Parents Took Loughner's Gun as He Grew Unstable
He also cried at traffic stop on morning of Arizona shooting, documents show
By John Johnson, Newser Staff
Posted Mar 27, 2013 3:05 PM CDT
A 2011 photo of Jared Lee Loughner.   (AP Photo/U.S. Marshal's Office, File)

(Newser) – Jared Lee Loughner started acting so erratically in the months leading up to his 2011 shooting spree that his parents confiscated his shotgun on the advice of the community college that expelled him, reports the Arizona Republic. (Loughner used a different weapon in the Tucson rampage.) His father even worked on disabling Loughner's car so he couldn't get out at night, reports the New York Times. The revelations come from a trove of newly released documents on the case that show Loughner in a downward spiral that worried his family and acquaintances, reports AP and CNN:

  • His mother: "Sometimes you'd hear him in his room, like, having conversations," she told police. "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." She said she urged her son to get psychological help, but he didn't do it.
  • Crying at traffic stop: Loughner got pulled over hours before the shooting for running a red light, and when the officer said he'd let him go with a warning, Loughner started to cry. "So I asked him if he was OK," said the officer. "And he said, 'Yeah, I'm OK, I've just had a rough time and I really thought I was gonna get a ticket, and I'm really glad that you're not.'"

  • His father: "I tried to talk to him. But you can't. He wouldn't let you. Lost, lost and just didn't want to communicate with me no more." On confiscating the gun: "That totally set him over, I think."
  • Childhood friend: "I kicked him out of my house because he showed me his gun," Andrew Kuck told police, recalling a visit several weeks before the shooting when Loughner showed up armed. Loughner explained he had the gun for protection—he had grown paranoid about the police and others being out to get him—and gave Kuck's roommate a souvenir bullet.
  • Gabby Giffords connection: Another friend says Loughner, who had developed a hatred of government, once asked the visiting congresswoman, "What is government and stuff?" and didn't get an an answer he liked. "I feel like he had ... something against Gabrielle Giffords."
  • Suicide call? The same friend says Loughner left him a phone message the morning of the shooting: "He just said, 'Hey, this is Jared. Um, we had some good times together. Uh, see you later.' And that's it."

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Showing 3 of 30 comments
HD3822
Mar 28, 2013 8:21 AM CDT
Goes to show that every case is different, and even when people try to take safeguards it will always come down to those who want to hurt others will find a way. People can try to ban everything they can think of in an easy way to try and "solve" crime etc. However, in the end there will always be a Ted Bundy who picks up a tree branch in the parking lot and kills. Then he found a Golf Club after using the tree branch and killed again. He could have gotten a gun back then easy as pie but he didn't and guess what he killed anyway.
democracy1776
Mar 28, 2013 5:28 AM CDT
I see most of the commenter's have never had to deal with the mental health system in Arizona. I do hope none of you ever have to. We will have more cases like this one. It takes money to fix the mental health system and most politicians do not care. For that matter most tax payers do not care. Before you people run your mouths ,please do your homework on America's broken mental health care bureaucracy. You can blame who you want, but at the end of the day it is YOU that are responsible for the broken mental heath system in America
iq145
Mar 27, 2013 10:12 PM CDT
Ask yourselves: Can this creature ever be a "safe and productive" member of society? It is deeply mentally damaged. Do it a favour and destroy it now, like they do to dogs who bite! Remember, with each passing day, this thing is breathing up more good air.