On Campus

College fretted over Tuscon shooter for more than a year

Officials described him as "dark, creepy, strange, pscyho..."

More than 250 e-mails show college officials fretted over murderer Jared Lee Loughner’s behaviour for more than a year before he was expelled. The Arizona Republic newspaper had to sue Pima Community College in order to get access to the documents about the man who fatally shot six people and wounded 13 others at a mall in Tuscon, Arizona on Jan. 8., 2011. In the e-mails, teachers and administrators described Loughner as “dark, creepy, strange, bizarre and psycho.” But that was only the beginning. Here’s the rest:

Sep. 2009 – Loughner e-mailed his Tai Chi instructor to say that the class “is a scam.” The instructor e-mailed another college official to say, “I see so many people come through my classes that there will be a few psycho eggs. I could tell he had emotional problems…”

Feb. 2010 – A concerned student e-mailed a professor to warn that Loughner had a knife sitting on his desk during class. The instructor e-mailed her back to say that he hadn’t seen it.

June 2010 – A college police officer recommended that Loughner be expelled after an outburst in a math class. “I have no idea what he is capable of doing,” instructor Benjamin McGahee wrote to the officer. “I just want our class to be safe.”

But the dean disagreed. “It is a matter of balancing a disruptive student’s right to due process with the rights of other students in the class,” Dean Patricia Houston wrote. “Since there has been no direct threat from the student… I did not feel comfortable rushing to remove the student from class,” she wrote in another e-mail.

Sept. 2010 – “All we can do with this student is actually address the behavior and performance,” administrator Lorraine Morales wrote to fellow administrators. “Have you provided anything in writing to the student about his behavior? Does he agree or deny your assessment of inappropriate behavior? Does he provide a reason why he disagrees?” she asked them. Morales suggested next steps, including “a behavior contract, maybe.”

Sept 23, 2010 – A teacher asked an officer to meet her outside her classroom because Loughner was “being verbal [sic] disruptive.”

Sept. 29, 2010 – College officials circulated the transcript and link from the infamous YouTube video in which Loughner says “this is my genocide school.” They write, “the student filmed himself touring the campus and claiming to be a victim of torture and mind control.” They circulate another e-mail to staff with a picture that says: “Jared Lee Loughner is not permitted on any Pima Community College property. If you see him, please contact campus police immediately.”

Oct. 2010 – Campus police e-mailed federal firearms agents to check whether Loughner was listed. They wrote back to say he that he wasn’t.

Jan. 8, 2010 – Loughner killed 6 people and injured 13 others at a mall in Tuscon, Arizona.

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