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Image: Jared Loughner
U.S. Marshals
Jared Loughner, seen in this picture taken by Pima County sheriff's investigators, made his first court appearance Monday.
NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 1/11/2011 1:06:36 AM ET 2011-01-11T06:06:36

Jared Loughner, head shaved, a cut on his right temple and his hands cuffed, stared vacantly at a packed courtroom Monday and sat down. His attorney, who defended "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, whispered to him.

It was the nation's first look at the 22-year-old loner accused of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

The three-term Democrat lay about a 100 miles away in a Tucson intensive care unit, gravely wounded after being shot through the head but able to give a thumbs-up sign that doctors found as a reason to hope.

Loughner seemed impassive and at one point stood at a lectern in his beige prison jumpsuit. A U.S. marshal stood guard nearby.

The judge asked if he understood that he could get life in prison -- or the death penalty -- for killing federal Judge John Roll, one of six who died in the shooting rampage at Giffords' outdoor meeting with constituents Saturday in Tucson.

"Yes," he said. His newly appointed lawyer, Judy Clarke, stood beside him as the judge ordered Loughner held without bail.

The judge ordered Loughner held without bail. The next court hearing was set for Jan. 24.

Throngs of reporters and television news crews lined up outside the federal courthouse, where the hearing was moved from Tucson. The entire federal bench there recused itself because Roll was the chief judge.

Ammunition purchased hours before
Loughner bought his ammunition at a Walmart store hours before the shooting, the Wall Street Journal reported Monday.

He was turned away from one Walmart when he tried to purchase ammunition but was sold the bullets at another Walmart nearby, the Journal reported, citing people familiar with the case. Walmart later told the Journal that that Loughner was not turned away from the first store, but left before completing the purchase.

A Walmart official said Monday night that the company reached out to law enforcement after one of its employees recognized a picture of Loughner on television as someone who had been in a store.

"We stand ready to provide any information or video surveillance footage we may have to investigators that can help them as they work to determine all of the facts," said company spokesman Dan Fogleman in a written statement.

Also Monday, the Journal reported that Loughner's father has prepared a public statement. Citing a neighbor who met with the family, the Journal reported that the father, Randy Loughner, had written a statement, but wasn't sure when to release it.

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President Barack Obama will travel to Arizona Wednesday to attend a memorial service for victims killed in last Saturday's attack, a U.S. official said Monday evening. Earlier, Obama led the nation in a moment of silence to remember the victims. As members of Congress stood on the steps on the Capitol, the president and first lady stood on the South Lawn of the White House with hands clasped and heads bowed for approximately one minute.

Criminal complaint against Jared Loughner (.PDF)

Giffords, a 40-year-old Democrat who was shot in the head, remained in critical condition but was able to follow simple commands, such as holding up two fingers when asked. Doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson said they were cautiously optimistic about her chances for recovery.

Image: Sketch of Jared Loughner
Bill Robles  /  AP
In this artist rendering, Jared Lee Loughner makes his first court appearance at the U.S. Courthouse in Phoenix.

Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County, where the shootings occurred, said Loughner was not cooperating. He told ABC News the suspect had said "not a word" to investigators.

Dupnik said authorities were all but certain Loughner acted alone, saying "he's a typical troubled individual who's a loner."

But Dupnik told the TODAY show that political rhetoric may have contributed to Loughner's actions. "I think the tone of rhetoric that's occurred in this country over the past couple of years affects troubled personalities," he said.

Investigators were still going through Loughner's computer and e-mails to learn more about a possible motive.

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'My assassination'
Investigators said they had found an envelope at Loughner's residence with the handwritten phrases "I planned ahead" and "My assassination," along with the name "Giffords" and what appeared to be Loughner's signature.

Federal officials told NBC News they also found a note addressed to Giffords — but apparently never sent — in which Loughner expresses his strong dislike for her.

Those familiar with the letter described it as threatening but said it does not state that he intended to kill her. It is not clear when the letter was written.

Police said Loughner purchased the semi-automatic Glock pistol used in the attack in November.

Court documents indicated Loughner had bought the weapon legally from the Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson. The state's laws allow the carrying of concealed weapons.

Image: Gabrielle Giffords
HO  /  Reuters
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was in critical condition in hospital, but was able to hold two fingers up when asked.

The FBI's affidavit supporting federal charges indicates there is surveillance camera video of the shooting. "Your affiant reviewed a digital surveillance video depicting the events at the Safeway..." the affidavit says in part.

Loughner is being represented in federal court by Clarke, the lawyer who has helped defend several high-profile clients including Kaczynski, alleged 9/11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui andSusan Smith, a South Carolina woman who drowned her two sons in 1994. He is charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee.

Pima County authorities said they planned to pursue state murder charges against Loughner as well. "This is not just a professional matter for me but a personal one since I knew many of these victims,” Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said, according to the New York Times.

The six killed included  Roll, 63, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Arizona, and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was born on Sept. 11, 2001, and was featured in a book called "Faces of Hope" that chronicled one baby from each state born on the day terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people.

Green was recently elected as a student council member and went to the morning's event because of her interest in government.

Story: Slain girl’s father: We wish we could have been with her

Others killed were Giffords' aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Scheck, 79.

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Gov. Jan Brewer scrapped wht was supposed to be a traditional State of the State address Monday to outline her political agenda to the state Legislature. Imstead, she used the forum to pay tribute to the victims.

"We will never be brought down," she said.

"Tragedy and terror sometimes come from the shadows and steal our joy and take away our peace," said Brewer, a Republican, who called Giffords "my good friend" and federal judge John Roll, who was among those killed, an "outstanding" public servant.

Brewer led lawmakers in a standing ovation for Daniel Hernandez, the intern on Giffords' staff whose quick action to fashion makeshift bandages and apply pressure to her head wound has been credited with possibly saving her life.

Cautious optimism
Doctors said Monday that Giffords' brain remains swollen, but the pressure hasn't increased.

"At this phase in the game, no change is good and we have no change," Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., the chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center in Tucson, told reporters.

A single bullet traveled the length of her brain on the left side, hitting an area that controls speech. 

Slideshow: Mourning follows deadly shooting in Arizona (on this page)

She has been put into an induced coma but is being awakened frequently to check her progress.

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Lemole, who operated on Giffords, earlier Monday told TODAY that he remained "cautiously optimistic" about Giffords' recovery.

Video: Neurosurgeon: Giffords ‘holding her own’

The day before she was wounded, Giffords sent an e-mail to a friend in Kentucky discussing how to "tone our rhetoric and partisanship down."  In the message, obtained by The Associated Press, the Democratic congresswoman congratulated Republican Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson on his new position as director of Harvard University's Institute of Politics.

She wrote him: "After you get settled, I would love to talk about what we can do to promote centrism and moderation. I am one of only 12 Dems left in a GOP district (the only woman) and think that we need to figure out how to tone our rhetoric and partisanship down."

Space station commander Scott Kelly, whose identical twin brother Mark Kelly is married to Giffords and is also an astronaut, led NASA in a moment of silence Monday as part of the national observance for all the victims of Saturday's shooting.

Flight controllers in Houston fell silent as Scott Kelly spoke via radio from space.  "We have a unique vantage point here aboard the International Space Station," he said. "As I look out the window, I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not."

Image: A Capitol policeman arranges flowers placed on the steps of the U.S. Capitol for Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, in Washington
Kevin Lamarque  /  Reuters
A Capitol policeman arranges flowers placed on the steps of the U.S. Capitol in Washington on Monday for Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

"These days, we are constantly reminded of the unspeakable acts of violence and damage we can inflict upon one another, not just with our actions, but also with our irresponsible words," he said.

"We're better than this. We must do better."

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky on Monday said the shootings will prompt a review of safety precautions for members of Congress.

"When an elected representative is gunned down in the very act of exchanging ideas with his or her constituents, democracy itself is attacked," McConnell said at the start of his meeting with a group of students at Martha Layne Collins High School in Shelby County.

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Of those injured in the shooting spree, eight were still hospitalized. Aside from Giffords, five were in serious condition and two in good condition.

Meanwhile, the leader of Westboro Baptist Church, an anti-gay Kansas-based church best known for picketing the funerals of slain U.S. soldiers and gay-pride gatherings, said its members will picket the funerals of the 9-year-old girl and five others killed in Saturday's attack. In a video, Fred Phelps says God sent the shooter to avenge the nation's sins.

"Thank God for the violent shooter," Phelps proclaims.

"We will remind the living that you can still repent and obey. This is ultimatum time with God."

Reuters, The Associated Press, NBC and msnbc.com staff contributed to this report.

Video: Unabomber attorney assigned to defend Loughner

Photos: Former Ariz. Representative Gabrielle Giffords

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  1. Gabrielle Giffords, the former congresswoman who was shot and left handicapped after a gunman opened fire at an event in Tucson, Ariz., and her husband retired Navy Capt. Mark Kelly prepare to testify before a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun violence in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 2013. (Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, leave the Newtown Municipal Building in Newtown, Conn. on Jan. 4, 2013. Giffords met with Newtown officials on Friday afternoon before heading to visit with families of the victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre. (Michelle Mcloughlin / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Gabrielle Giffords waves to the Space Shuttle Endeavor with her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly as it flies over Tucson, Ariz. on its way to Los Angeles, on Sept. 20, 2012. Kelly served as Endeavour's last space commander months after Giffords survived serious head injuries because of a 2011 shooting. (P.K. Weis / Southwest Photo Bank via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Gabrielle Giffords blows a kiss after reciting the Pledge of Allegiance during the final session of the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C. on Sept. 6, 2012. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Gabrielle Giffords stands on top of a peak in the French Alps with her husband Mark Kelly, right,, and mountain guide Vincent Lameyre, July 23, 2012. On her first trip out of the country since her injury in 2011, she rode a two-stage cable car to a station for spectacular views of Mont Blanc. (Denis Balibouse / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Ron Barber, right, celebrates his victory with Giffords, left, prior to speaking to supporters at a post election event, Tuesday, June 12, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz. Barber, Giffords' former district director, won her seat in a special election after she resigned to focus on her recovery. (Ross D. Franklin / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Democratic Florida Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, read Rep. Gabriell Giffords resignation speech on the House floor on Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2012. The day after President Obama's State of the Union speech, Giffords formally offered her resignation to Speaker John Boehner. Weeping, Shultz applauded the strength of her friend and colleague, "I'm so proud of my friend." (MSNBC) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. President Barack Obama hugs retiring Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords as the president arrives to deliver his State of the Union address on Tuesday, Jan. 24, 2012. (Pool / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., left, and Pelosi, right, posing with Giffords husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly of the Navy, at his retirement ceremony with Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Executive Office Building on the White House complex in Washington, Thursday, Oct. 6, 2011. (House Leader Nancy Pelosi's office / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords returns to the House for the first time since she was shot, making a dramatic entrance on Monday, Aug. 1, 2011, during a crucial debt vote. She drew loud applause and cheers from surprised colleagues. (NBC News) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords poses for a photo the day after the launch of NASA space shuttle Endeavour and the day before she had her cranioplasty surgery, outside TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital May 17, in Houston, Texas. Aides of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords posted two recent photos of the congresswoman to her public Facebook page, the first since the January 8 shooting that killed six people and wounded a dozen others. (P.K. Weis / Giffords Campaign / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Emergency workers use a stretcher to move Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head outside a shopping center in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. (James Palka / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. In this Jan. 5, 2011 file photo, House Speaker John Boehner re-enacts the swearing in of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Susan Walsh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. Rep. Giffords, left, speaks during a candidates debate with Republican candidate Jesse Kelly at the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., on Oct. 18, 2010. Kelly is an Iraq War veteran and was the Tea Party favorite for the 8th congressional district seat. (Joshua Lott / The New York Times via Redux Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords meets with constituents in Douglas, Ariz., in 2010. Giffords, 40, took office in January 2007, emphasizing issues such as immigration reform, embryonic stem-cell research, alternative energy sources and a higher minimum wage. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. Rep. Giffords speaks during a press conference in Washington, D.C., where members of Congress called on the President to secure the border with the National Guard on April 28, 2010. (James Berglie / Zuma Press) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. This picture provided by the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Monday, March 22, 2010, shows damage to her office in Tucson, Ariz. The congressional office was vandalized a few hours after the House vote overhauling the nation's health care system. (AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., center, gives a tour of Statuary Hall in the Capitol to Shuttle Discovery STS-124 astronauts Mission Specialist Akihiko Hoshide, of Japan, and her husband, Commander Mark Kelly, on Thursday, July 17, 2008. (Bill Clark / Roll Call Photos) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. From right. Rep. Ken Calvert, Rep. Dennis Moore, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and Rep. Heath Shuler, attend a House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security hearing on current and proposed employment eligibility verification systems on May 6, 2008. The hearing provided a forum for lawmakers on both sides of the immigration debate, focusing on a system to verify the legal status of workers and job applicants. (Scott J. Ferrell) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Gabrielle Giffords with U.S. Navy Cmdr. Mark Kelly, a NASA astronaut, at their wedding in Amado, Ariz., on Nov. 10, 2007. Kelly's twin brother, also an astronaut, is a commander on the International Space Station. "We have a unique vantage point here aboard the International Space Station. As I look out the window, I see a very beautiful planet that seems very inviting and peaceful. Unfortunately, it is not," said Scott Kelly of the tragedy that befell his sister-in-law. (Norma Jean Gargasz for The New York Times / Redux Pictures) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Representatives-elect including Dean Heller, top right, and Gabrielle Giffords, next to Heller, prepare for the freshman class picture for the 110th Congress on the House Steps on Nov. 14, 2006. (Tom Williams / Roll Call Photos) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords rides horseback in 2006. In an interview with NPR last year, she recalled working with horses during her adolescence in Tucson. "I loved cleaning out the stalls, and I did that in exchange for riding lessons. And I continue to ride most of my life. And I learned a lot from horses and the stable people ... I think it provided good training, all of that manure-shoveling, for my days in politics ahead." (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. A page entitled, "Just do it!" in La Semeuse, the Scripps College yearbook in 1993. The photo at right shows Giffords in traditional Mennonite clothing. That same year, she won a Fulbright award to study Mennonites and other Anabaptist groups in Northern Mexico. Gifford's senior thesis was titled "Wish Books and Felt-Tipped Fantasies: The Sociology of Old Colony Mennonite Drawings." (Scripps College) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Gabrielle Giffords' senior portrait from the 1993 Scripps College yearbook. Giffords double-majored in Latin American studies and sociology. A Dean's List student, Gifford won several awards during her time at Scripps. (Scripps College) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Gabrielle Giffords, right, laughs with her mom, Gloria Kay Fraser Giffords, in a photo published in the Scripps College yearbook. Gabrielle received a B.A. in Sociology and Latin American history from Scripps College in Claremont, Calif. in 1993. (Scripps College) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. University High School portrait of Gabrielle Giffords, class of 1988. Dr. John Hosmer, taught history to the future lawmaker. He tells msnbc.com, "Gabrielle sat in the front row. She was inquisitive ... She was a very mature person from the moment she walked in the door." (University High School) Back to slideshow navigation
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    Above: Slideshow (26) Former Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
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    Slideshow (45) Mourning follows deadly shooting in Arizona

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