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

(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."

A 2011 photo of Jared Lee Loughner.   (AP Photo/U.S. Marshal's Office, File)
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