Sunday, January 09, 2011

LOUGHNER MADE DEATH THREATS THAT WERE IGNORED BY AUTHORITIES

The man arrested for opening fire at a community meeting held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Saturday -- killing six people and injuring 13 others -- disrupted classes at Pima Community College, tried to manipulate his dreams and posted rambling messages on the Internet.

The suspected shooter is Jared Lee Loughner, a 22-year-old who lives on the northwest side. He is mentally unstable and may have had an accomplice, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Saturday evening.

A former classmate of Loughner at Pima, from which he was suspended Sept. 29 for code-of-conduct violations, said he was "obviously very disturbed."

"He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts," said Lynda Sorenson, who took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College's Northwest campus.

Dupnik said the suspected shooter has made death threats before and been contacted by law-enforcement officers. The threats weren't against Giffords, Dupnik said.

[snip]

As a middle school student, Loughner was "kind of an outcast," said Shannin Macey, who said via e-mail she attended Tortolita and Mountain View with him. In high school, Loughner was in jazz band and played the saxophone, but he dropped out in junior year, said Tommy Marriotti, who was a high-school friend of Loughner.

At the time he dropped out, Loughner was having drug problems, Marriotti said, but he seemed to do well once he started taking classes at Pima.

Loughner attended Pima courses from summer 2005 until he withdrew in October after his suspension, the college said.

He tried to enlist in the Army in 2008 but was rejected, said First Sgt. Brian Homme, who oversees Army recruiting in Tucson. Loughner was sent to Phoenix to take a test and physical, but "he was found to be unqualified," Homme said.

[snip]

Sorenson, Loughner's classmate at Pima, said he was asked to leave the pre-algebra class several times and eventually was barred from class.

Pima officials said in a news release that from February to September 2010, Loughner had five contacts with PCC police for classroom and library disruptions at Northwest and West campuses.

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