Charges filed against accused shooter - Tucson News Now

Charges filed against accused shooter

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Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was charged in a five-count federal indictment. (Source: Pima County Sheriff's Department) Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was charged in a five-count federal indictment. (Source: Pima County Sheriff's Department)
(Source: KOLD) (Source: KOLD)
Gabrielle Giffords (Source: Giffordsforcongress.com) Gabrielle Giffords (Source: Giffordsforcongress.com)
Left: Christina Taylor Green (Source: www.twitpic.com) Left: Christina Taylor Green (Source: www.twitpic.com)
Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman (Source: KOLD) Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman (Source: KOLD)
Tucson, AZ -

TUCSON, AZ (RNN) - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, was shot through the head Saturday when a man charged through the crowd at a public meet-and-greet outside a grocery store in Tucson, AZ, and opened fire.

Six people were killed, including a federal judge, a 9-year-old girl, a member of her staff and two constituents of Giffords.

Jared Lee Loughner, 22, was accosted and brought to the ground by witnesses, one of whom was shot just before attempting to remove Loughner's gun.

Giffords remains in critical condition in an Arizona hospital.

Loughner has been charged in a five-count federal indictment with killing Gabe Zimmerman, a 30-year-old aide to Giffords; and U.S. District Judge John M. Roll, 63. He also has been charged with attempting to kill a member of Congress - Giffords - and two other federal employees,  Pamela Simon and Rob Barber.

Other victims killed in the attack include Christina Greene, 9; Dorwan Stoddard, 76; Dorthy Morris, 76; and Phyllis Scheck, 79.

[Click here to read more about the victims]

Loughner made an initial court appearance Monday before Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson in Room 302 of the Sandra Day O'Connor Courthouse in Phoenix. He is entitled to a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing, the first of which took place Monday.

Giffords, who was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event, is believed to have been Loughner's target, according to the Pima County Sheriff's office. Shortly after 10 a.m., 19 people were shot in a short amount of time, including the six fatalities.

Pima County Sheriff Charles Dupnik said that while she was unsuccessful, the injured woman's attempt to wrestle the gun away probably prevented more fatalities. Two men were able to grab Loughner before he was able to load another magazine, which contained 31 bullets.

"He could, probably would have shot other people had he not been tackled," Dupnik said.

It's possible Loughner would have taken his own life if given the chance, Dupnik said. There was no exchange of gunfire, as no security was used for the event.

Loughner's weapon, which was later found at the scene, was identified by the FBI as a Glock 19 handgun that was purchased in November 2010 at Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson.

For a brief time, a "person of interest" had been identified in the case after surveillance video showed a man in his 50s entering the grocery store with Loughner. The FBI later cleared the man, who turned out to be Loughner's cab driver.

According to The Arizona Daily Star, the man accompanied Loughner into the store because Loughner did not have cash to pay the fare. In a news conference Sunday, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the man is not believed to have participated in the shooting.

Multiple search warrants were executed in the investigation, including a search of the home of Loughner's parents on North Soledad Ave. in Tucson, said Rick Kastigar, a spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

There, deputies recovered a semi-automatic pistol with an extended handle.

Loughner had had previous brushes with the law. He was a student at Pima College, where he experienced some difficulties, Dupnik said.

A motive for the shootings remains unclear, and is too early to discern, Mueller said.

Under law, Loughner must be indicted by a grand jury within 30 days of his first court appearance. The U.S. District Attorney's Office for the District of Arizona said it is currently in the process of drafting an indictment.

Giffords, 40, remains in the intensive care unit of the University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson after being shot at point-blank range and undergoing surgery. UMC medical staff said Sunday they were "cautiously optimistic" about her recovery.

"Things are going very well, and we're all very happy at this time," said Dr. Peter Rhee, trauma medical director at UMC.

Surgeons said a bullet passed through the left hemisphere of Giffords' brain, said Dr. Michael LeMole. She remains under a medically induced coma to mitigate swelling on her brain.

She is responsive after the surgery, having followed simple commands from doctors Sunday morning. This indicates a high-level brain function, the surgeons said.

UMC treated 11 shooting victims Saturday. While Giffords remains in critical condition, one has been released and the others are out of intensive care.

Of those who were fatally shot, Greene was the sole individual who was not pronounced dead at the scene.

All of the patients were seen within 38 minutes of arriving to the hospital. Four trauma surgeons, two neurosurgeons, and additional doctors were present to perform a total of six surgical procedures.

Four victims were taken to St. Mary's Hospital, three of whom had gunshot wounds. All are in stable condition.

Just before the event at the Safeway at Ina Oracle streets, Giffords tweeted from her iPad.

"My first 'Congress on Your Corner' starts now. Please stop by to let me know what is on your mind or tweet me later," she wrote.

In a Saturday afternoon news conference, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer said that she had ordered flags to be flown at half-staff in honor of those who lost their lives Saturday.

"I ask the people of Arizona and the people of America to keep the victims and their families in their prayers, and pray for their recovery and pray that we never again in Arizona ever have to experience a tragedy like this," she said.

[For additional statements from the nation's political leaders, click here]

President Barack Obama extended his heartfelt sympathies to the people of Arizona and shared his determination to ensure that justice is fully served.

"It's not surprising that today, Gabby was doing what she always does - listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors," he said in a news conference. "That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It's a tragedy for Arizona and the entire country."

Brewer, a Republican, said that she was working in the Arizona Secretary of State's office when she first met Giffords, who was a state senator at the time.

"Always courteous to everyone, she never played partisan politics," Brewer said, visibly shaken. "She was always concerned with what's best for her district. She was a very gracious and is a very gracious elected public servant."

This is not the first time Giffords has been troubled by angry constituents. Her Tucson office was vandalized in March just hours after she voted with her Democratic peers in favor of the Obama administration's healthcare law. Her office front door and a sliding glass panel were shattered.

Following the shooting, House Republicans delayed a vote to repeal the healthcare law, which was planned for Wednesday.

Giffords first won election to Congress amid a wave of Democratic victories in 2006. In November, she held off challenger and Tea Party favorite Jesse Kelly to win her third term in the House of Representatives.


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Copyright 2011 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. KOLD contributed to this report.


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