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Investigators probe Loughner's finances; Giffords continues recovery

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In the hours before the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Jared Loughner went to Walmart, was pulled over for running a red light and ran from his father after an angry confrontation.

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Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, January 12, 2011; 3:50 PM

TUCSON - Federal and local investigators are trying to determine how Jared Lee Loughner came up with the money to buy the weapon and ammunition he allegedly used to kill six people and wound more than a dozen others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, in a shooting spree that was captured on a supermarket security camera, law enforcement sources said Wednesday.

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Giffords (D-Ariz.) continues to recover in a Tucson hospital from a gunshot wound to the head, and she is becoming "more and more spontaneous" as sedatives are decreased, a doctor said Wednesday.

About 21/2 hours before the attack, authorities said Wednesday, an Arizona state wildlife officer stopped Loughner for running a red light but had no reason to search the vehicle and allowed the young man to leave with a warning. The stop occurred several miles from the supermarket where the shooting later took place.

The officer from the Arizona Game and Fish Department, which has law enforcement authority, made the stop because Loughner ran a red light right in front of him, authorities said. At the time, Loughner was running errands, some of them associated with the subsequent shooting, law enforcement sources said. They said one of the errands involved a stop at a Wal-Mart to try to buy ammunition.

Authorities also disclosed that the shooting was captured on a security camera above the front door of the Safeway supermarket where Giffords was meeting constituents Saturday morning.

"While the video of the shooting was not perfect, it was pretty close," one law enforcement source said. The source said the video shows Loughner rushing forward, with his Glock at his side at first, and moving toward a table where Giffords was standing to one side of the Safeway's front door.

Law enforcement sources confirmed Wednesday that on the morning of the shooting, Loughner's father confronted him outside their home as he was removing a black bag from the trunk of a family car. Jared Loughner grabbed the bag and ran, and his father gave chase in his truck, the Associated Press reported. Law enforcement sources said the bag remains unaccounted for.

As investigators pressed ahead with the probe, President Obama headed for Tucson on Wednesday afternoon to attend an evening memorial service at the University of Arizona and deliver remarks on the tragedy.

At the U.S. Capitol, meanwhile, a bipartisan group of House lawmakers offered a resolution condemning the attack, gave floor speeches and attended a prayer service.

House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) struggled to contain his emotions as he told the chamber, "Our hearts are broken, but our spirit is not." He said it was time for the House to "lock arms, in prayer for those killed and wounded, and in resolve to carry on the dialogue of our democracy."

In Arizona, investigators believe that Loughner, 22, did not have sufficient income of his own to buy the Glock 19 semiautomatic handgun, the four magazines and the knife he allegedly carried to the gathering Saturday in front of a Tucson supermarket, the sources said. They estimated the cost at close to $1,000. Two of the magazines were extended ones capable of holding more than 30 rounds.

The FBI and Pima County Sheriff's Department investigators are examining the Loughner family's financial records, as well as Jared Loughner's telephone, Internet and e-mail records, as they try to ascertain where the money to buy the weapons came from, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to talk about an ongoing investigation.


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