POSTED: Monday, January 10, 2011 - 11:06am
UPDATED: Monday, January 10, 2011 - 7:09pm
TUCSON, AZ - Jared Loughner, 22, the man accused of the shooting rampage in Tucson, AZ is making his first appearance in federal court today.
He faces five criminal counts including murder and attempted assassination.
At Tucson's Mountain View High School Loughner was an unremarkable presence, and somewhat shy. By last spring though Don Cooragh said Loughner was no longer funny. They were in a poetry class together at Pima Community College, where Cooragh says Loughner insulted classmates and delivered his own poems in jarring performances that always seemed inappropriate.
"Jumping around the room, grabbing his crotch, pointing at people. I don't want to say angry but he had a very intense look on his face."
In fact, in another class Loughner's sudden outbursts made Lynda Sorenson so uncomfortable she e-mailed one friend, "He is one of those whose picture you see on the news, after he has come into class with an automatic weapon."
"He just made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. He frightened me."
And while he didn't threaten violence then the school expelled Loughner pending a mental health clearance showing he was not a danger. And then more bad news. When Loughner tried to enlist in the army, he was rejected; and neighbors say there was growing tension in the suburban Tucson neighborhood where he and his parents live.
"Never ever seen them interact with anyone in the neighborhood unless it is in anger."
In November authorities say he bought a his gun, a Glock semi-automatic, at this local Sportsman's Warehouse, a legal purchase, since he had no disqualifying criminal or mental health record. At the same time he was posting rambling diatribes on Youtube.
"I know who's listening: Government officials and the people who aren't aware of mind control and brainwash methods."
An FBI affidavit on the search of Loughner's home describes an envelope on which Congresswoman Giffords' name was handwritten... along with the words..."I planned ahead" and "My assassination."
Experts say the goal might have been not just assassination, but mass murder."
"She might not be the specific target as a Congresswoman but as a symbol of the government that he railed against."