Six Killed in Horrifying Attack
On January 8, 2011, Jared Lee Loughner loaded his Glock 19, grabbed extra magazines, and went to a public speaking engagement by Arizona Representative Gabby Giffords. Giffords was doing a “Congress on your corner” event at a local supermarket. The day would end with six people dead, and the Congresswoman seriously injured with a bullet wound to the head.
Loughner was a twenty-two year old Arizona man. He had been suffering from mental illness and his condition had seemingly deteriorated since he was about eighteen. By the time of the shooting, he was using drugs and alcohol to cope with was determined to be paranoid schizophrenia. He became fixated on certain things and unable to hold a job. One of his fixations was with Arizona Congresswoman Giffords. He began to speak incoherently about antigovernmental views. He even once said that college is unconstitutional, causing nervous administrators at Pima Community College to expel him. They feared he was capable of a school shooting.
In November of 2010, Loughner legally purchased the Glock that would be used in the shooting. The night before the massacre he left some bizarre goodbye messages on social media platforms. Up early on the morning of the shooting, he legally purchased extra ammunition and proceeded to Gifford’s scheduled event.
Loughner made his way to the front of the crowd and opened fire on Giffords, shooting her in the head. He then seemed to fire indiscriminately into the crowd. When Loughner was reloading, courageous bystanders Roger Salzgeber, Bill Badger, and Patricia Maisch were able to grab the gun and subdue the deranged attacker until police arrived.
In total, six people were killed, including a 9-year-old girl. Thirteen people were shot including Giffords, who survived, but suffered a brain injury. It would be a long road to recovery for the Congresswoman. She resigned her seat in 2012 to focus on her rehabilitation. She remains active on gun control issues and recently was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Loughner was initially deemed incompetent to stand trial. After more than a year of treatment, he was recovered sufficiently to plead guilty to 19 federal charges. He was sentenced to life imprisonment in November of 2012. He is serving his time at Federal Medical Center in Minnesota.