Loughner behaved erratically before Giffords shooting, newly released records show

March 27, 2013

Reporters in Arizona are combing over about 2,700 newly released records related to the assassination attempt against then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in January 2011.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department released the records for the first time Wednesday, providing more information about the tragedy that claimed the lives of six and wounded 13.

The Arizona Daily Star is live-blogging its findings here.

According to news reports, these are among the key findings so far:

* Convicted shooter Jared Lee Loughner's parents say Pima College officials asked that they take away Loughner's shotgun because of his increasingly erratic behavior, but that he never received the mental health evaluation they recommended when he was expelled.

* His father, Randy, told police: "I tried to talk to him. But you can’t. He wouldn’t let you. ... Lost, lost and just didn’t want to communicate with me no more.”

* Loughner was pulled over on the morning of the shootings for running a red light, but he was not cited. (It had previously been reported that Loughner was pulled over.)

* Loughner's mother believed that he was using methamphetamine and insisted that he be tested, but the test came back negative. And Loughner's father disabled his car so that Loughner couldn't leave at night.

Updated 4:22 p.m.: Giffords has responded to the release of the documents:

"The details released today regarding the shooting in Tucson reaffirm what this country already knew: The mentally disturbed young man who shot me and murdered six should never have had access to a gun. No one piece of legislation will end all gun violence, just like no one piece of legislation would have prevented the Tucson shooting. However, I hope that commonsense policies like universal background checks become part of our history, just like the Tucson shootings are. Our communities will be safer because of it."

Aaron Blake covers national politics and writes regularly for The Fix, the Post’s top political blog.
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