Feds Formally Charge Jared Loughner For Murders, Attempting To Kill Gabby Giffords

January 9, 2011 10:44 am

The Justice Department just filed charges against Jared Lee Loughner for a count of attempting to kill Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), two counts of first degree murder of federal employees and two counts of attempted murder of federal employees. We’ve got a copy of the complaint from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona posted here.

FBI Special Agent Tony M. Taylor writes in a statement of probable cause that John M. Roll, the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona who was killed yesterday, had worked with Giffords within the last several months to resolve issues related to the volume of cases filed in the District of Arizona. It seems to confirm the theory that Roll was simply at the wrong place at the wrong time and that Loughner was targeting Giffords.Taylor writes that — according to surveillance video he’s reviewed along with other evidence — Loughner shot Giffords, Roll and staffers Gabriel Zimmerman, Pamela Simon and Ron Barber as well as approximately 14 other individuals. Charges on for the other murders, including the murder of a nine-year-old girl, will likely be filed on the state level.

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Across the Nation, Vigils Held for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords]

Taylor writes that the FBI searched a safe that was owned by Loughner at the home where he resides. They found a letter from Rep. Giffords on her Congressional stationary dated Aug. 30, 2007 which thanked him for attending a “Congress On Your Corner” event at Foothills Mall in Tucson. Also in the safe, Taylor writes, was an envelope with handwriting reading “I planned ahead” and “my assasination” and the name “Giffords” along with what appeared to be Loughner’s signature.

On Fox News on Sunday, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik read from letters Loughner wrote which “he indicated that he was going to kill that bleeping lady.”

[TPM SLIDESHOW: Dem Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Shot In Arizona]

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) determined that Loughner purchased a Glock semi-automatic pistol on or about Nov. 30, 2010 from Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson. The purchase, the FBI agent writes, was verified by store receipts and video, among other evidence.

Loughner, said the Justice Department, was charged with trying to kill Giffords in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 351(c); killing federal employees Gabriel Zimmerman and John M. Roll in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1111; attempting to kill Pamela Simon and Ron Barber, both employees of the United States engaged in performance of official duties and assisting Member of Congress Gabrielle Giffords while she was engaged in performance of official duties; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1113.

At a press conference in Arizona today, FBI Director Bob Mueller would not rule out additional charges against Loughner, including possible terrorism charges.

Patrick J. Cunningham, the chief of the Criminal Division in Phoenix, is handling the criminal case against Loughner. Read the complaint here.

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