Sunday, January 09, 2011

Law Enforcement Continue Investigating Murderous Rampage on Rep. Giffords Event

Six people were killed, including a federal court justice, a nine year old girl, and four others at a political event sponsored by Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a Safeway supermarket in Tuscon. The Congresswoman has survived a gunshot wound to the head. Federal Judge John Roll was among the six killed along with nine year old Christina Green was born on 9/11 and was featured in a book about babies born on 9/11. The others murdered by Loughner are:
* Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, was recently engaged to be married, was Giffords' director of community outreach. He graduated from Rincon High School in 1998 where he was active in student government. A vigil was held tonight by his friends who described him as "caring," "motivated," "a free spirit," and "a man who understood how to live life"
* Dorwin Stoddard, 76, was a church volunteer. When the shooting started, Dorwin tried to protect his wife by laying on top of her when the shooting started. She was wounded in the attack.
* Dorthy Morris, 76
* Phyllis Scheck, 79

Law enforcement is searching for a second person who they believe assisted Jared Lee Loughner in carrying out the murderous spree. The Pima County Sheriff's Office says that they have had contacts with Loughner before, and that he may have mental issues.
Loughner, 22, who is in law enforcement custody, lives near the scene of the shooting, which killed six people and injured at least a dozen others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said there's reason to believe Loughner has "a mental issue" and described him as "unhinged."

"As we understand it, there have been law enforcement contacts with the individual where he made threats to kill," Dupnik said during a press conference Saturday evening. But he wouldn't say who those threats were aimed at.

Police are also seeking a second, older man who may have had a role in the shooting.
Loughner's politically charged rambling videos may give investigators a motive as well. So too will the revelation that he was kicked out of community college for acting erratically and that school officials told Loughner's parents that he needed a mental health evaluation before he could return to school.
The evidence and reports about Mr. Loughner’s unusual conduct suggest an increasing alienation from society, confusion, anger as well as foreboding that his life could soon come to an end. Still, there appear to be no explicit threats of violence that explain why, as police allege, Mr. Loughner, 22, would go to a Safeway supermarket north of Tucson on Saturday morning and begin shooting at a popular Democratic congresswoman and more than a dozen other people, killing 6 and wounding 19.

Police officials on Saturday said that Mr. Loughner had a criminal record of some kind, but they did not provide any details. They also hinted that he might have had the help of a second person, adding that they were searching for another man.

Don Coorough, 58, who sat two desks in front of Mr. Loughner in a poetry class last semester, described him as a “troubled young man” and “emotionally underdeveloped.” After another student read a poem about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a “terrorist for killing the baby.”

“No one in that class would even sit next to him,” Mr. Coorough said. Another fellow student said that he found Mr. Loughner’s behavior so eccentric — including inappropriate remarks and unusual outbursts — that he wondered if he might be on hallucinogens. Mr. Loughner grew up in Tucson and was an unremarkable student at Mountain View High School, classmates said.

Grant Wiens, 22, who graduated in 2006 from Mountain View High School, a year ahead of Mr. Loughner, described him as “a kind of rare bird, very shy.”

“He didn’t seem very popular, but he kind of did his own thing,” Mr. Wiens said.

Mr. Wiens said that something Mr. Loughner said during a discussion about religion had stuck in his mind: “Whatever happens, happens,” Mr. Wiens recalled the suspect saying. “Might as well enjoy life now.”

Another former high school classmate said that Mr. Loughner may have met Representative Giffords, who was shot in the head outside the Safeway supermarket, several years ago.

“As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy,” the former classmate, Caitie Parker, wrote in a series of Twitter feeds Saturday. “I haven’t seen him since ’07 though. He became very reclusive.”
Expect that Loughner will be given a psychological evaluation and that his lawyers (when he is either assigned or obtains one) will likely make an insanity case rather than face the death penalty. Clearly, the charges that would likely flow from such criminal acts include the state and federal charges of murder in the 1st and 2d degree, and the attack on Rep. Giffords falls under 18 USC 351.

Was Loughner motivated by anti Semitism? Anything remains a possibility at this point as Giffords was Jewish and investigators think that Loughner may have been involved in a group called American Renaissance, which is anti-government, anti-immigration, anti -ZOG (Zionist Occupational Government), and anti-Semitic. However, that article claims that Giffords was the first Jewish female to be elected to such high position, but that doesn't quite make sense. Giffords is hardly the first Jewish woman to be elected to Congress (so I'm not sure how that article's assertion was made or the context). After all, we've had Jewish congresswomen before, and Sen. Feinstein of CA is Jewish (and one of the senior members of the caucus at that). It could make sense in the context of being the first female Jewish member of Congress from Arizona. The SPLC file on American Renaissance highlights the group's typical anti Semitic and racist diatribes.

Rep. Giffords remains in critical condition as Loughner has begun to be charged in the murderous rampage. First up are a series of federal charges:
Jared Loughner is charged with one count of attempted assassination of member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to killing a federal employee.

Heather Williams, the first assistant federal public defender in Arizona, says the 22-year-old suspect doesn't yet have a lawyer, but that her office is working to get a lawyer appointed for Loughner.
Expect the state counts to roll in with murder and attempted murder in the coming days. Loughner would face the death penalty on the federal charges alone, but his mental health is all but likely to come into play here and may see him incarcerated in a mental health facility.

A copy of the federal criminal complaint can be found here. It outlines the premeditated efforts by Loughner to assassinate Rep. Giffords.

No comments: