Jared Lee Loughner is a convicted mass murderer from America. He has been sentenced to 140 years in federal prison after pleading guilty to 19 charges of murder and attempted murder, including that of slain Chief U.S. District Court Judge John Roll and a nine-year-old bystander. However, his intended target, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, escaped with severe injuries and would later make full recovery. Although he had friends, Loughner grew up reclusive in a reportedly private household. All accounts about his past life agree that he was sweet and caring as a youth but his behavior drastically changed when he turned 18. He began abusing both drugs and alcohol and developed anti-religious and anti-government views. His actions and demeanor became so erratic and bizarre that the teachers at the college he was attending at the time began questioning his mental health. In October 2010, he was suspended and the college authorities told him that he could return only after he had resolved his code of conduct violations and acquired a mental health certificate. Loughner also harbored regressive views about women in politics and had expressed his dislike for Giffords. The attack, which has come to be known as the 2011 Tucson Shooting, took place on the morning of January 8, killing six people and injuring 13 more. Following his arrest, Loughner was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia.
Childhood & Early Life
Jared Lee Loughner was born on September 10, 1988, in Tucson, Arizona to parents Amy (née Totman) and Randy Loughner. His father was a retired gasoline truck driver while his mother was employed at the City Parks Department. The family has been described as “private” by their neighbors and Loughner, who did not have several friends, was characterized as someone who mostly kept to himself and often did not respond to others.
He studied at Mountain View High School in Mesa, Arizona but did not graduate, dropping out in 2006. It was around this time, at least according to the people who knew him, that his behavior started to become more volatile. His closest friend at school, Zach Osler, stated that Loughner’s life started to come apart following the break-up with his high-school girlfriend. According to the said girlfriend, Kelsey Hawkes, herself, he was “sweet” and “caring” when they were in a relationship.
The Loughner home wasn’t a happy household. Neighbors have reported that they often heard Randy yelling at his son over minor things.
Jared was a talented saxophone player and much of his young life revolved around music. He played in his school’s jazz band and was also involved in other projects outside school.
As a young man, he did several odd jobs but failed to hold on to any of them. His former employer at Quiznos sandwich shop said that while he was initially an enthusiastic worker, he underwent a drastic personality transformation after which he became more withdrawn and negligent at his job. He was eventually fired. Later, he volunteered at the Pima Animal Care Shelter where he had the job of walking the dogs, but after a brief period, he was told not to come back.
Following his break-up with Hawkes, Loughner’s drinking became a problem. He also started to take different types of drugs and hallucinogenics, including marijuana, LSD, cocaine, psychedelic mushrooms, and Salvia divinorum.
He was arrested twice: once in 2007 when he was charged for the possession of the drug paraphernalia, and a second time in 2008 for drawing a stylized CX, what he called were Christian symbols, on a street sign in Marana, Arizona. After he completed a division program in March 2009, the latter charges were dropped. In December 2008, Loughner was rejected from enlisting in the US Army after a failed drug test.
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Jared Lee Loughner enrolled at the Pima community College through a program that helped high school dropouts make a successful transition to community colleges. Sometime in mid-2010, he began taking algebra classes. But his classmates and teachers soon became wary of his odd behavior and inappropriate comments.
The college authority ultimately suspended him, and his parents were contacted by the campus police. Loughner and his parents were informed on October 4 that if he wanted to return, he would have to obtain a mental health clearance and clear up his code of conduct violations. He would never submit his mental health evaluation nor make any other effort to return to the college.
His behavior worried his parents as well. At one point, they used to disable his car every night so that he would stay at home. They also asked him to get professional help. His father took away his shotgun on one occasion. He also found a new obsession in controlling what he thought to be lucid dreams.
According to records, Jared Lee Loughner had registered as an independent in 2006 and 2008. Responding to the speculation that Loughner’s actions were fuelled by his distaste for partisan politics rhetoric in media, Osler told ABC News that Loughner did not watch TV; he disliked the news. He didn’t listen to political radio and didn’t take sides; he wasn’t on the left, he wasn’t on the right.
However, Caitie Parker, one of his classmates both at high school and college, classified him as “Left wing, quite liberal” before his radical transformation. The Guardian, after going through his online writings and videos, termed him “exclusively conservative and anti-government.”
An active member of the message board Above Top Secret, which is used for conspiracy theories discussions, he supported fringe beliefs on 9/11 attacks and the New World Order, and thought that the world would end in 2012. He was a fan of online documentary series ‘Zeitgeist’, which shaped many of his views on global currency.
Acquaintances have called him ‘anti-theist’. He did not name his religion on his US Army application form. In one of his videos, titled ‘Final Thoughts’, he declared, “No, I don’t trust in God!”, alluding to the United States Nation Motto that appears on the country’s paper and metallic currency.
Loughner had been critical of Giffords for a long time. He often cited her as “fake” and even believed that women should not hold positions in politics. His dislike for her only intensified after going to her August 25, 2007 event where he asked her a question. Her answer did not satisfy him and he kept the form letter from the event inside a box along with an envelope that had phrases like “die bitch” and “assassination plans have been made” written on it.
The 2011 Tucson Shooting
On November 30, 2010, Loughner bought a 9mm Glock pistol from a Sportsman Warehouse store in Tucson. He purchased ammunition on the morning of January 8, 2011, from a Wallmart store at North Cortaro Road in Tucson. At 7:34 a.m., he was driving to his destination when he was pulled over by Arizona Game and Fish Department officer Alen Edward Forney for ignoring a red light but was let go after Forney realized that Loughner had no outstanding warrants out for him.
At some point, he got off his car and took a taxi to the Safeway supermarket in Casas Adobes where Giffords was hosting the first Congress on Your Corner gathering of the year. He opened fire at her at 10:10 MST, hitting several bystanders as well.
Among the casualties were John Roll, Chief U.S. District Court Judge, Gabe Zimmerman, one of Giffords' staffers; and a nine-year-old girl named Christina-Taylor Green. Giffords herself was shot in the head but survived as one of her interns, Daniel Hernández Jr., gave her first-aid assistance.
Arrest, Trial & Sentencing
Jared Lee Loughner was caught by bystanders and later handed over to the police. He eventually faced 50 federal criminal charges including killing federal government employees, attempting to assassinate a member of Congress, and attempting to kill federal employees. Pleading guilty to 19 of them to avoid a death sentence, he was sentenced on November 8, 2012 to serve seven consecutive life terms as well as 140 years in prison without the possibility of parole.