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Was Gunman’s Actions Motivated By Hateful Political Vitriol

By NESS
 

January 11, 2011 - On Saturday, at approximately 10:00 a.m., deputies responded to the Safeway located at the southeast corner of Oracle and Ina Road, Tucson, Arizona. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was holding a town hall meeting at the location when a 22 year old male, Jared Loughner opened fire with a handgun shooting the  Congresswoman in the head. Loughner had legally purchased a Glock 19 9 mm handgun at Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson on November 30. 

Giffords remains in critical condition at the University Medical Center in Tucson. Giffords is in a medically induced coma and had part of her skull surgically removed to ease pressure on her brain. At the time of the shooting Giffords was hosting a "Congress on your Corner" were should would typically hold with her constituents. The event was held outside a Tucson Safeway grocery store.

 

A female and two males tackled the gunman. Ms. Patricia Maisch was at the event, in the rear of the line, waiting to take a photograph with Congresswoman Giffords when the suspect began shooting. When the suspect tried to load a fresh magazine into his weapon, Ms. Maisch was able to grab the bottom of the magazine and prevent it from being inserted. 

Just after the shooting, another individual was seen at the location, possibly associated with the suspect. He was described as a Caucasian male, approximately 40-50 years old, dark hair and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a dark blue jacket. 

However, the person of interest that was being sought by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department was located during the morning of January 9, 2011. He was identified as a cab driver who drove the suspect to the location dropping him off at 9:59 a.m. The surveillance video showed the cab driver and the suspect entering the Safeway together. The cab driver explained the suspect needed to get change to pay the fare. The investigators are satisfied with the explanation provided by the cab driver. Investigators now believe Loughner acted alone.

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. An additional male, Joseph Zamudio, also assisted in restraining the suspect’s legs.

The timeline of the event regarding the first response by law enforcement and medical personnel is as follows: 10:11:56 a.m. - First 911 call is received, 10:15 a.m. - First deputy arrives on scene and 10:16 a.m. – First medical personnel arrive on scene. Within one minute of the first deputy’s arrival, the suspect was in custody and medical personnel began treating the injured. 

 
  At least 18 individuals were injured, including the Congresswoman. Clarence W. Dupnik, Sheriff of Pima County confirmed 5 were pronounced deceased at the scene and a 9 year old was later pronounced at the hospital. The deceased have been identified as: John Roll (63), Dorothy Murray (76), Dorwin Stoddard (76), Christina Greene (9), Phyllis Schneck (79) and Gabriel Zimmerman (30). 

Loughner was taken into police custody and has refused to speak to investigators, invoking his rights. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Loughner has not said a word to police. The Public Defenders Office has requested San Diego attorney Judy Clarke, a private attorney to represent Loughner. To prevent grounds of bias the Public Defenders Office will not want to appoint one of their attorneys. Clarke had previously defended "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, and Susan Smith, a convicted child killer.
     

During a search of Loughner's home, investigators came across an envelope with handwriting that read "I planned ahead," and "My assassination" and the name "Giffords," as well as Loughner's signature. Investigators report Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was the clear target of the shooting. 

Loughner had attended Pima Community College. However, facing suspension, Loughner withdrew. The suspension was due to Loughner’s mental health. School administrators informed Loughner in order to return back to school he would need a metal health evaluation and clearance indicating he was not at risk of causing harm to himself or others.

Many a suggesting that Loughner’s actions at the rally were motivated by the hateful speeches by such people as Sarah Palin, John Boehner, Michele Bachmann, etc., and news outlets as Fox News and Rush Lombard radio network.

 

On Monday President led moment of silence for shooting victims

 
With using such political vitriol as 'Don't retreat, reload', putting crosshairs on congressional districts as targets. Rep. Robert Brady, D-Pa intends to propose outlawing language or symbols that could be perceived as threatening or inciting violence against a member of Congress.

Clarence W. Dupnik, Pima County Sheriff, is overseeing the investigation, said on Saturday, the "vitriol" in today's political discourse contributed to the incident and that Arizona has become "a mecca for prejudice and bigotry." Dupnik condemned the "atmosphere of hatred and bigotry" that he said has gripped the nation and suggested that the 22-year-old suspect being held in the shooting was mentally ill and therefore more susceptible to overheated messages in the media.
 
"There's reason to believe that this individual may have a mental issue. And I think people who are unbalanced are especially susceptible to vitriol," he said during his televised remarks. "People tend to pooh-pooh this business about all the vitriol we hear inflaming the American public by people who make a living off of doing that. That may be free speech, but it's not without consequences."

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said on Saturday "I am deeply saddened by reports that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll and others were attacked today in Tucson, Arizona. There is no place in our society or discourse for such senseless and unconscionable acts of violence. Gabby is a steadfast representative for southern Arizona and both she and John are dedicated public servants".
 
 
   
On Sunday A criminal complaint was filed in federal court, Loughner is being charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the United States and two counts of intent to kill employees of the United States. The federal complaint filed against Jared Lee Loughner include:

Count 1: On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did attempt to kill Gabrielle Giffords, a Member of Congress; in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 351(c). 

Count 2: On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did unlawfully kill Gabriel Zimmerman, an employee of the United States who was engaged in performance of official duties and who was assisting Member of Congress Gabrielle Giffords while she was engaged in performance of official duties; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1111.

Count 3: On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did unlawfully kill John M. Roll, a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Arizona, an employee of the United States who was engaged in performance of official duties; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1111.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Talks about Palin's Cross Hairs and how the Political  Rhetoric needed to be toned down. Interview was given March 25, 2010.  
 

Count 4: On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did, with intent to kill, attempt to kill Pamela Simon, an employee of the United States who was engaged in performance of official duties and who was assisting Member of Congress Gabrielle Giffords while she was engaged in performance of official duties; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1113. 

Count 5: On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did, with intent to kill, attempt to kill Ron Barber, an employee of the United States who was engaged in performance of official duties and who was assisting Member of Congress Gabrielle Giffords while she was engaged in performance of official duties; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1113.

Chief Judge John M. Roll of the District of Arizona was one of the victums gin down. He was 63. Judge Roll was appointed to the federal bench in 1991 after serving as an Arizona state judge. He also had worked as a state and federal prosecutor. He became chief judge of the district court in 2006. Flags outside federal courthouses were flown at half staff on Monday to honor Judge Roll. 

“The violence in Arizona today has senselessly taken five lives and inflicted tragic loss on dedicated public servants and their families. We in the judiciary have suffered the terrible loss of one of our own. Chief Judge John Roll was a wise jurist who selflessly served Arizona and the nation with great distinction, as attorney and judge, for more than 35 years. I express my deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his children, as well as the other victims and their families. Chief Judge Roll’s death is a somber reminder of the importance of the rule of law and the sacrifices of those who work to secure it,” said Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr. on behalf of the entire Federal Judiciary.

Loughner made an initial appearance on the complaint at 2:00 PM local time on Monday, front of U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson at the Sandra Day O’Connor Courthouse in Phoenix. The Rules of Criminal Procedure require that a grand jury review the evidence and issue an indictment within 30 days of the defendant's initial appearance. The United States has moved to detain Loughner because he is accused of a crime of violence. The defendant remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.

“This office is reviewing all the evidence in the case, consulting with the victims and their families of these crimes, and teaming and coordinating with our law enforcement partners. We will consider all appropriate charges at the indictment stage of the case,” said the United States Attorney Dennis K. Burke.

“I have been in consistent contact with Attorney General, Eric Holder, as well as Deputy Attorney General Cole, apprising them of the developments in this case. We are devoting all the necessary resources that a case of this magnitude demands from our office and the Department of Justice. We are focused and we are determined to achieve justice.”

 
    The maximum penalties for the offenses charged in the Criminal Complaint are as follows: Count 1: Attempted Assassination of a Member of Congress, 18 USC 351(c) – life imprisonment, Counts 2, 3: Murder of Judge John Roll and Gabriel Zimmerman, 18 USC 1114 and 1111 – death or life imprisonment and Counts 4, 5: Attempted Murder of Pamela Simon and Ron Barber, 18 USC 1114 and 1113 – 20 years’ imprisonment.

Loughner has been charged by criminal complaint of shooting U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll, and Giffords' staff members Gabriel Zimmerman, Pamela Simon, and Ron Barber on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson. A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. The United States Constitution and the Rules of Criminal Procedure require that a grand jury review the evidence and issue an indictment within 30 days of the defendant's initial appearance.

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