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. chad

    All legislation on the houses schedule cancelled for the coming week? This event while tragic doesnt warrant stopping the house from working theres millions of people who are still struggling lets get back to work! God bless the familys of the victims.

    January 9, 2011 at 4:08 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Marion

    The young man was a chronic pot smoker who sat and watched conspiracy theory videos on youtube. The weed they're smoking today is worse than the acid people took in the 60's. The young man was arrested for drugs but nobody is reporting this, why? Because this rag CNN and other rag media only want their ratings to skyrocket from pitting people against each other. A** kicking marajuana smoked chronically from middle school up leads to schizophrenia. C'mon people do the research and don't be led by the media to bite and devour each other. All the press wants to do to us is divide and conquer for ratings.

    January 9, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Anthony

    It is unfortunate that things like this happen. I pray for all the families. Everyday in this country people without a "name" are prosecuted, harassed by the system, punished for doing nothing wrong. It is my opinion that the laws of this country are causing these type of problems. Some people can only be pushed so far. We have cookie cutter justice in this country. It is terrible what goes on. The people that say these people are anti-government act like there is no truth to what their saying. It is sad. Hopefully soon rather than later things will change.

    January 9, 2011 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
  4. akgjkajgkjkjkei

    ohhh, i should be worried-no not a bit. Congress what they deserve. They aren't helping anyone but themselves. Receiving brides and constantly making laws for brides to gain money and doing favors for corporations, businesses. While covering up their illegal actions such as the unemployement increase rate and the economy.

    January 9, 2011 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  5. akgjkajgkjkjkei

    that white boy made a remark and sent the govt. a message we aren't going to take it anymore.

    January 9, 2011 at 4:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Captain America

    The criminal involved was a dysfunctional possibly mentally insane young person. He was proably more influenced by hitlaer or marx to do thsi crime (he had read das Kapital and Meine Kampf. If anything – the evidence suggests he was more on the radical left than anything- and there are no connections between him and Sarah Palin. No matter how much you lefties WANT this to be so.

    Sarah Palin had NOTHING to do with this- and I know its breaking your little liberal hearts not having her to blame (but you are TRYING so hard!) Now lets all just pray for the victims- and put that little snot in the death chamber.

    January 9, 2011 at 4:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kevin Griffiths

    ouch

    January 9, 2011 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  8. thewayiseeit

    I think America neds two extra commandments;

    (1) Do away with all your guns.

    (2) Set your brains in motion before your mouths.

    January 9, 2011 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
  9. thewayiseeit

    I think America needs two extra commandments.

    (1) Do away with all your guns.

    (2) Set your brains in motion before your mouths.

    January 9, 2011 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Drizzt

    I love reading through hundreds of posts and noticing that the majority of people who have posted...can't even write one sentence correctly. And these people go on to call others "ignorant". Politics is evil. Just look at what it has done to our country. Read through these posts and you will see far too much hatred. Why are people so hateful towards others they don't even know? It's time we worked together...but I'm relatively sure I have just wasted my breath, figuratively that is.

    January 10, 2011 at 1:14 am | Report abuse |
  11. Dr. Ruth Todd

    Hitler once said, "How fortunate for governments that citizens do not think." Hitler certainly had this one right. We have problems in this country, real problems: poverty, unemployment, wars and the continuous barrage of misinformation that becomes like the propaganda blasts in Orwell's "1984". This nation needs to know the truth. It is the truth that sets us free and keeps us free. Yes, we need to make sure that companies can do business in this country but we also need to make sure that US workers can earn a living wage. We should also remember that we are the govenrment. We have a democratic republic in the US which means we elect representatives to represent us in our legislative bodies. We are not a pure democracy but our system works. We need to hold these representatives responsible to work for the good of the country not just work for relection. Our representatives should be able to have political discourse without appearing to be a reality TV show. We need to bring back common courtesy and not just out shout those who disagree with us. Our nation was founded by men and women who wanted to build a new nation with a new government and this nation is good. We need to recognize that fact. We cannot go back to the good old days and in hindsight most of those good old days were not all that good. People in other countries envy us because we have a good country with good people and we have rights and liberties that are lacking elsewhere. Do not be fooled. If someone is not offering solutions they are part of the problem. You do not just tear something down without figuring out what will be built in its place. Healthcare does need an overall. We have had subsidized healthcare for years: if I had insurance my premiums and costs have been subsidizing all those who do not have healthcare. If states can mandate that everyone has car insurance then why cannot the federal govenment mandate everyone have health insurance? Manuufacturing jobs need to come back to America.US companies should stop being rewarded for outsourcing US jobs because they receive tax incentives. Banks need regulation as does the stock market. Why? Well as anyone in business will tell you, you monitor that which is important and you constantly check and adjust. We do not need representatives who want to take the country back to some imaginary good point in time, we need representatives that understand the challenges of an increasing global world and who have vision and courage. One other small point: the president and the vice-president are the only two offices that everyone in the country gets to choose. Senators are elected by a state's population and representatives only a district or parish in a state. We do not need term limits for our government officials because every two, four or six years we all get to choose. The language of hate and the rhetoric of victimization has permeated our society and we need to go through some rehabiliation program to put us back on the track of constructive dialogue. Citizens should think and they should ask questions. We need to do research from credible sources and not just accept information from talking heads. This is how we can improve our country and hold our representatives accountable for representing us.

    January 10, 2011 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  12. Anna Madre

    When you have people in power that speak publicly about "putting democrats in the crosshairs" what do you expect? So much hatred between political parties. I am actually surprised this doesn't happen more often. There are a lot of crazies in this world, and guns are too easy to acquire. People who say, "Guns don't shoot people, people shoot people" are really not very smart.

    January 10, 2011 at 2:36 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Pantina

    I do not blame Sarah Palin for the shooting that occured in Tuscan. Arziona. The map she posted was on the internet long before this event occured. Palin had no direct influence on the shooter and his motives. She did not approach the shooter and say, "Hey! Go here and start shooting people." Of course, we know Palin is not the brightest politician in our government, but we cannot blame her for this tragedy! The shooter was long ago noted to have some mental issues by those who knew and came in contact with him. So who's to truly blame? His parents? No, because once again they did not, as far as we know, tell him to perform these tragic actions. We can only let the American justice system do what it was created for, and persecute him to the fullest extent.

    January 10, 2011 at 3:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Justin B

      I believe that this shooting was a trgedy but i'm not sure why we are talking all the pausing moments. At the duck game last night, before that? i undertsnad that people were killed and it was tragerdy and an uwanted event but we can only hope that the killer gets what he deserves in punishment and the we pray for the families and friends who have lost their loved ones!

      January 11, 2011 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Anthony

    Here is the solution for this country. Repeal all the laws that are biased, and unfair. Correct the mistakes that have made so many suffer. Finally, when the government makes mistakes as they do, admit it.

    January 10, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Report abuse |
  15. MAC

    The blatant stupidity of some people is astounding, some blame the left others the right. Everything printed about Loughner suggests his politics went both ways – right and left. The media is enraptured with playing up his choice of literature, equally idiotic considering I've read Mein Kampf myself. Anyone studying WWII, in depth, has read it. Maybe the next story CNN runs with will be whether or not the Fall Out Boys was his favorite group and the impact it had on his mental stability.

    There is no evidence suggesting Loughner ever attended a Tea Party rally (right wing) or protested a G20 convention (left wing). Blaming Pailn goes way beyond the ridiculous, I don't like her but she's blameless in this tragedy. How about the college he was suspended from? No, they're not to blame. What about the military, maybe it's their fault for refusing him entry? No, wasn't their fault either. Guns are incapable of thought or action so the gun isn't to blame.

    All of the above being the case who's to blame? How about Loughner himself.

    For many Americans consummate stupidity is the norm. The commentary on the story is reflective of the pride in reveling in this mentality.

    January 10, 2011 at 7:24 pm | Report abuse |
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