Arizona Suspect’s Recent Acts Offer Hints of Alienation-NY Times
WASHINGTON — Jared Lee Loughner had become increasingly erratic in recent months, so much so that others around him began to worry.
He had posted on his Myspace page at some point a photograph of a United States history textbook, on top of which he had placed a handgun.
He prepared a series of Internet videos filled with rambling statements on topics including the gold standard, mind control and SWAT teams. And he had started to act oddly during his classes at Pima Community College, causing unease among other students.
That behavior, along with a disturbing video, prompted school administrators to call in Mr. Loughner’s parents and tell them that their son had been suspended and would have to get a mental health evaluation to return to college. Instead, he dropped out in October, a spokesman for the college said.
Police officials on Saturday said that Mr. Loughner had a criminal record of some kind, but they did not provide any details. They also hinted that he might have had the help of a second person, adding that they were searching for another man.
Don Coorough, 58, who sat two desks in front of Mr. Loughner in a poetry class last semester, described him as a “troubled young man” and “emotionally underdeveloped.” After another student read a poem about getting an abortion, Mr. Loughner compared the young woman to a “terrorist for killing the baby.”
“No one in that class would even sit next to him,” Mr. Coorough said. Another fellow student said that he found Mr. Loughner’s behavior so eccentric — including inappropriate remarks and unusual outbursts — that he wondered if he might be on hallucinogens. Mr. Loughner grew up in Tucson and was an unremarkable student at Mountain View High School, classmates said.
Grant Wiens, 22, who graduated in 2006 from Mountain View High School, a year ahead of Mr. Loughner, described him as “a kind of rare bird, very shy.”
Neighbors of Mr. Loughner in Orangewood Estates, a middle-class subdivision of single-family homes north of Tucson, said that he lived with his parents, Amy and Randy Loughner, and that they did not believe he had siblings. Two neighbors said they saw the family come and go but knew little about them.
Army officials said Saturday night that he had tried to enlist but had been rejected for military service. Privacy rules prevented them from disclosing the reason.
Paul Schwalbach, the spokesman for the Pima Community College, said one video that Mr. Loughner had prepared was considered particularly troubling by campus administrators, motivating them to suspend Mr. Loughner in September.
College “police and other officials viewed it and found it very disturbing,” he said. After he was suspended, Mr. Loughner and his parents met with administrators, who said he would require a mental health clearance if he wanted to return to college.
It could not be learned on Saturday whether Mr. Loughner ever saw a psychiatrist or other professional or was diagnosed with a mental illness.
As recently as Saturday, he posted a message on his Myspace account hinting that he was going away.