Motives Sought In Arizona Shooting

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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' medical condition was upgraded from critical to serious over the weekend. And she's now breathing on her own. Authorities continue to investigate the motives behind the accused gunman's crime.


This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

Let's get a brief update now on the condition of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. She's improving. Her condition was upgraded, over the weekend, from critical to serious. She was taken off a ventilator and is now breathing on her own.

Meanwhile, the investigation continues into what motivated the accused gunman. Here's NPR's Jeff Brady with the latest.

JEFF BRADY: The alleged gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, is in federal custody and the FBI has taken the lead role in the investigation. Pima County Sheriff Spokesman Jason Ogan says federal agents have control of the evidence now. But there is still the matter of state charges that could be filed against Loughner.

Mr. JASON OGAN (Spokesman, Pima County Sheriff): We are still going through some things and we have meetings with the county attorney here later this week to discuss what charges are, you know, we going to pursue. Can we mirror the federal charges? You know, is it going to be a double-jeopardy kind of deal? Or do we have to, you know, scale back a little?

BRADY: At the Safeway where the shooting happened, the store reopened this weekend and shoppers gingerly pushed carts past a memorial near the front door. There are piles of flowers, lit candles, stuffed animals.

Ms. PEG ANDERSON: There's a sign that says United against hate and violence.

BRADY: Peg Anderson lives just about a quarter-mile from here and she stopped by to take a picture. Thinking back to a week ago, she remembers all the talk, prompted by Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, that a nasty political environment might have led to the shooting. Then Anderson agreed, but now says she's not sure. She wonders how anyone could know what was happening in Jared Loughner's mind.

Ms. ANDERSON: And so I think it's dangerous to attribute it to anything that has been said or happened, but I can understand why there's that reaction. I had that reaction myself. And I do think this has made everybody sit up and pay attention to how they treat each other.

BRADY: As for Sheriff Dupnik, it's hard to tell if his thinking has changed. He's pretty much stopped making media appearances. The sheriff's office spokesman says he can't speak to why, but says the sheriff may be available to talk with reporters later this week.

Jeff Brady, NPR News, Tucson.�

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