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 ÔĽŅGiffords 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] ÔĽŅÔĽŅÔĽŅWho 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‚Äôd been working on legislation dealing with capital punishment. Mark is the son of police officers ‚ÄĒ well, he just really wanted to sit in ‚Äėthe 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. John Henderson

    This is a Terrorist attack on American soil. It is time we recognize this as an act of internal terrorism and treat it as such.

    January 9, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  2. diae

    We cannot only blame the mentally unstable people for the "vitriol"that Pima Sheriff Dupnik mentioned today. This vitriol, he states, will mean that fewer "good" people will run for office because they will fear retribution. Yet, politicians themselves feed this negativity..... Political ads readily feed into negativity about opposing candidates....Much of it exaggerated or greatly misconstrued facts. I believe this should be outlawed and candidates allowed only to speak about their own platforms....but AHA! they don't want to do that do they? Because then they are on the line for their beliefs.

    January 9, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. mailman

    You want to blame somebody? Look in the mirror. We get the govt. we deserve.

    January 9, 2011 at 12:51 am | Report abuse |
    • stretch

      You got the governement you deserve? As a non-American looking through these posts with dismay and in cases, revulsion, I'd say you have a much better governement than you deserve! The amount of hate, hysteria and, as the good sheriff pointed out, vitriol circulating over there makes it hard to see how any equitable political process can survive. It's such a volatile, polarised environement. Sad day for all. The death not only of innocent people, but of reasoned debate.

      January 9, 2011 at 3:15 am | Report abuse |
  4. Captain America

    i think what the sheriff is saying about vitirol speech is 'that we all better chill out a little bit'. BECAUSE- there are other crazies and Gun Nuts running aorund out there and we might all SET them off- if we don't just SHUT UP and stop arguing. We know waht the problems are- now lets just solve them.No point inblaming Bush- He's GONE. No ppint in getting mad at Obama- he's leaving in two years...

    I worry they will use this as an ecuse to 1)clamp down on our freedoms even more (looking for extremists) and 2) blame conservatives (becuse that s what the liberal press always does)

    And by the way Sarah Palin ROCKS and I hope she's the NEXT President of the USA! Go Sarah 2012!

    January 9, 2011 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
    • duckee

      Just by your username, I already deduced that you are the following:

      an older white male
      ultra conservative
      claims to be christian
      owns guns
      believes that one has to be born in the US to be "truly american"
      wants to "take the country back", from what/who, you dont even know
      not college educated

      that about covers it?

      January 9, 2011 at 5:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Franny

      Wow! Does Captain America live in a comic book fantasy world. or What? Sir you need to grow up, take the cape off, amd get down to educating yourself! It's the Palins of this world that will ruin our Nation!

      January 9, 2011 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Captain America

      Replying to Duckee: Tes, am an older white male. Am a Christian, don;t own any guns. Have no interest in taking the country back- its gone straight to hell and nothing is stopping it. Have a Four year college degree.
      Niceness prevents me from making similar sterotypical comments about YOU- but i think i don't have to- since you seem to tbe the opposite of me. We'll just assume you are 'a misguded youth'. kind of like the assasin who shot all those poor people.

      Reply to the other guy? i'm a cartoonist. Of course i live in a comic book world.

      January 9, 2011 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
  5. colin

    The far right has unleashed a Frankenstein that they no longer have control of. They will continue to insist that they never advocated for any of this, that it's all just a big "coincidence" and we should just shut up and "pray" and show respect for the victims families. In my mind ignoring that context surrounding this killing is the biggest way to disrespect gabrielle and her family I can think of. Sorry that we can't just sweep your dirty little lies under the carpet any more Michelle Bachman, Glenn Beck, Palin and Steve King. You have shown your true colors now, the emperor has no clothes and everyone knows it....

    January 9, 2011 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. AZLib

    Serious have you ever listened to Rush, Fox or more important Palin. They do all but call the president the N word. They treat the word liberal as if it is four letters and have all be declared war on anybody who disagress with them. The GOP is to blame for hidding behind these mouth pieces who have been allowed to create an environment that fosters this type of action. Crosshairs on websites.. demanding the Tea Party use their 2nd amendment right to take back the government... come on folk we are all in the same boat and while we disagree must have total contempt for each other? If you are not changing radio stations, turning to real news and condeming Angle, Palin, Rush, Hannity and other hate mongers then YOU are part of the problem. Thank about that as you wonder into church tomorrow feeling all pious..... Shame to all of you who feed the monster..

    January 9, 2011 at 1:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Kyle

      Amen, you speak the truth!

      January 9, 2011 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      Here, here Azlib

      Wanna know what true Christian is? Helping your fellow man in time of extreme need no matter what path led him to where he is now. It is not complaining that certain decisions an individual makes warrants the medicine they take now. No reason our country cannot provide free health care to its citizens. We sure the hell will keep paying for a war whose purpose is already served. I guess it is more profitable killing people than healing them.

      January 9, 2011 at 10:35 am | Report abuse |
  7. thomas vincent

    The Sheriff was aware of the vitriol but did not provide any security for the event?
    The killer was a local nut. He killed a 9 year old girl. Trying to make this into a predictable act of political expression is unconvincing. Legitimate questions: how did the nut get a gun? Why did the people who knew him not report him as dangerous? He seems more like the school killers than a political assassin.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
    • MusicNeverSleeps

      His web presence refers to her congressional district not the 9 year old girl... I'm pretty sure he was after the Congress woman. Really you invoke liberal media spin. Sarah Palin posted a picture of this woman's district with a target on it! Do you actually believe that is a responsible thing to do when you influence so many people?

      January 9, 2011 at 1:36 am | Report abuse |
  8. Sandra G.

    Those who have preached hate and intolerance....you know who you are....need to remember that hate filled speech begets hateful actions. We are on a slippery slope where every day someone makes the news with hate filled and irresponsible words designed to incite others. I blame each of them and fear we are headed for more violence as ignorance, hate and fear continue to be preached and spread across our land. Just as the killer who fired the gun–those who incite with their ignorant and irresponsible speech might just as well have helped pull the trigger. How proud you must be that your words were heeded and acted upon. I feel like it is the terror of the 60's again.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  9. mailman

    Well, if this isn't an opportunity for the govt. to step in and "monitor" the people, then I don't know. They can always plug us deeper into the matrix.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Tell you what, don't go on a shooting rampage and nobody will care what you say online.

      It's that simple.

      January 9, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. Matt

    Democrat. Republican. Tea Partier. It doesn't matter.

    Where do you live? If you live in America, you should not be blindly supporting one political party. You should be absolutely disgusted by what your country has become.

    A simple two party system of zombies blindly and mindlessly supporting their party? Seriously? We may as well have just stayed under British rule if thats how you want to act.

    Everybody needs to open their eyes and realize that this political system is broken. The tea party is surely not the answer as it's just a different form of the political parties we already have.

    Where is the people's party? Where is the sane, competent, thinking person's party?

    There is none. We have robbed ourselves of that party by becoming such foolish zombies.

    Wake up or it's over. This country is heading the wrong way and heading their fast. Is it going to take a Democrat v. Republican civil war to make everyone realize this? A war about whether abortion is okay or not? Whether healthcare reform is okay or not? Whether people should own guns or not?

    Seriously people.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
  11. Frank Rizzo

    Well, what we have here a Home Grown Christian Terrorist. I hope the Media calls it like it is "Christian Terrorist" I'm sure he's part of a Christian Terrorist Cell, like he said is his youtube video he's a sleeper.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Kaycee

      If you read the linked articles, he applied for the military and never filled in his religion. He also has openly railed against God and religion on his youtube channel. I don't think he's Christian.

      January 9, 2011 at 5:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      What we have here is a homegrown illiterate. Learn to read the kid hates god.

      January 9, 2011 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
  12. Frank Rizzo

    There are all Christian Terrorist ready to commit crimes against our beloved Nation, we should round them all up and place them jail.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Fred

      You mean "round up and kill" the christian tragedy. This is an unspeakable tragedy. The man responsable (Jared Lee Loughner) deserves to put to death by being lowered into a vat of acid.

      January 9, 2011 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  13. John

    Just after the shooting CNN was reporting that the Congress woman was dead, well surprise she is not dead, how can you get away with flat out lying that someone is dead. Fox got it right.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  14. concerned

    I guess the TEA PARTY used their 2nd amendment remedies per Sharron Angle.

    January 9, 2011 at 1:26 am | Report abuse |
  15. Mike H

    I guess it's not a good time to suggest that the 2nd amendment be repealed. If not now, though, when ?

    January 9, 2011 at 1:31 am | Report abuse |
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