Details of suspect in US rampage slowly emerge

An initial portrait of the man accused of shooting Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head in an attack that also killed six people outside a Tucson grocery store slowly began to emerge, as authorities described a young man with a troubled past and neighbors recalled a 22-year-old who often kept to himself.

One former classmate said the accused gunman, Jared Loughner, often did his own thing. Another described him as a student who disrupted class with occasional outbursts.



Neighbors said Loughner wasn't hostile toward anyone but certainly didn't warm up to anyone, either.



"He was a guy in high school who definitely had his opinions on stuff and didn't seem to care what people thought of him," said Grant Wiens, 22, who told The Associated Press on Saturday he went to high school and had a class at Pima Community College with Loughner.



Loughner is in custody after authorities said he opened fire outside a grocery store as Giffords, a Democrat, met with voters. The rampage left the congresswoman wounded. Arizona's chief federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and four others were killed.



Authorities said the accused gunman targeted the three-term congresswoman, but an exact motivation was not immediately known. Many questioned whether America's polarized political climate had played a role, even as Loughner's political views remained unclear late Saturday.



Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described the gunman as mentally unstable and said he possibly acted with an accomplice.



Federal law enforcement officials poured over versions of a MySpace page that belonged to Loughner and over a YouTube video published weeks ago under an account "Classitup10" and linked to him. The MySpace page, which was removed within minutes of the gunman being identified by officials, included a mysterious "Goodbye friends" message published hours before the shooting and exhorted his friends to "Please don't be mad at me."



On his MySpace page, Loughner spoke of how he liked to read and he also wrote repeatedly about literacy, complaining that the rate was especially low in the congressional district where he lived.



"The majority of people, who reside in District-8 are illiterate hilarious. I don't control your English grammar structure, but you control your English grammar structure," he said.



In an interview, Wiens also said Loughner used to speak critically about religion. He also talked about how he liked to smoke pot.



"He wasn't really too keen on religion it seemed like," Grant Wiens, 22, told The Associated Press. "I don't know if floating through life is the right term or whatever, but he was really just into doing his own thing."



Loughner's MySpace profile indicated he attended and graduated from school in northwest Tucson and had taken college classes. He did not say if he was employed.



Tamara Crawley, director of the Marana Unified School District in Tucson, said Loughner attended Mountain View High School in Tucson for three years but withdrew after completing his junior year in 2006. Crawley did not know why Loughner had withdrawn from Mountain View High.



A former Mountain View High School classmate, Gabriella Carillo, 22, said he transferred to Aztec Middle College Northwest, which she described as a magnet school, for his senior year.



On Saturday, she remembered Loughner as a tall, thin, intelligent teenager who was good at basketball, liked to read and worked hard in his high school band classes but didn't seem to apply himself in other courses.



"I know that he caused a lot of trouble in his classes other than band," she said. "If he tried, he would probably be at the top of our class. But he kind of just wasted his life."



"There are some guys who are just angry," she said. "I never really saw a smile on his face at all."



Carillo, who played in the high school orchestra, said Loughner had few friends, and most of them were in the school band.



Lynda Sorenson said she took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College's Northwest campus and told the Arizona Daily Star he was "obviously very disturbed."



"He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts," she said.



In a Dec. 15 YouTube video, Loughner describes himself as a U.S. military recruit.



The Army released a statement indicating Loughner was not accepted.



In October 2007, Loughner was cited in Pima County for possession of drug paraphernalia, which was dismissed after he completed a diversion program, according to online records.



A year later he was charged with an unknown "local charge" in Marana near Tucson. That charge was also dismissed following the completion of a diversion program in March 2009, the Daily Star reported.



Ryan Miller, 19, was a sophomore at Mountain View when Loughner was a senior. He said Loughner was seemed like a normal kid.



"I was in shock," he said, describing his reaction to the shooting. "I didn't know what possessed someone our age to do something like this."

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Tradewind Recruitment: Geography Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: We are currently looking for a Geog...

Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key Stage 1

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: Phase Co-ordinator for Foundation and Key S...

Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: SEN Teacher We have a fantastic special n...

Tradewind Recruitment: History Teacher

Negotiable: Tradewind Recruitment: My client is an 11-18 all ability co-educat...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee