Witness: Arizona gunman 'was ready for war'
Law enforcement arrives Saturday outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, after several people were shot.
January 8th, 2011
10:30 PM ET

Witness: Arizona gunman 'was ready for war'

More coverage on the shootings from affiliates KOLD, KVOA, KMSB, KPHO and KGUN.

[Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET] A man who helped subdue the gunman in Saturday's Arizona shooting spree said the man was trying to reload when he was tackled to the ground.

"He was ready for war. He was not playing around," Joe Zamudio told CNN. "He was going to keep shooting. It was not over. He had just ran out of bullets."

The gun, which another bystander had wrestled from the gunman, was empty and cocked open, and the shooter had another magazine at the ready, Zamudio said.

Zamudio pinned him to the ground until police showed up. The suspect, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, is in custody of the Pima County Sheriff's Office, and authorities are obtaining search warrants for a residence and his vehicle. Authorities also are seeking a person of interest but his suspected connection to the incident is unclear.

Loughner is accused of shooting 18 people, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, a third-term Democrat who had organized the "Congress on Your Corner" meet and greet. Authorities believe the gunman had specifically targeted Giffords. She is in critical condition after undergoing surgery for a single gunshot wound to the head, but doctors said they are optimistic over her prospects for recovery.

Watch a timeline of events

Eleven others were wounded in the shooting and six are dead, among them U.S. District Court Judge John Rolls, a friend of Giffords' who had stopped by the event to say hello after attending Mass, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.

Also killed was Giffords staffer Gabe Zimmerman, director of community outreach who had coordinated the event to introduce Giffords to her constituents.

A 9-year-old girl also was killed.

The shooting sent shock waves through Washington, where Giffords was regarded as gracious and kind, a moderate Democrat known for her dedication to her constituents and willingness to work across party lines.

In light of the shootings, all legislation on the House schedule for the coming week has been postponed, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor announced in a statement.

Americans also struggled to come to terms with the event. Many of them showed up to a vigil at the Arizona State Capitol to pray together and share their thoughts.

In the Twitterverse, theories abounded as to the gunman's motivation. Meanwhile, while speaking to the press , the sheriff lamented "the vitriolic rhetoric" in American political discourse, suggesting it played a role in the shooting.

"This has not become the nice United States of America that most of us grew up in and I think its time we do the soul-searching," he said.

"The anger, the hatred the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous and unfortunately, Arizona has become the capital. We have become the mecca of prejudice and bigotry."

[Updated at 10:00 p.m. ET] A House vote scheduled for Monday on whether to repeal health care legislation has been postponed after Saturday's shooting.

All legislation on the House schedule for the coming week has been postponed in a decision by leaders of both political parties in the House so "we can take whatever actions may be necessary in light of today's tragedy," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said in a statement.

Read more on CNN.com

[Updated at 9:13 p.m. ET] Some who knew Giffords and others who just wanted an outlet for emotions in the wake of the shooting rampage gathered on Capitol Hill Saturday night to honor the victims.

More than 50 marchers braved subfreezing temperatures and gusty winds to march to the Capitol and up the west steps to hold the vigil.

Read more on CNN.com

[Updated at 8:55 p.m. ET] A  law enforcement source familiar with the investigation says the Glock model 19 used in the shootings was purchased legally. The official did not have details at this time as to when and where the gun was purchased.

The gun was loaded with a 30-round magazine. The official said it is likely the extended magazine used in the shooting  was purchased separately and at a different time. The official said such a magazine does not automatically come with a weapons purchase and that it would be extremely rare for them to be sold together in one purchase.

The official said the suspect had purchased another gun a few years ago but this person did not know the details about what happened to that weapon and if the alleged shooter still owned it.

[Updated at 8:23 p.m. ET] Officials are not convinced that the suspected gunman acted alone, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told reporters.

Law enforcement is actively searching for a "person of interest" who is a white male in his 50s believed to have assisted the suspect in a shooting, Dupnik said.

A suspect who Dupnik would not name is in the custody of the Pima County Sheriff's Office, he said. The suspect has had previous contact with law enforcement "regarding threats" to kill, Dupnik said, and described him as having a "troubled past."

CNN has confirmed that the suspect's name is Jared Lee Loughner, 22, whose apparent online footprint professes an distrust of government and a fondness for books such as "Mein Kampf," "The Communist Manifesto," "Peter Pan" and "The Republic."

"There's reason to believe this individual has a mental issue and I think that people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol," he said.

"Vitriol" in public debate was a recurring theme in Dupnik's remarks as he blasted the media for "the vitriolic rhetoric" heard on television and radio.

[Updated at 7:57 p.m. ET] Gabe Zimmerman, director of community outreach for U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was among those killed in Saturday's shooting at a constituents meeting outside a Tucson Safeway, Gifford press secretary CJ Karamargin said.

Zimmerman was the staff member who set up today’s event in Giffords’ district, Karamargin said. The Tucson native was engaged to be married.

[Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET] The Army said in a statement that the suspect in the shooting was never in the Army.

"He attempted to enlist in the Army but was rejected for service.  In accordance with the Privacy Act, we will not discuss why he was rejected," the Army said in a statement.

[Updated at 7:21 p.m. ET] Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect, had a limited presence on social-media sites, including YouTube and MySpace. Here's a sampling of some of the messages that CNN found on Loughner's pages:

MySpace

December 26, 2010: I'm not going to change the mistakes, you don't know – funny! (I think the CIA watches my-space)

December 30, 2010: I now understand a certain word - Cult!

YouTube

December 15, 2010: If I define terrorist then a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon.

I define terrorist.

Thus a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially
as a political weapon.

If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem.

You call me a terrorist.

Thus the argument to call me a terrorist is Ad hominem.

December 15, 2010: The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America's Constitution.

You don't have to accept the federalist laws.

Nonetheless, read the United States of America's  Constitution to apprehend all of the current treasonous laws.

You're literate, listener?

Read more about Loughner's digital footprint on CNN.com

[Updated at 7:12 p.m. ET] The University of Arizona's men's basketball game against Stanford University has been postponed following the shootings.

"The University feels the game should be delayed with deep respect to the victims and families impacted by this tragedy," Arizona athletics director Greg Byrne said.

The game will be played at 12:30 p.m. MST Sunday.

[Updated at 6:48 p.m. ET] Saturday's deadly shootings at an Arizona constituency meeting outside a Tucson Safeway appear to have “no nexus to terrorism," a law enforcement official said.

This official did not know if there had been any recent threat against Rep Giffords but said there are frequent threats to various members of Congress, mostly via phone  calls or e-mails, or mailed threats.

[Updated at 6:30 p.m. ET] U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts released this statement on the death of U.S. District Court Chief Judge John Roll, who was killed in the shootings:

"Chief Judge John Roll was a wise jurist who selflessly served Arizona and the nation with great distinction, as attorney and judge, for more than 35 years.  I express my deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his children, as well as the other victims and their families.  Chief Judge Roll’s death is a somber reminder of the importance of the rule of law and the sacrifices of those who work to secure it."

[Updated at 6:16 p.m. ET] The Tea Party released this statement regarding the shootings:

“We at the Tea Party Express are shocked and saddened to hear about the terrible tragedy that took place in Tucson today. It is appalling that anyone would commit such unthinkable violence against Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, her staff, a sitting federal judge and the many other victims and families impacted.

"These heinous crimes have no place in America, and they are especially grievous when committed against our elected officials. Spirited debate is desirable in our country, but it only should be the clash of ideas.  An attack on anyone for political purposes, if that was a factor in this shooting, is an attack on the democratic process.  We join with everyone in vociferously condemning it."

Read the full story on CNN.com

[Updated at 5:41 p.m. ET] Who is Gabrielle Giffords? She's a Democrat who was first elected in 2006. She has served as chairwoman of the House Space and Aeronautics Subcommittee and also holds seats on the House Science and Technology and Armed Services committees.

She won her third term in a closely contested race against a Tea Party-sponsored candidate and was one of three Democratic legislators who reported vandalism at their offices following the March vote on health care reform.

She is married to Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, a NASA astronaut who is scheduled to lead a space shuttle mission to the International Space Station. The two married in 2007, after meeting four years prior in China, as young leaders selected by the National Committee on U.S.-China Relations, Giffords told the New York Times in her wedding announcement.

The article described their courtship as a drawn-out affair between two deeply committed civic servants who slowly found their way to each other. When they met, Giffords was seeing someone and Kelly was married.

After Giffords split from her boyfriend, she invited Kelly to join her on a tour of the Arizona State Prison in Florence.

"I’d been working on legislation dealing with capital punishment. Mark is the son of police officers — well, he just really wanted to sit in ‘the chair,' " she told the newspaper.

The two married three years later, they married at an organic produce farm in Amado, Arizona, called Agua Linda. An avid recycler, Giffords wore a Vera Wang gown borrowed from a friend.

"To a bride who moves at a velocity that exceeds that of anyone else in Washington, and a groom who moves at a velocity that exceeds 17,000 miles per hour," a wedding guest said in a toast to the couple.

[Updated at 5:20 p.m. ET] Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer expressed condolences for the shooting victims - 6 are dead and 12 injured.

"I am just heartbroken. Gabby (Giffords) is more than just a colleague she is a friend. She has always been a noble public servant," an emotional Brewer said, pausing for composure.

"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 in Arizona we never have to experience a tragedy like this ever again."

Giffords publicized the "Congress on Your Corner" meet-up at the Safeway in her southern Arizona district on her Twitter account.

Judge John Roll, the chief judge on the U.S. District Court for Arizona, was among 6 people killed, along with a 9-year-old girl, officials said.

Witnesses said the gunman shot Giffords at point blank range through the head and then continued firing. The suspect, identified by law enforcement sources as Jared Lee Loughner, has been taken into custody.

[Updated at 4:52 p.m. ET] Chief Judge John Roll was among 6 people killed at an Arizona constituent meeting outside a Tucson grocery store Saturday.

[Updated at 4:30 p.m. ET] The suspect in a shooting at an Arizona constituent meeting outside a Tucson grocery story is a white male born in 1988, CNN's Jeanne Meserve has confirmed from a federal law enforcement source.

Six people have died, including a 9-year-old girl, and 12 were injured, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, authorities said.

[Updated at 4:07 p.m. ET] Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in critical condition and a young child has died after a shooting at a political meeting at an Arizona grocery store, a hospital spokesman said Saturday.

Giffords, who was hosting the event, is under anesthesia after undergoing surgery for a single gunshot wound to the head "through and through," said Dr. Peter Rhee, Trauma Director at the University Medical Center in Tucson.

"The Congresswoman is not deceased. She is in critical condition," Rhee said in a press conference. "I am very optimistic about recovery."

Giffords publicized the "Congress on Your Corner" meet-up at the Safeway in her southern Arizona district on her Twitter account.

[Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET] Six people have died and 12 - including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords - were injured in a shooting at a political meeting at a Tucson, Arizona, grocery store Saturday, according to Rick Kastigar of the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

[Updated at 3:20 p.m. ET] A suspect is in custody in the shootings of at least 12 people, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, at a constituent meeting at an Arizona grocery store, the U.S. Capitol Police said in a statement.

"The suspect is in custody. No further details on the motive or other victims are available at this time," the statement said. "The U.S. Capitol Police are directly involved in this investigation. As more information is developed, it will be provided. In the interim, all Members and staff are advised to take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal security."

A statement from President Obama confirmed that some people had died.

"This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tucson, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded," he said.

"We do not yet have all the answers.  What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.  I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers."

[Updated at 3:00 p.m. ET] Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is currently undergoing surgery for a gunshot wound to the head, a spokeswoman for the University Medical Center in Tucson said.

Nine patients were brought to the hospital, including a child. All of them are in either serious or critical condition and are undergoing surgery, spokeswoman Darci Slaten said.

A federal judge was also among those shot, a law enforcement official said. It is not clear whether he was among those taken to the hospital.

[Updated at 2:43 p.m. ET] There were conflicting reports Saturday about the condition of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords following a shooting Saturday at a Tucson, Arizona, grocery store. Giffords' press secretary said the congresswoman remains in surgery for her injuries, disputing an earlier report from a law enforcement source saying she had died.

[Updated at 2:23 p.m. ET] U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords died Saturday after a gunman opened fire at a Tucson, Arizona grocery store, a law enforcement source said. Giffords, who had been holding a meeting with constituents, was among at least 12 people shot.

[Updated at 1:51 p.m. ET] U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was among at least 12 people shot at a Tucson, Arizona, grocery store, a Democratic source told CNN's Dana Bash. The source called her injuries "pretty serious."

[Updated at 1:41 p.m. ET] U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was meeting with constituents at a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, where at least 12 people were injured in a shooting shortly after 10 a.m. MST Saturday, a spokesman for the Pima County sheriff's Department said. It is unclear whether Giffords was among those hurt.

"Several" people were shot Saturday at a grocery store in Tucson,
Arizona, a spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department said. No other details were immediately available.

soundoff (1,655 Responses)
  1. alexander

    targetted for removal by Sarah, the riflewoman, Palin.

    January 9, 2011 at 2:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Lynn

    This is a very sad day for all of the families affected by this shooting. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. I think I'm disturbed that the Sheriff is making political statements early on in an investigation. Really how does he know the motive of the killer? The law has had chats with him before and he's threatened to kill and what did the Sheriff do? Put him out on the street? Allowed him to buy a gun, don't they require permits and background checks? This is a very odd story and so far things aren't adding up. I would imagine that's because we don't have all the facts yet.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Lengan

    Gunman left many bewildering posts on website http://www.abovetopsecret.com. User: Erad3.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:13 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. JR

    Watch as this country descends into chaos, and soon after, the world along with it. Humanity, the bell tolls for thee!

    January 9, 2011 at 3:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. webwork

    The guilt that the US govenment must feel from ass kissing that fraud regime in Saudi Arabia has them all confused and fighting amungst themselves. So fringe elements crawl out of the woodwork disillusioned with the in-fighting. Which is a symptom of discontent. The problem is of couse if the US does not kiss the Saudi ass, perhaps the enimies of the US will kiss the Saudi ass and replace us. Then the US has to worry about commies who control the oil spigot. This is probably why the US should kick the Suadies out in a big way.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:19 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. melissa collins

    I read on facebook, from someone that had seen his FB site before it was removed, for some reason? He stated that Jared Lee Loughner list as his hero Sarah Palin, Her trashy mouth has went too far, I told my husband a few months back that she was gonna cause some one that wasn't stable to hurt someone for stupid reasons, Sarah is a trouble maker, yes it's ok to state you opinion, but to do it the way she does it is dangerous!!!!!!!

    January 9, 2011 at 3:26 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Truth

    We, as Americans, have all gone crazy. We want the right to have guns and then lament the fact that any "idiot" or "psycho" can purchase one and wreak havoc on any one of our communities. The loss of lives in Arizona is deeply troubling to me, as a human and an American. We, as a nation, have forfeited any right we once may have had to possess firearms and it is high time that real handgun legislation was undertaken by real representatives who have some balls/ovaries and can rally support around an issue about which 90% of Americans should agree. I, for one, do not want my sons and daughters worrying about which one of their friends in school is "packing" and whom they should be careful around because they "have a gun, and they're not afraid to use it." This Wild West version of America is total BULLS*** and I am PIS*** that my generation still has to deal with it. Get with it, America! Us Rednecks won't last long if we keep shooting each other out at the OK Corral. It FU***NG sucks. I wish I could curse on CNN, but I guess it's ironic that I could buy a glock but I can't drop an F-Bomb online.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Lynn

    Wow, some Sheriff blames this shooting on right wing rhetoric and many of you are off and running. First there is 0 proof that this kid even listened to rightwing television or radio shows, yet, it may be coming and it may not, but please don't let the facts get in the way. I may not like everything that is said on the radio, but I believe that they have the right to say it. If I don't fight for their right to speak, I may someday lose mine. Think about it, do you really want government telling us what we can and cannot say. Really?

    January 9, 2011 at 3:28 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Derek

      Of course they have the "right" to say it. The sheriff simply pointed out the obvious: that what you say, particularly if you say it provocatively, and to millions of people (some of whom are listening for reinforcement, some of whom are unstable), can produce negative consequences to a large degree. For goodness sake, just look at history for innumerable examples of scapegoating and the negative results thereof. While this current debate may not to rise to the level of hate speech, it's not so far below. And if hate speech has consequences like the murder, it is not too much of a stretch to recognize that the type of speech in question can have similar consequences, even if its less frequent. (And when you factor in specific contexts and address large enough, and perhaps vulnerable enough, audiences, you're asking for trouble.)

      In terms of "fighting to defend theirs, so you can have yours," that is an oversimplified stance that averts the issue. This has nothing to do with the government clamping down on the freedom of speech. I suppose if we really wanted the government to solve every problem, we could ask for a repeal of (or perhaps simply another amendment to) the first amendment, but you make it clear that is not what we want and I agree. The issue is that certain people/organizations with large scale influence over audiences who voluntarily seek information from them are spreading/encouraging "vitriol." If the individuals and organizations don't heed the message that what they are doing is inappropriate for the forum they are privileged to head, there are still professional collectives that may.

      One solution is for the news industry, as a whole, to create, maintain, and enforce certain standards for what their employees promulgate. (Not such a radical notion – the FCC doesn't have to be the only limiting body.) There is a level of professional responsibility that ought to incorporate an awareness of the industry's influence and their clients' vulnerabilities, and not just so each can be maximized to make the most short term profits – I'm talking about a fiduciary duty to clients that could be so small as having a professional board or the organizations themselves inform their reporters/commentators/employees that certain comments/opinions will not be tolerated. How they choose to remedy such statements would be up to them, but it could be as easy as simply being decent and tactful, as it seemed Fox was trying to be today. Or, short of that, calling BS. Which, by the way, is practically what the Daily Show does most every day anyway – the problem is that there isn't some immediately-timed BS meter/laugh track to help those dangerous audience members quell their ideas at the time they're receiving their ammunition of BS from Palin or whoever else.)

      A second solution that avoids censorship and free speech intrusion, but that could involve government, if we wanted its involvement, is for some agency to establish stronger licensing standards for "news" stations and simply remove the sheep clothing from the wolves.

      Just a couple ideas that hopefully bridge that gap of paralysis. I'm sure other people have more and better ones than these. But it's pretty clear to me, simply from the context and the elephant-in-the-room handling of this tragedy, many of the specifics themselves, and certainly the comments of the average individuals on one of these boards with no tightropes to walk, that there is a problem with the fire being used to polarize even the most minimally important (perspective-wise) political positions by the media. And just because we fully endorse the First Amendment, doesn't mean we can't find solutions to this problem.

      January 9, 2011 at 7:38 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ted

    The shooter seems to be a collectivist, a socialist at heart, unhappy with turn of events. I'll hold final judgment until more facts are known.

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2653545/posts

    January 9, 2011 at 3:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. The Truth

    We, as Americans, have all gone crazy. We want the right to have guns and then lament the fact that any "idiot" or "psycho" can purchase one and wreak havoc on any one of our communities. The loss of lives in Arizona is deeply troubling to me, as a human and an American. We, as a nation, have forfeited any right we once may have had to possess firearms and it is high time that real handgun legislation was undertaken by real representatives who have some balls/ovaries and can rally support around an issue about which 90% of Americans should agree. I, for one, do not want my sons and daughters worrying about which one of their friends in school is "packing" and whom they should be careful around because they "have a gun, and they're not afraid to use it." This Wild West version of America is total BUll**** and I am PIS*** that my generation still has to deal with it. Get with it, America! Us Rednecks won't last long if we keep shooting each other out at the OK Corral. It F***iNG sucks. I wish I could curse on CNN, but I guess it's ironic that I could buy a glock but I can't drop an F-Bomb online.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:30 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. katief

    Definitions of incite (vt)
    in·cite [ in st ]
    stir up: to stir up feelings in or provoke action by somebody
    Synonyms: provoke, inflame, rouse, goad, spur, egg on, stimulate, motivate, push, stir up, instigate, whip up, breed, cause

    January 9, 2011 at 3:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. TampaMel

    While the media is guilty of bad journalism, the presence of raving lunatics like Glenn Beck (his views are insane but his love of money for yelling those views is probably not) are not the reason for this guy doing what he did. There have always been random acts of insanity where people think a bullet is the answer to theirs or the worlds problems. In the last 150 years there have been assassination in the US and around the world by people thinking they are saving themselves or society (can you say Archduke Ferdinand and the start of WWI). The media only reflect our gullibility and our lack of critical thinking which allows the right and left to say what they do without calling them out for the lies and misleading statements they make in the name of journalism. I paraphrase Pogo (for those of you who remember the comic strip), 'I have seen the enemy and they are us'. Take responsibility for the garbage presented to us as news.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:36 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. AJ

    Is this Sara Palin and Glenn Beck's revolution? They put all these congressmen in crosshairs, and now some wacko Tea Party nut killed a 9 year old girl.
    Good job, Fox News. I wonder where all those gun wielding law abiding Arizonians were who claimed no one could do something like this in their state?

    January 9, 2011 at 3:44 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Racicsts

    boehner and other right wing racists are happy in their homes laughing while they come to the public pretending to be saddened by the act. May God almighty bless the sheriff for his boldness in actually pointing out the root of this. The media are also playing to it especially by pretending to be liberal while behind their mind they can't stand the fact that a black man is the president.
    The tea party (a racist organisation), was not called out by the press even when it is was obvious to be so. They are paraded in front of the screen in the name of first amendment even when they do not make sense(palin). can not even answer a single question (what newspapers they read) in the press. Can I call you Joe? What a way to start a debate. PATHETIC. Let us be prejudiced and nepotic ( we are human) and install this moron as president . Do you know the political damage it will do to this country internationally? About boener, I have not seen him smile publicly until he was handed the gavel..... speaks volume.

    January 9, 2011 at 3:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Richard Joseph

    There seems to be alot of comments about Texas – why
    is everyone moving there – leaving the Northeast, California
    and the mid-West??

    January 9, 2011 at 4:58 am | Report abuse | Reply
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