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Picture Of Suspect's Troubled Life Comes Into Focus

Shootings suspect Jared Loughner lived with his parents in this Tucson home on Soledad Avenue —  Spanish for solitude.
David Becker
Getty Images
Shootings suspect Jared Loughner lived with his parents in this Tucson home on Soledad Avenue — Spanish for solitude.

In his own way, Jared Loughner did try to fit in.

Before everything fell apart, the 22-year-old did what a lot of people his age do these days: Lived at home with his parents, went to community college, worked low-wage jobs at big-box stores and volunteered his time for a cause he believed in.

None of it worked.


His relationship with his parents was strained. He struggled at school and eventually got kicked out. He clashed with co-workers and police. And he couldn't follow the rules at an animal shelter where he spent some time.

Copies of this written statement from Randy and Amy Loughner were distributed to reporters waiting outside  their home Tuesday.
David Becker
Getty Images
Copies of this written statement from Randy and Amy Loughner were distributed to reporters waiting outside their home Tuesday.

Now, he could be facing death. He is accused of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killing six people and injuring 13 others in a weekend shooting rampage in Tucson.

And for all of it, his parents apologized Tuesday.

"There are no words that can possibly express how we feel," Randy and Amy Loughner wrote in a statement handed to reporters waiting outside their house. "We wish that there were, so we could make you feel better. We don't understand why this happened. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss."

The apparent target of the shooting spree, Giffords was able to breathe on her own Tuesday, as the city she represents in Congress prepared for a memorial service and visit from President Obama on Wednesday.


More Clues Turn Up

Sheriff's officials said they discovered a few more clues Tuesday about the events leading up to the shooting.

Pima County Chief Rick Kastigar said they found a note with the words "Die, bitch" in Loughner's home. Authorities believe the note was a reference to Giffords. It was found alongside other menacing notes including "I planned ahead," "My assassination" and the name "Giffords."

And on the morning of the shooting, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said, Loughner's father saw his son take a black bag out of a car trunk. The sheriff says Randy Loughner approached his son, who mumbled something and took off running.

A Friend's Parents Speak

More details of Loughner's life emerged in interviews with people who knew his family and from co-workers.

The parents of one close friend recalled how Loughner's parents showed up at their doorstep in 2008 looking for their son, who had left home about a week before and broken off contact.

Roxanne and George Osler IV told the Associated Press that Jared Loughner would come over several times a week from 2007 to 2008 to spend time with their son Zach.

The boys listened to the heavy metal band Slipknot and progressive rockers The Mars Volta, studied the form of meditative movement called tai chi, and watched and discussed movies.

Loughner's favorites, they said, included little-known conspiracy-theory documentaries such as Zeitgeist and Loose Change as well as bigger studio productions with cult followings and themes of brainwashing, science fiction and altered states of consciousness, including Donnie Darko and A Scanner Darkly.

Even in small talk, Jared struck the Oslers as unusual.

"He always said, 'Hi, Mrs. Osler. How are you today?' When he left he made a point of coming over and saying, 'Thank you for having me over,' " Roxanne Osler said, adding that was not typical for Zach's friends. "Jared struck me as a young man who craved attention and acceptance."

Once he shared with the Oslers a short story he had written about a reporter meeting an angel during the apocalypse.

Trouble With The Law

Meanwhile, the unfailingly polite kid they knew was getting into trouble.

Loughner was arrested in October 2008 on a vandalism charge near Tucson after admitting that he vandalized a road sign with a magic marker, scrawling the letters "C" and "X" in a reference to what he said was Christianity.

The police report said Loughner admitted to other acts of vandalism in the area.
The case was ultimately dismissed after he paid a $500 fine and completed a diversion program.

A Voluteer Effort

Even when Loughner tried to do good, it didn't work out.

A year ago, he volunteered walking adoptable dogs at the county animal shelter, said Kim Janes, manager of the Pima Animal Care Center. He liked dogs; neighbors remember him as the kid they would see walking his own.

At the shelter, staff became concerned: He was allowing dogs to play in an area that was being disinfected after one had contracted a potentially deadly disease, the parvovirus.

"He didn't think the disease was that threatening and when we tried to explain how dangerous some of the diseases are. He didn't get it," Janes said.

He wouldn't agree to keep dogs from the restricted area, and was asked to come back when he would. He never returned.

Loughner also jumped from paid job to job because he couldn't get along with co-workers, according to a close high school friend who requested anonymity.

Loughner grew up on an unremarkable Tucson block of low-slung homes with palm trees and cactus gardens out front. His street is called Soledad Avenue -- Spanish for solitude.

Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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