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Monday
Jan102011

Arizona Sheriff Blasts Rush Limbaugh for Spewing 'Irresponsible' Vitriol

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- The Arizona sheriff investigating the Tucson shooting that left U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded had harsh words Monday for those engaging in political rhetoric, calling conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh "irresponsible" for continuing the vitriol.

"The kind of rhetoric that flows from people like Rush Limbaugh, in my judgment he is irresponsible, uses partial information, sometimes wrong information," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Monday. "[Limbaugh] attacks people, angers them against government, angers them against elected officials and that kind of behavior in my opinion is not without consequences."

Limbaugh on Monday railed against the media and Dupnik for trying to draw a link between the heated political climate and the shooting rampage, calling the sheriff a "fool." But Dupnik stood by his assertions.

"The vitriol affects the [unstable] personality that we are talking about," he said. "You can say, 'Oh no, it doesn't,' but my opinion is that it does."

Investigators have yet to determine what motivated 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, described by some as appearing to be mentally unstable, to allegedly open fire on the crowd outside the Tucson Safeway. However, so far there is no evidence that he has any ties to any political group

Dupnik took ABC News' Diane Sawyer on a tour Monday of the Safeway where six people were killed and 14 others, including Giffords, were injured.

Dupnik said eyewitnesses reported that the gun was about a foot away from Giffords' head when she was shot. The gunman then fired wildly and seemingly indiscriminately at the crowd of people.

"It's a matter of seconds," he said. "I'm told he was firing as fast he was capable of firing."

"He's trying to reload when one of the individuals hits him over the head with a chair," he said, "and then people grab him and a lady grabs the magazine and at that point he is subdued."

Dupnik maintains that it was Loughner's own demons, not his state's relatively lenient gun control laws, that caused the tragedy on Saturday.

"He could have purchased this gun in any state. It's not just Arizona," said Dupnik, who owns a gun. "There are too many people who have temper problems who have troubled personalities. This isn't an unusual individual. There are hundreds just like him in our community -- and in every other community."

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