Sheriff: Accused Shooter 'Unhinged,' Made Threats Jared Lee Loughner, 22, who is in law enforcement custody, lives near the scene of the shooting, which killed six people and injured at least a dozen others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said there's reason to believe Loughner has "a mental issue."
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Sheriff: Accused Shooter 'Unhinged,' Made Threats

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Sheriff: Accused Shooter 'Unhinged,' Made Threats

Sheriff: Accused Shooter 'Unhinged,' Made Threats

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Today, a more detailed picture of Jared Lee Loughner is emerging. The suspect is being held in the shooting yesterday of congresswoman Giffords and many others. Police are also seeking a second, older man who they say may have been involved.

NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us to discuss the investigation. Good morning, Ari.


HANSEN: Ari, what's known now about Loughner?

SHAPIRO: He's 22 years old. He lives - or lived near the scene of the crime. He apparently went to Pima Community College, which is in Tucson. And Clarence Dupnik, the sheriff in Pima County, said there's reason to believe Loughner has a mental issue. Later, he described Loughner as unhinged. Some YouTube videos that Loughner recently posted certainly support that theory.

Here's some of what Sherriff Dupnik said yesterday.

Sheriff CLARENCE DUBNIK (Pima County, Arizona): As we understand it, there have been law-enforcement contact with the individual, where he made threats to kill.

SHAPIRO: And Dupnik wouldn't say where those threats were aimed at - who they were aimed at. He also said that Loughner has a criminal record, but he wouldn't go into greater detail about what the offenses were.

HANSEN: What was in those YouTube videos you mentioned?

SHAPIRO: Well, we were able to find six videos, all of them posted in the last few months. The most recent one is titled "America: Your Last Memory as a Terrorist Country." It shows a hunched-over man in a hooded sweatshirt, burning an American flag in a desert landscape. And the soundtrack to the video is the song called "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor."

There are other videos that have long, written tirades that are often disjointed. They talk about the government, about currency, about grammar. In one those videos, he writes: The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America's Constitution.

In another, he says: I can't trust the current government because of the ratifications. The government is employing mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar.

SHAPIRO: In these videos, he writes that teachers are con artists. He goes on at length about being what he called a conscience dreamer. And at one point, he claims in a video to be a military recruit. But yesterday, an Army spokesman said that Loughner applied for the military and was rejected. They wouldn't explain why he's rejected - why he was rejected - because of privacy rules.

And then on the YouTube profile page, Loughner also lists some of his favorite books. And you know, you never want to read too much into this sort of thing, but some are about political dystopias. There's "Brave New World" and "Animal Farm," by George Orwell, on the list. There are other books that are about fantasy worlds, like "Through the Looking Glass" and "Alice in Wonderland." And then there are some that are overtly connected to political ideology, like "Mein Kampf" and "The Communist Manifesto."

One final thing about his online paper trail: He had a MySpace page that was taken down soon after the shooting yesterday. We were unable to see it, but a few news organizations say that just before the shooting - hours before - he posted a goodbye message, saying: Goodbye, dear friends. Please don't be mad at

HANSEN: Police are looking for a second man. Do you know anything about him?

SHAPIRO: Well, law-enforcement officials wouldn't - don't know who this man is. Last night, Sheriff Dupnik said they have reason to believe that Loughner came to the grocery store with another individual, who may in some way be involved but not as a shooter.

Here's part of what he said.

Sheriff DUPNIK: And as much as we would like to find this person - and we have pictures of him - at some point in the near future, hopefully, we'll be allowed to provide the public with that.

SHAPIRO: And later in the night, law-enforcement officials did release that photo. It appears to be from a supermarket security camera. And police asked for the public's help finding the man in the photo. They described him as a Caucasian male, approximately 40 to 50 years old with dark hair, last seen wearing blue jeans and a dark-blue jacket.

HANSEN: Is there any information yet about the motive?

SHAPIRO: Well, as Audie mentioned, there's a lot of speculation about the motive. Law-enforcement officials are not saying anything about the motive. But you know, of course, Arizona has been the center for some of the hottest debates in the country - over health care, illegal immigration, other political controversies.

This suspect, as Sheriff Dupnik said, was unhinged. But yesterday, Dupnik also seemed to suggest that the passion surrounding political debates may have spurred on the shooter.

Sheriff DUPNIK: When you look at unbalanced people, how they are - how they respond to the vitriol that comes out of certain mouths, about tearing down the government; the anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in this country is getting to be outrageous. And unfortunately, Arizona, I think, has become sort of the capital.

SHAPIRO: A reporter said to the sheriff: If you're not going to talk about motive, how do we know vitriol is what caused this? And the sheriff replied: You don't know.

HANSEN: NPR's Ari Shapiro. Thank you, Ari.

SHAPIRO: You're welcome.

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