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Loughner indicted in Giffords shootings
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Loughner indicted in Giffords shootings

  • Loughner, in a photo taken by the Pima County Sheriff's Department during their investigation.
    PCSDLoughner, in a photo taken by the Pima County Sheriff's Department during their investigation.

Jared Lee Loughner was indicted Wednesday for attempting to kill U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and two of her aides, the U.S. attorney said.

A grand jury indicted Loughner for his attempts on the lives of Giffords and aides Ron Barber and Pamela Simon.

"Today, the Grand Jury returned an initial three-count indictment against Jared Lee Loughner in the Tucson shooting case. We are in the early stages of this ongoing investigation. We have made considerable progress in a short period of time," said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke in a news release.

"This case also involves potential death-penalty charges, and (Justice) Department rules require us to pursue a deliberate and thorough process," Burke said. "Today’s charges are just the beginning of our legal action. We are working diligently to ensure that our investigation is thorough and that justice is done for the victims and their families."

Six were killed in what authorities have called an assassination attempt on Giffords. 13 were wounded, including Giffords, Barber and Simon.

All except Giffords have been released from the hospital.

Loughner was taken into custody at the scene, after citizens disarmed him and held him down when he tried to reload his 9mm Glock, authorities said.

The federal criminal code requires that an indictment be brought within 30 days of an arrest.

"The indictment alleges that Loughner, 22, of Tucson, attempted to assassinate Gabrielle Giffords, a Member of Congress, 18 USC 351(c,), and attempted to murder two federal employees, Ron Barber and Pamela Simon, 18 USC 1114 and 1113," Burke said.

Loughner was charged Jan. 10 with the attempted killings, and the murder of Gabriel Zimmerman, a member of Giffords' staff.

He may face the death penalty in Zimmerman's death.

Loughner has not yet made a plea in the case.

A conviction for the attempted assassination of a member of Congress carries a maximum penalty of life in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.  A conviction for attempted murder of a federal employee carries a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison, a $250,000 fine or both.

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