Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
FILE - Emergency personnel attend to a shooting victim outside a shopping center in Tucson, Ariz. in this Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 file photo taken where U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and others were shot as the congresswoman was meeting with constituents. Hundreds of pages of police reports in the investigation of the Tucson shooting rampage that wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords are being released Wednesday, March 27, 2013 marking the public's first glimpse into documents that authorities have kept private since the attack more than two years ago. (AP Photo/James Palka, File)
Records provide new look at Arizona shooting spree
Mental health » Jared Loughner’s parents and friends were alarmed by his delusional behavior.
First Published Mar 27 2013 07:04 pm • Last Updated Mar 27 2013 08:37 pm

Phoenix • Almost everyone who crossed paths with Jared Loughner in the year before he shot former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords described a man who was becoming more unhinged and delusional by the day.

He got fired from a clothing store and thrown out of college, shaved his head and got tattoos of bullets on his shoulder. He showed up at the apartment of a friend with a Glock 9 mm pistol, saying he needed it for "home protection." He made dark comments about the government, and, according to one acquaintance, appeared suicidal.

Photos
Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Loughner’s spiral into madness hit bottom on Jan. 8, 2011. He broke down in tears when a wildlife agent pulled him over for a traffic stop. He went to a gas station and asked the clerk to call a cab as he paced nervously around the store. Gazing up at the clock, he said, "Nine twenty-five. I still got time."

About 45 minutes later, Giffords lay bleeding on a Tucson sidewalk along with 11 others who were wounded. Six people were dead.

The information about Loughner’s mental state — and the fact that no one did much to get him help — emerged as a key theme in roughly 2,700 pages of investigative papers released Wednesday. Still, there was nothing to indicate exactly why he targeted Giffords.

The files also provided the first glimpse into Loughner’s family and a look at parents dealing with a son who had grown nearly impossible to communicate with.

"I tried to talk to him. But you can’t," his father, Randy Loughner, told police. "Lost, lost and just didn’t want to communicate with me no more."

His mother, Amy Loughner, recalled hearing her son alone in his room "having conversations" as if someone else were there.

Despite recommendations from Pima Community College that Loughner undergo a mental evaluation after the school expelled him, his parents never followed up.

In a statement released by the gun-control advocacy group she started with her husband, Giffords said that "no one piece of legislation" would have prevented the shooting.


story continues below
story continues below

"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."

While such checks may keep those with mental illnesses from obtaining guns, the 24-year-old Loughner had never been diagnosed with any conditions, meaning it’s doubtful much would have stopped him from legally purchasing a weapon.

Friends and family interviewed by law enforcement after the shooting painted a picture of a young man who was deeply troubled in the weeks before the shooting.

Loughner visited Anthony George Kuck, who had known him since preschool. Kuck said he was alarmed to find he had shaved his head and was armed.

"I kicked him out of my house because he showed me his gun," Kuck said.

Kuck told police he had seen Loughner’s mental state deteriorate over time, starting with drinking problems in high school, trouble with authorities and being kicked out of college.

"I know he has some crazy thoughts where he ... just believes the government is corrupt, and he has all these assumptions on things, that he doesn’t really know what he’s talking about," Kuck told investigators.

While he never heard him mention Giffords "he just seemed to have some kind of ... hate for government," Kuck added.

Kuck’s roommate, Derek Andrew Heintz, who has known Loughner since he was about 12, said he was cooking when Loughner showed up with a gun and removed it from his belt. It was loaded with 32 rounds.

He asked Loughner why he had the weapon.

"I just want to show you,’" Loughner replied.

Next Page >


Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Login to the Electronic Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.