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FBI Director: Loughner is suspect in Giffords shooting rampage

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FBI Director: Loughner is suspect in Giffords shooting rampage

Dupnik: Up to 20 shot, 3 heroes kept attack from being worse

  • Mueller
    Dylan Smith/TucsonSentinel.comMueller

Jared Lee Loughner is the suspect in custody in the shooting of up to 20 people Saturday at a consituent event held by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, FBI Director Robert Mueller confirmed Saturday.

This is the first time that a law enforcement official would go on the record and confirm reports by reliable sources that Loughner is the suspect.

Three people, including a woman who was reported to be shot, tore the Glock 9mm pistol used by Loughner away from him, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.

Authorities later said the woman was uninjured.

A woman tried to grab the gun from Loughner as he reloaded. Two others grabbed him as the second magazine jammed, Dupnick said.

The woman, who was later identified as Patricia Maisch, was wounded while "trying to get the gun away from him," Dupnik said Sunday morning. Later, authorities said Maisch was uninjured.

Deputy Jason Ogan gave the following account:

Maisch was at the event, in the rear of the line, waiting to take a photograph with Rep. Giffords when the suspect began shooting.

When the suspect tried to load a fresh magazine into his weapon, Maisch was able to grab the bottom of the magazine and prevent it from being inserted. This pause in shooting allowed for two men, Roger Salzgeber and Bill D. Badger, to tackle the suspect to the ground and restrain him until deputies arrived.

Another man, Joseph Zamudio, also assisted in restraining the suspect's legs, Ogan said.

"Formal charges are expected to be filed this afternoon," said Mueller, speaking at a news conference Saturday.

Loughner is in FBI custody. Federal charges will be filed in the killings of U.S. District Judge John Roll and Giffords staffer Gabe Zimmerman, and the wounding of Giffords and two other staffers, Mueller said.

Additional charges may be filed under a domestic terrorism statute, Mueller said.

"This was an attack not only against dedicated public servants, but against our citizens," Mueller said. 

Giffords "was the target" of the attack, Mueller said. No motive has been determined, he said.

Up to 20 may have been shot in the incident, which took place around 10:10 a.m., Dupnik said. Earlier reports put the number at 19.

Loughner fired a 9mm Glock 19 pistol with a 31-round magazine, Mueller and Dupnik said.

Loughner purchased the gun on Nov. 30 at the Sportsman’s Warehouse, 3945 W. Costco Dr, sources say.

Mueller confirmed the timing of the purchase, but officials would not go on record about the location.

Loughner was not a prohibited possessor, and the purchase was legal, authorities said.

The suspect emptied his gun and was apprehended by three people at the scene as he tried to load a second 31-round magazine, Mueller and Dupnik said.

31 bullets were found in the second magazine, Dupnik said.

Dupnik said authorities were still seeking a dark-haired white man in his 50s as a person of interest, although they are less certain the second man was involved in the attack.

"This person may not have been involved in the shooting" but authorities still need to talk with him, Dupnik said.

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

Mueller said Loughner had contact with Giffords at a "similar event" in 2007. No details were provided.

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