Giffords shooting: The attack and aftermath

What happened before, during and after the mass shooting that killed six people and injured 13 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).

Before the attack

Nov. 30: Jared Loughner purchases a 9mm Glock semiautomatic handgun at Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson. He passes the federal background check instantly.

Details of what Pima County Sheriff's Office investigators believe were Jared Loughner's actions leading up to the mass shooting:

11:35 p.m. Drops off a roll of film at Walgreens.

12:24 a.m. Makes a purchase at Circle K.

12:29 a.m. Checks into Motel 6.

2:19 a.m. Returns to Walgreens to retrieve photos. Among the photos are images of Loughner wearing a red g-string and pointing a gun at his buttocks.

2:34 a.m. Makes purchase at Chevron.

4:12 a.m. Posts bulletin titled "Goodbye friends" on MySpace.

6:12 a.m. Makes purchase at Wal-mart.

6:21 a.m. Makes purchase at Circle K.

7:04 a.m. Attempts to buy ammunition at Wal-mart.

7:27 a.m. Buys ammunition and a diaper bag at Super Wal-mart.

7:30 a.m. Arizona Game and Fish officer stops Loughner for running a red light.

Between 7:31 a.m. and 9:40 a.m. Returns home. Removes a black bag from the vehicle and is confronted by his father. He flees on foot carrying the black bag.

9:41 a.m. Cab driver picks up Loughner from Circle K and drives him to Safeway.

9:54 a.m. Cab driver and Loughner enter Safeway to get change for fare.

At the scene

Jan. 8: Giffords drives herself to the Safeway and arrives at 10 a.m.

As she walks to the table set up outside the entrance, she says good morning to the 20 or so constituents standing in line to see her.

At the scene

10:10 a.m.: Giffords is talking to two people when a gunman approaches and fires several shots point blank. After Giffords falls, a number of people near her try to flee but are trapped, hemmed in by the table and a concrete post. Three people behind the table are dead, including Judge Roll.

The gunman turns and starts shooting people down the line. A 9-year-old girl waiting in line is hit.

At the scene

10:11 a.m.: The first 911 call about the shooting is received.

The shooter attempts to reload his weapon when a woman grabs the gun's magazine and rips it away from him. The shooter tries to put another magazine in the gun, but the spring in the magazine fails. Two men subdue him until authorities arrive.

The weapon

The weapon used in the shooting was a Glock 19 semiautomatic handgun, with an extended magazine of 9mm bullets. Also found was another extended magazine, two standard magazines and a knife.

On Jan. 9, the day after the shooting rampage, federal prosecutors filed murder and attempted murder charges against suspect Jared Loughner. An envelope in a safe inside Loughner's home contained handwriting stating "I planned ahead," "My assassination" and the name "Giffords" along with what appears to be Loughner's signature, according to the federal charges filed in U.S. District Court in Phoenix.

Giffords's injury

All of the wounded are treated and removed from the scene within 40 minutes, including Giffords who is transported to University Medical Center.

The bullet entered above her left eyebrow and traveled through the left side of her brain, according to her doctors. The bullet did not cross the brain's midline into the right side.

Left hemisphere usually controls hearing, speech, comprehension and right-side movement.

The surgery

Surgeons performed this surgery, called decompressive craniectomy, a common procedure in treating traumatic brain injury.


Surgeons pulled back the scalp and removed a piece of her skull in order to give the swelling brain room to expand.


The scalp flap was replaced to protect her brain from infection. The skull piece will be kept alive while her brain heals. The next 48 hours are considered crucial.


Weeks or months later, when swelling has subsided and risk of infection is lower, the skull piece will be replaced.

SOURCES: Witness testimony, law enforcement complaint, staff reports, University Medical Center, Glock, Pima County Sheriff.

GRAPHIC: Wilson Andrews, Bonnie Berkowitz, Alberto Cuadra, Nathaniel Kelso, Laura Stanton, Pamela Tobey and Karen Yourish / The Washington Post - Updated January 20, 2011.

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