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Sheriff: Giffords shooter may have accomplice, made death threats

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Sheriff: Giffords shooter may have accomplice, made death threats

Loughner wrote about killing online

  • Loughner's photo in his 2006 Mountain View High School yearbook, when he was a junior.
    Loughner's photo in his 2006 Mountain View High School yearbook, when he was a junior.
  • Loughner's MySpace page
    Loughner's MySpace page

Update: the man sought for questioning turned out to be a cab driver who dropped of the suspect, authorities said.

The man linked to the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others may have an accomplice, said Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

Authorities released a photograph of a man they call a "person of interest" in the case early Sunday morning.

The suspect, who was detained at the scene of the shooting that killed 6, was the subject of "some police interest in the recent past," Dupnick said. The sheriff indicated that the man had made death threats and "has kind of a troubled past."

"We have reason to believe the individual may have a mental issue," Dupnik said of the shooting suspect.

Giffords "was the target" of the shooting, Dupnik said.

Although authorities have not identified the alleged shooter, sources have named the gunman as Jared Lee Loughner, 22, of Tucson. The shooter, who used a semi-automatic pistol with an extended magazine, is in custody after being tackled by two witnesses at the scene.

The final post on Loughner's MySpace page (which has been taken down) on Saturday said "Goodbye friends Dear friends...Please don't be mad at me." Other postings talked of killing a police officer, murder and aiming a shot.

Loughner, a Systems Administration student at Pima Community College, was suspended from the school in September after repeatedly disrupting classes, the college said.

"We have reports that he was a Pima College student," Dupnik said of the suspect in custody.

Investigators have reason to believe that the 22-year-old suspect had an accomplice, said Dupnik, who would not elaborate on the reason for that belief.

"We have photos of him," he said, and described the possible suspect, a white male in his 50s, as a "person of interest."

Loughner had five contacts with PCC police after classroom and library disruptions from February to September 2010, A. Rachelle Howell, the school's assistant vice chancellor for marketing, said in a release:

On September 29, 2010, College police discovered on YouTube a Loughner-filmed video made at Northwest Campus. In the video, he claims that the College is illegal according to the U.S. Constitution, and makes other claims.

Working with legal counsel, College administration issued a letter of immediate suspension on September 29, 2010. That evening, two police officers delivered the letter of suspension to the student at his and his parents' residence and spoke with the student and his parents. 

The suspension letter indicated that he was to contact the Northwest Campus to schedule an appointment to discuss the Code of Conduct process and suspension status. Other than for this appointment, he was prohibited from returning to the College.

Loughner and his parents met Northwest Campus administrators October 4, 2010. During this meeting Loughner indicated he would withdraw from the College.

Court records show Loughner had at least two other minor scrapes with the law.

In October 2007, he was cited by the Pima County Sheriff's Department for possession of drug paraphernalia. That charge was later dismissed after Loughner completed a diversion program.

In October 2008, Loughner was charged with a "local charge" in Marana Municipal Court, a charge that was also dismissed after he completed a diversion program.

Dupnik said the two people who tackled the gunman "were brave individuals," noting that his semi-automatic pistol still had "a substantial number" of rounds in an extended magazine when the gunman was taken into custody.

The suspect might have planned to commit suicide, Dupnik told reporters at a 6 p.m. briefing.

Loughner's videos & MySpace comments

Loughner's online postings revolve around gold and silver currency standards and literacy rates, and include some threatening messages. Loughner's YouTube channel includes videos that comment on government failures.

The last video, posted on Dec. 15, includes text and music.  It includes commentary on English literacy,  dreaming, and a new moral currency. 

"What's government if words don't have meaning," one slide of the video "Introduction: Jared Loughner" says.

"In conclusion, it is my ambition  - is for informing literate dreamers about a new currency. In a few days, you'll know I am conscience dreaming. Thank you!" says the final slide of a video called "Hello."

The final post on Loughner's MySpace page on Saturday said "Goodbye friends Dear friends...Please don't be mad at me."

"WOW! I'm glad i didn't kill myself. I'll see you on National T.v.! This is foreshadow .... why doesn't anyone talk to me?.." Loughner posted on MySpace on Dec. 14.

On Dec. 13, he wrote: "I don't feel good: I'm ready to kill a police officer! I can say it."

A post from Dec. 30 said "I know how to graduate without a cult ceremony. Please! don't think of murdering."

An earlier message says " shot is now ready for aim."

He listed his favorite books on his online profiles, including "Mein Kampf" and "The Communist Manifesto," "Animal Farm," "Brave New World," "To Kill a Mockingbird," and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest."

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