Documents released from Jan. 8th shooting investigation - Tucson News Now

Documents shed new light on Jan. 8 mass shooting

Jared Loughner Jared Loughner

Documents released today from the investigation of the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting give us a very detailed look into the emergency response on that fateful Saturday morning.

Six people were killed and 13 injured, including then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

The shooting suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, was apprehended at the scene.

He pled guilty last year to charges and was sentenced to life in prison.

Today, we are learning more about what deputies knew in the hours after the shooting.

Dozens of eyewitness accounts and heart-wrenching statements from victims who saw their loved ones gunned down are included in the documents.

According to deputy accounts, Loughner was wearing all black that day from head to toe.

Once he arrived on scene, that deputy placed his knee in Loughner's back, handcuffed him and found two fully-loaded magazines in Loughner's front pocket.

That suggests so much more damage could've been done.

As Loughner was placed in a patrol vehicle, he repeatedly kept pleading the fifth – time and time again – even though no questions were being asked of him.

We also learn that Loughner reportedly told the deputy, "I'm the only person that knew about this."

Through the documents, we find that Loughner had been spiraling psychologically for weeks.

He'd been dismissed from Pima Community College for posting a ranting video online.

Before that he was fired from his job at the Tucson Mall.

Loughner's parents say he was never diagnosed with mental illness, though PCC officials suggested he undergo a mental evaluation.

That never happened.

On the morning of the shootings, Loughner phoned friend Bryce Tierney - one of the only friends he was still in contact with.

Tierney didn't answer the call. The message was quick and to the point.

"Hey. It's, this is Jared. Um, I had some very good times. And peace out. Later."

Among the investigative documents are interviews with the survivors.

Susan Hileman is among the 13 survivors.

She invited her neighbor to join her at the Congress on Your Corner event for an opportunity to meet Giffords.

Unfortunately, her neighbor didn't survive. Christina-Taylor Green was the youngest victim of the shootings.

In her statement to police, Hileman relived that horrific moment, saying, "...and heard this noise, this giant, loud noise. (sigh) And Gabby fell. Just gracefully kind of fell down against the wall..."

She continued, ""And I said, 'Oh, I've been shot. I've been shot.' And then I looked and Christina was lookin' at me. And then next I knew I was down on the ground.

"And I looked at her. And I reached out. And then there was lots more shooting."

This interview was conducted at the University of Arizona Medical Center six days after the shooting while Hileman was recovering from a gun shot wound.

What really stands out in this report is the amount of information authorities gathered in just a few hours.

They obviously knew who the shooter was since Loughner was detained at the scene, but they also felt there was a good chance he was mentally ill.

They wanted to find out if anybody else may have been involved.

With that in mind, investigators went straight to the people who knew Loughner best.

At the top of the list were his parents.

An in-depth forensic interview took place just four hours after the shootings.

Authorities interrogated Loughner's parents with just about everything.

Did Jared have any friends?

Did he keep a journal?

Did he own any firearms?

Had Jared been acting strangely or suspiciously in recent weeks?

Over the 45-minute interaction, reality began to set in with Randy and Amy Loughner.

They admitted that Jared had been expelled from Pima College for being disruptive and potentially threatening.

Amy Loughner also admitted at the urging of Pima officials they took away Jared's shotgun, fearing he could be a danger to himself and to others.

"Cause at the time, she said, "when the incident (his expulsion) occurred with the school, they recommended if there's any firearms in the house, that we should put them away."

Investigators later said it was mentioned they would not allow him back unless he had a mental-health evaluation.

"Yes," Amy Loughner said, referring to PCC's request.

"Did he ever follow up on that?" investigators asked. "Do you know?"

"No," Loughner's mother said.

No psychiatric evaluation ever took place.

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