ammunition magazines to civilians.


Some media commentators, such as Howard Kurtz and Toby Harnden, criticized what they perceived as a rush to judgment about the shooter's motivation, disputing suggestions that the shooting was the result of the Tea Party movement or anything in connection to Palin. Paul Krugman wrote an op-ed piece arguing that political rhetoric had become toxic. With renewed calls to tone down political rhetoric after the shooting, Keith Olbermann apologized for any of his own words that might have incited violence saying, "Violence, or the threat of violence, has no place in our Democracy, and I apologize for and repudiate any act or any thing in my past that may have even inadvertently encouraged violence." Jon Stewart stated that he did not know whether or not the political environment contributed to the shooting, but, "For all the hyperbole and vitriol that's become a part of our political process—when the reality of that rhetoric, when actions match the disturbing nature of words, we haven't lost our capacity to be horrified. ... Maybe it helps us to remember to match our rhetoric with reality more often."


U.S. flags flown by the federal government were displayed at half-staff from January 9, 2011 until sunset on January 15, 2011 in honor of the victims of the Tucson shooting. A national moment of silence was held at 11:00 am EST on January 10, 2011 on the South Lawn of the White House as well as the steps of the United States Capitol. Obama went to Tucson on January 12 where he met with the families of the victims and visited Giffords at her bedside in the medical center before attending the evening's televised memorial ceremony where he delivered a memorial speech.

Among other memorials: when the Safeway store reopened after the shooting, the staff erected a makeshift memorial; at the 2011 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Giffords' intern, Daniel Hernandez Jr., was accompanied onto the field by the families of the shooting victims, and threw the ceremonial first pitch; and for the 2011 State of the Union Address, Senator Mark Udall of Colorado proposed that members of both houses sit together regardless of party, with one seat left empty in honor of Giffords.

Christina-Taylor Green, the youngest of the victims, had wanted to attend college at Penn State University to study political science. In March 2011, then-university president Graham Spanier announced at a Board of Trustees meeting that because Green had "a profound impact on the university community", she was memorialized with a brick on the Alumni Walk at the Hintz Family Alumni Center. The university also issued her parents a diploma-like certificate recognizing Green for her embodiment of Penn State ideals of academic excellence, athletic success with honor and compassionate civic leadership.


On the night of January 11, Governor Brewer signed emergency legislation to prohibit protests within 300 feet (91 m) of any funeral services, in response to an announcement by the Westboro Baptist Church that it planned to picket the funeral of shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green.

On Sunday, January 16, eight days after the shooting, Vietnam War veteran James Eric Fuller, who had been shot in the knee during the attack, was arrested for disorderly conduct at a town hall meeting. After Tucson Tea Party figure Trent Humphries, who had faulted Giffords for not having enough security, stated that gun control measures should not be discussed until all those killed in the shooting were buried, Fuller allegedly took a picture of Humphries and shouted, "You're dead." In an interview during the week after the shooting, Fuller had criticized Palin and what he called the "Tea Party crime-syndicate" for promoting a divisive political climate before the attacks. The police then committed him to an undisclosed medical facility to undergo a psychiatric evaluation. A police spokesman stated that the hospital will determine when he will be released. Meanwhile Humphries said that he was worried about Fuller's threat, and the dozens of other angry e-mails he received from people blaming right-wing political rhetoric for contributing to the assassination attempt on Giffords



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