Shortly after media reports identified the suspect in the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and 19 others in Tucson yesterday as 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, a woman named Caitie Parker began tweeting that she had once been friends with the man.“Saying Jared Laughner was the gunman. Really hoping that’s not the same guy I went to HS with, really good friend. Freaking out right now!!!” she tweeted yesterday afternoon.
Parker claims to have gone to high school and college as Loughner, and to have been in the same circle of friends and even once in the same band as the shooting suspect. Loughner also dated a friend of hers, Parker wrote. According to Parker, Loughner had met Giffords once before, in 2007, and afterwords called her “stupid & unintelligent.”
“[H]e was a pot head & into rock like Hendrix,The Doors, Anti-Flag. I haven’t seen him in person since ’07 in a sign language class,” she tweeted to Anthony De Rosa of Reuters media. “As I knew him he was left wing, quite liberal. & oddly obsessed with the 2012 prophecy.”
Parker wrote that Loughner had “a lot of friends” until he “got alcohol poisoning” in 2006 and dropped out of school. (School officials in Tucson told the media that Lougher had in fact dropped out.) She described him as “liberal” and “leftist” when she knew him, and said that he had become “reclusive.”
Just before tweeting that Loughner was identified, Parker had retweeted several messages about Giffords having been on Sarah Palin’s “target” list last year. She also claims to have voted for Giffords in the fall election.
[TPM SLIDESHOW: Across the Nation, Vigils Held for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords]
After her initial disclosures, Parker spent much of the night responding to other people’s question on Twitter, and even answering to some who doubted her story. (Read all her tweets here.)
“[T]he guy I knew was a polar opposite of the evil he became today,” she wrote.
This morning, Parker appeared on Good Morning America, where she said Loughner was “a funny guy, he was very caring,” and described him as political, with a love for music.
In addition to her Twitter profile, Parker keeps a MySpace page.