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Mother of Tucson killer Jared Lee Loughner took away his shotgun

This combination image shows Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who killed six people and wounded former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson in 2011. From left, Loughner at the Tucson Festival of Books in March 2010; in an undated photo from MySpace; and in a photo released by the Pima County Sheriff's Office.
(Mamta Popat / Arizona Daily Star; MySpace; Pima County Sheriff’s Office)

TUCSON -- The mother of Jared Lee Loughner, the man who went on a shooting rampage that killed six and wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said she took away his shotgun after school officials warned her about his increasingly odd and angry behavior, according to thousands of pages of records released Wednesday about the case.

In an interview with Det. Mark O’Dell of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, Amy Loughner said her son had been acting strangely for about a year, often talking to himself, and was angry with the government, though she did not say why.

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She said her son was angry after having to withdraw from Pima Community College, after an incident in which he made comments about abortion that his fellow classmates and others found so disturbing that the campus police were called.

That’s when his parents took away the shotgun.

Amy Loughner, referring to school officials, also said: “They recommended … if there’s any firearms in the house that we should, you know, put them away.”

“Did they say he was a danger to himself? Or is he a danger to others?” the detective asked.

“I think they said both,” Amy Loughner responded.

Loughner, now 24, has been sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

In the 3,000 pages of documents, she also described her son’s disturbing behavior, including talking to himself.

“Sometimes you’d hear him in his room, like having conversations. And sometimes he would look like he was having a conversation with someone right there, be talking to someone. I don’t know how to explain it. I don’t,” Amy Loughner said.

Before the killings, she said, her son hadn’t had a job for a year, since he worked for Eddie Bauer at the Tucson Mall. His parents supported him with small amounts of cash at Christmas and occasionally a few dollars meant for gas so he could search for a job.

Amy Loughner said her son smoked pot but had given it up; he’d tried cocaine but hadn’t had a drink in the five months prior to the incident.

The detective asked her if she believed her son’s statements about being clean.

“I believe him,” she answered. “We drug tested him.… My concern was like meth or something because his behavior was odd.”

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cindy.carcamo@latimes.com

@thecindycarcamo

Mello is a special correspondent.


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