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Wednesday
Jan122011

Tucson Shooting: Friend of Jared Loughner Speaks Out About Motive

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Investigators are searching for a black bag that alleged Arizona gunman Jared Lee Loughner took from his family's car, as President Barack Obama heads to a memorial service to honor the victims of the shooting that left six people dead and 13 injured.

On the morning of the Tucson shootings, Loughner's father saw him take a black bag out of a car trunk. When the father approached, his mumbling son took off running and the father chased him in his car, investigators said.

Police haven't said what was in the bag, but they continue to search for it.

Meanwhile, a high school friend of the 22-year-old Loughner remembers a man starkly different from the unstable man with the piercing stare in his mugshot.

"I wish I could have helped him.... I just forgot about him, you know," Zach Osler said. "We stopped talking to each other. I wish there was something I could have did or said to help him or try to get him help. I just didn't, so that's why it's hard to look at the picture of him, it looks like a monster."

Loughner was arraigned at a federal court in Phoenix Tuesday on charges related to the deadly shooting that has left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords fighting for her life.

Giffords remains in critical condition, but doctors remain optimistic about her recovery. She is now breathing on her own.

"He wasn't shooting people, he was shooting at the world," Osler said.

Loughner's downward spiral and increasing anger began after a high school girlfriend broke up with him, Osler said. As a teen, Loughner turned to heavy drinking and drugs, such as the legal hallucinogen Salvia, Osler said.

"He would say he was using it and he would talk about it and say what [it] would do to him and I was like, 'Dude, that's screwed up.'"

Osler described the Loughner family home as uninviting.

"The house itself is kind of shrouded, it's covered up...like cold, cold dark unpleasant....I always felt unwelcome, always, like I shouldn't be there," Osler said.

Loughner's parents, Randy and Amy Loughner, did not attend his arraignment. Instead, the devastated parents issued a statement Tuesday saying they "don't understand" what prompted their son to allegedly go on a "heinous" shooting rampage.

"This is a very difficult time for us. We ask the media to respect our privacy," according to the statement. "There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We wish that there were so we could make you feel better. We don't understand why this happened.

"It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss."

It was the first word from Loughner's family since the carnage on Saturday.

Loughner's parents have sealed themselves in their suburban Tucson home since Saturday's shooting, blocking access to the front door with a piece of wood to presumably keep people off their property.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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