1. Headline
  1. Headline

Video: Loughner's parents: 'We wish would could change...events'

  1. Closed captioning of: Loughner's parents: 'We wish would could change...events'

    >> turn now tonight to the suspect in this case, the accused assassin, jared lee loughner, by all accounts, a very troubled 22-year-old man. so much so, in fact, that many people are saying that the main story of this tragedy is more mental health than it is issues like the political process. tonight we finally heard from his family in our own mike taibbi is live outside the family home in tucson. mike, good evening.

    >> reporter: good evening, how are you, brian? in a written statement late today the parents of the suspect said we wish we could change the heinous events of saturday. we care deeply about the victims and families and we're so very sorry for their loss. the question remains, how could the parents of jared loughner been unaware of what their only child was thinking and allegedly planning living in the same house? secluded in their modest home, amy and randy loughner told the neighbor, wayne smith , to say a few words about how they were doing. in the aftermath of the tragedy their son is charged with creating they, too, are suffering.

    >> they're hurting bad. she's really bad. we may have to put her in the hospital.

    >> reporter: while they knew their son had problems they had no idea how far he had spiralled down.

    >> it's a sad thing. their son did this, not amy and randy. and people need to understand that.

    >> reporter: but many wonder how loughner's parents could not have questions which looks like a shrine in the backyard with a candles and replica skull. they wonder why they didn't see and hear what the classmates and teachers at pima community college heard from him in outbursts. nonsense cal tirades, some terrifying and not just now and then says his former classmate.

    >> this kid was so off the wall --

    >> every day?

    >> every day. so for, i don't know, for people not to notice, i find that hard to believe.

    >> reporter: but it seems loughner's parents lost touch with him. george, the father of one of his best friends , said loughner's parents showed up unannounced one day looking for jared.

    >> my son told me he was gone for an entire week.

    >> and the parents didn't know where he was.

    >> did they know his other influences? allegedly smoking pot and the over-the-counter hallucinogen like salvia and he likes documentaries that were scarey and he cut himself off from his friends.

    >> basically, he called or texted them and said, you know, i don't want anything to do with you anymore.

    >> isolated in his own home and apparently propelled by demons his parents say they never saw. federal investigators tell nbc news that loughner's parents have, in fact, cooperated fully with the investigation right from the beginning. brian?

    >> all right, mike taibbi not far from here at the

Photos: Former Ariz. Representative Gabrielle Giffords

loading photos...
  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
  1. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  2. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  3. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  4. Editor's note:
    This image contains graphic content that some viewers may find disturbing.

    Click to view the image, or use the buttons above to navigate away.

  1. Image: US Senate holds hearing on Gun Control
    Jim Lo Scalzo / EPA
    Above: Slideshow (26) Former Ariz. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords
  2. Image:
    Morry Gash / AP
    Slideshow (45) Mourning follows deadly shooting in Arizona
msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/11/2011 9:05:07 PM ET 2011-01-12T02:05:07

In his own way, Jared Loughner did try to fit in.

Before everything fell apart, the 22-year-old went through the motions as many young men do nowadays: Living at home with his parents, working low-wage jobs at big brand stores and volunteering time doing things he liked.

None of it worked.

  1. Related content
    1. Last Word: Tucson hero describes tackling shooter
    2. New threat note found in Tucson shooting
    3. NYT: Obama at memorial to focus on serving country
    4. First Thoughts: The right pushes back
    5. Armed hero nearly shot wrong man in Ariz.
    6. NYT: Ariz. gun laws among most permissive
    7. Suspect's parents: 'We don't know why this happened'
    8. NYT: Loughner's lawyer a capital case specialist
    9. Judges no strangers to balancing security
    10. The victims: Those killed or wounded in shooting
    11. Topics: More stories, videos on tragedy in Tucson

His relationship with his parents was strained. He clashed with co-workers and police. And he couldn't follow the rules at an animal shelter where he spent some time.

Now, he could be facing death. He is accused of trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, killing six people and injuring 12 others in a weekend shooting rampage in Tucson.

Story: Arizona shooting victims

And for all of it, his parents, silent and holed up in their home, apologized Tuesday.

"There are no words that can possibly express how we feel," they wrote in a statement handed to reporters waiting outside their house. "We wish that there were, so we could make you feel better. We don't understand why this happened.

"We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss."

The apparent target of the shooting spree, Giffords, 40, was able to breathe on her own Tuesday at an intensive care unit here, another hopeful sign of her progress, doctors said.

Devastation
Meanwhile, the southern Arizona city shattered by the rampage prepared for an evening memorial service and a visit from President Barack Obama on Wednesday.

The details of Loughner's life emerged in interviews with people who knew his family and co-workers. Some said his relationship with his parents was strained.

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
      OWN via Getty Images
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

Friends of Jared Loughner told The New York Times that his behavior had become increasingly erratic over the past year. He feared that two of his closest friends were planning to kill him, one of those friends told the Times on Tuesday.

“He did not have many friends,” Zane Gutierrez, 21, told the newspaper. “We stopped talking to him in March of 2010. He started getting weird.”

He said Loughner would call at 2 a.m. and ask, “Are you hanging out in front of the house, stalking me?”

“He thought we were plotting to kill him or steal his car or something,” Gutierrez said. “It got worse over time.”

  1. Stories from
    1. From LIFE: Candid Photos and Classic Portraits of John F. Kennedy
    2. Jennifer Aniston on Kim Kardashian's Butt Pic: I Did It First
    3. Does Vogue's New Office Have a Rat Infestation?
    4. DIY Acupuncture Is a Thing Now? With This Mat, It Is
    5. Kathy Griffin on Joining Fashion Police: Joan Rivers and I Talked About It

The parents of another close friend recalled how Loughner's parents showed up at their doorstep in 2008 looking for their son, who had left home about a week before and broken off contact.

While the friend, Zach Osler, didn't want to talk with The Associated Press, his parents Roxanne and George Osler IV did.

With the Loughners at their house, Zach Osler told them the name of the local hotel where their only child was staying, Zach's father said. Jared moved back in, he said.

After that, Osler's dad sometimes would see Mrs. Loughner at the local supermarket, though they didn't chat much. He recalled that every time he saw her she had at least one 30-pack of beer in her cart.

'Craved attention'
Loughner, now 22, would come over several times a week from 2007 to 2008, the Oslers said.

Story: Arizona suspect could face death penalty

The boys listened to the heavy metal band Slipknot and progressive rockers The Mars Volta, studied the form of meditative movement called tai chi, and watched and discussed movies.

Loughner's favorites included little-known conspiracy theory documentaries such as "Zeitgeist" and "Loose Change" as well as bigger studio productions with cult followings and themes of brainwashing, science fiction and altered states of consciousness, including "Donnie Darko" and "A Scanner Darkly."

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
      OWN via Getty Images
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

Even in small talk, he struck the Oslers as unusual.

"He always said, 'Hi, Mrs. Osler. How are you today?' When he left he made a point of coming over and saying, 'Thank you for having me over,'" said Roxanne Osler, noting that was not typical for Zach's friends. "Jared struck me as a young man who craved attention and acceptance."

Once he shared with the Oslers a short story he had written about a reporter meeting an angel during the apocalypse.

George Osler IV read it, thought it was well written, but couldn't identify the point.

"He seemed like he was kind of offended that I didn't get the message," George Osler said.

'He didn't get it'
Meanwhile, the unfailingly polite kid they knew was getting into trouble.

Loughner was arrested in October 2008 on a vandalism charge near Tucson after admitting that he vandalized a road sign with a magic marker, scrawling the letters "C" and "X" in a reference to what he said was Christianity.

The police report said Loughner admitted to other acts of vandalism in the area.

The case was ultimately dismissed after he paid a $500 fine and completed a diversion program.

Even when Loughner tried to do good, it didn't work out.

A year ago, he volunteered walking adoptable dogs at the county animal shelter, said Kim Janes, manager of the Pima Animal Care Center. He liked dogs; neighbors remember him as the kid they would see walking his own.

At the shelter, staff became concerned: He was allowing dogs to play in an area that was being disinfected after one had contracted a potentially deadly disease, the parvovirus.

"He didn't think the disease was that threatening and when we tried to explain how dangerous some of the diseases are, he didn't get it," Janes said.

He wouldn't agree to keep dogs from the restricted area, and was asked to come back when he would. He never returned.

Video: Memorials honor victims in Tucson tragedy (on this page)

Loughner also jumped from paid job to job because he couldn't get along with co-workers, according to the close high school friend who requested anonymity. Employers included a Quiznos sandwich shop and Banana Republic, the friend said.

On his application at the animal shelter, he listed customer service work at Eddie Bauer.

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.

Loughner grew up on an unremarkable Tucson block of low-slung homes with palm trees and cactus gardens out front. Fittingly, it's called Soledad Avenue — Spanish for solitude.

Criminal complaint against Jared Loughner (.PDF)

Solitude found Loughner, even when he tried to escape it. He had buddies but always fell out of touch, typically severing the friendship with a text message. Zach Osler was one such friend.

Loughner's father moved into the house as a bachelor, and eventually got married, longtime next-door neighbor George Gayan said. Property records show Randy Loughner has lived there since 1977.

Gayan said he and Randy Loughner had "differences of opinion but nothing where it was radical or violent." He declined to provide specifics. "As time went on, they indicated they wanted privacy," Gayan said.

Unlike other homes on the block, the Loughners' is obscured by plants. It was assessed in 2010 at $137,842.

'Coming to get you'
Randy Loughner apparently has not worked for years — at least outside his home. He did fix up cars. Gayan said he had three "show cars" and two of Jared Lougher's friends said he bought a junker '69 orange Chevrolet Nova and made it pristine.

Amy Loughner got a job with the county parks and recreation department just before Jared was born, and since at least 2002 has been the supervisor for Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park on the outskirts of the city. She earns $25.70 an hour, according to Gwyn Hatcher, Pima County's human resources director.

"She's worked hard, done a good job of keeping it looking good," said Charles Ford, a former Tucson City Council member who is a board member of Friends of Agua Caliente Park.

Linda McKinley, 62, has lived down the street from the Loughner family for decades and said the parents could not be nicer — but that she had misgivings about Jared as he got older.

  1. Only on NBCNews.com
    1. From belief to betrayal: How America fell for Armstrong
      OWN via Getty Images
    2. pool via Reuters file
      US to Syria neighbors: Be ready to act on WMDs
    3. China: One-child policy is here to stay
    4. NRA: Practice Range
      New 'Practice Range' shooter game says it’s from NRA
    5. 'Gifted' priest indicted in crystal meth case
    6. AFP - Getty Images
      China's state media admits to air pollution crisis
    7. AFP - Getty Images
      French to send 1,000 more troops to Mali

"As a parent, my heart aches for them," she said.

She added that when she was outside watering her plants she would see Jared riding down the street on his bike, often talking to himself or yelling out randomly to no one.

Once he yelled to some children on the street: "I'm coming to get you!" McKinley said.

Associated Press writers Amanda Lee Myers and Alicia Chang in Tucson, Christy Lemire in Los Angeles and news researcher Julie Reed in Charlotte, N.C., contributed to this report.

© 2013 msnbc.com

Gallery: Tragedy in Tucson: The shooting victims

Discuss:

Discussion comments

,

Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments