Arizona shooter’s parents had voiced concern of his behavior

Jared Loughner was diagnosed as having schizophrenia but was deemed competent to agree to a plea deal that resulted in his being sentenced to seven life terms, plus 140 years.
James Palka/Associated Press/file
Jared Loughner was diagnosed as having schizophrenia but was deemed competent to agree to a plea deal that resulted in his being sentenced to seven life terms, plus 140 years.

TUCSON — The mother of Jared L. Loughner, who killed six people and wounded 13 others during a meet-and-greet hosted by former representative Gabrielle Giffords in 2011, told the authorities after the attack that her son was a loner, who she had insisted be drug-tested because she believed he was using methamphetamine, according to thousands of pages of documents related to the case released Wednesday.

Amy Loughner told Pima County Sheriff’s detectives that she and her husband, Randy, had also taken a shotgun away from their son in the months before the shooting and had told him to get psychological help.

Randy Loughner said he had become so concerned about what his son might be capable of that he had begun to disable his car so that he could not go out at night.


The disclosures are part of some 2,700 pages of documents released by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department on Wednesday morning, more than four months after Jared Loughner was sentenced to multiple life terms in prison for the mass shooting, which left Giffords seriously wounded.

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‘‘Sometimes you’d hear him in his room, like, having conversations,’’ Amy Loughner said about her son during an interview with investigators. ‘‘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. I don’t.’’

Amy Loughner said she told Jared Loughner that he needed to see someone about it, but that he never did. She told deputies, that her son’s behavior was not normal.

Her son had denied using methamphetamine, she said, but she added that he had acknowledged smoking marijuana and trying cocaine.

A police report by one of the arresting deputies, whose full name was not disclosed in the documents, said that when he arrived in the Tucson supermarket parking lot where the January 2011 shooting had occurred moments before, two or three people were holding Jared Loughner down on the ground. The officer said that after handcuffing Loughner he found two fully loaded Glock ammunition magazines in Loughner’s pockets, along with a folding knife with a 4-inch blade.


The deputy said Loughner repeatedly said he pleaded ‘‘the fifth,’’ even though the deputy said he had not asked him any questions. The deputy said he had removed a pair of disposable ear plugs that Loughner had been wearing during the shooting.

Loughner, now 24, pleaded guilty in August to 19 federal charges and was sentenced in November to seven consecutive life terms plus 140 years in prison. He had been given a diagnosis of schizophrenia but was deemed competent to agree to the plea deal with federal prosecutors. The arrangement makes him ineligible for parole or to appeal his conviction.

On Jan. 8, 2011, Loughner, who a few months earlier had withdrawn from community college after school officials had expressed alarm over his strange behavior, showed up at the constituents event outside a Tucson grocery store hosted by Giffords, who was a member of the House of Representatives at the time.

During the attack, Loughner fired 31 shots in less than 30 seconds, not stopping until he ran out of bullets.

After Loughner’s guilty plea, Dr. Christina Pietz, a psychologist who treated him at a federal hospital in Springfield, Mo., said Loughner’s feelings had evolved — from regret for failing to kill Giffords, who he had harbored a secret grudge against for several years, to remorse for wounding her and others, and for taking people’s lives.


Among those killed in the attack were John Roll, a federal court judge, and Christina-Taylor Green, a 9-year-old girl.

‘Sometimes you’d hear him in his room, like, having conversations.’

In January, on the second anniversary of the shootings, Giffords and her husband, the astronaut Mark E. Kelly, started a political action committee, Americans for Responsible Solutions, to try to reform the nation’s gun laws.