College releases video of Loughner's ramblings; Giffords is taken off ventilator
Saturday, January 15, 2011; 11:41 PM
TUCSON - Alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner's community college released a home video on Saturday that he made as he toured the campus one night, rambling about currency and the Constitution and at one point declaring "this is my genocide school."
The video surfaced a week after the shootings here that killed six and left 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). Doctors said her recovery was continuing as expected Saturday, and the grocery store in the shopping center where the shootings took place reopened.
The nearly four-minute-long video, posted on YouTube in September and first reported by the Los Angeles Times, prompted Pima Community College to suspend Loughner. In it, he walks by some of the buildings where he took classes.
"We're examining the torture of students," Loughner, 22, says in the video. ". . .The war that we are in right now is currently illegal under the Constitution. What makes it illegal is the currency. The date is also wrong. It is impossible for it to be that date. It's mind control. . . . They're controlling the grammar."
Later, he says: "If the student is unable to locate the external universe, then the student is unable to locate the internal universe. Where is all my subjects? I could say something sound right now, but I don't feel like it."
It was the latest in a series of examples of erratic behavior by Loughner, who is in federal custody and charged with murder. Also Saturday, new details emerged about his actions in the hours before the shootings.
At 12:29 a.m. Jan. 8, police say, he checked into a Motel 6, which he used as the staging ground for a series of pre-dawn errands before that day's rampage. Loughner used a credit card to rent the room, paying $43.71, according to a source with knowledge of the investigation.
The hotel clerk told authorities that Loughner did not appear to be under the influence of drugs but "was just messed up," according to the source, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the investigation.
A few hours later, Loughner was seen pacing in the motel's first-floor hallway. The desk attendant asked what he was doing; Loughner did not reply. The clerk told investigators "he gave off an aura that frightened me," the source said.
Loughner later posted a bulletin on his MySpace page titled "Goodbye friends," according to a timeline released Friday by the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
On Saturday, at the scene of the shootings, the Safeway grocery store reopened. Safeway officials said the store's 88 employees have come back to work or plan to return. None of the 31 who were working when the massacre occurred was hurt.
At 10:10 a.m. Saturday, the time of the shootings, Safeway officials observed a moment of silence to honor the victims.
Dawn Gallagher, who has worked at the store since it opened in 1992, said she has been "scared since the shooting" but added, "now I feel like I'm at home with everybody."
Three Safeway employees on their lunch break sat at tables outside the store and recalled what had happened. Two of them were working in the store when the gunfire began.
Sandra Lee Rountree, who works in the deli department, said she remembers hearing people say "Run! Run to the back of the store!" Many employees later came out front to help give CPR and water to the injured. Butcher aprons were used to put pressure on wounds.
The Pima County sheriff, Clarence Dupnik, appeared at the reopening. He said that 31 bullets were fired in front of the store and that if it hadn't been for the "courageous people who tackled the gunman, it would have been a greater massacre than it was."
He said the shooter had in his possession two more ammunition magazines - one with 31 rounds and another with 30 - when he was taken into custody.
Later Saturday, doctors at Tucson's University Medical Center said Giffords has been taken off a ventilator and is breathing on her own through a tube inserted into her windpipe. She had been breathing independently, but a ventilator was in place as a preventive measure.
In a posting on its Web site Saturday, the hospital said "a surgical procedure (tracheotomy) was performed this morning on the Congresswoman to replace the breathing tube that ran down her throat with a tracheotomy tube in her windpipe, protecting her airway and freeing her from the ventilator."
"Her recovery continues as planned," the statement said. Surgeons also inserted a feeding tube.
Doctors said these procedures are common among brain-injured patients. Giffords remains in critical condition.
Staff writer David Nakamura contributed to this report.