Tucson shooter faces initial hearing in federal court

PHOENIX — Jared Lee Loughner, the accused shooter of a member of the U.S. House, made his initial appearance in federal court today before Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson.

The United States has moved to detain Loughner because he is accused of a crime of violence. The defendant remains in federal custody pending a detention hearing.

“This office is reviewing all the evidence in the case, consulting with the victims and their families of these crimes, and teaming and coordinating with our law enforcement partners. We will consider all appropriate charges at the indictment stage of the case,” U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke said in a news release. “I have been in consistent contact with Attorney General, Eric Holder, as well as Deputy Attorney General Cole, apprising them of the developments in this case. We are devoting all the necessary resources that a case of this magnitude demands from our office and the Department of Justice. We are focused and we are determined to achieve justice.”

The maximum penalties for the offenses charged in the Criminal Complaint are Attempted Assassination of a Member of Congress, two counts of Murder of Judge John Roll and Gabriel Zimmerman and two counts of Attempted Murder of Pamela Simon and Ron Barber.

Loughner has been charged by criminal complaint of shooting U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll, and Giffords’ staff members Gabriel Zimmerman, Pamela Simon, and Ron Barber on Saturday, January 8, 2011, in Tucson. A criminal complaint is simply the method by which a person is charged with criminal activity and raises no inference of guilt. An individual is presumed innocent until competent evidence is presented to a jury that establishes guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

The United States Constitution and the Rules of Criminal Procedure require that a grand jury review the evidence and issue an indictment within 30 days of the defendant’s initial appearance. The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Arizona is in the process of considering charges and drafting an indictment against Loughner.

“My heartfelt sympathy goes out to Congresswoman Giffords and others wounded or killed. … My thoughts and prayers are with their families, as well as Congresswoman Giffords’ staff and constituents,” Georgia Sen. Mitch Seabaugh, R-Sharpsburg, said in a statement. “It is reprehensible for any person to take an action such as this for any reason in order to make a point.

“One of the greatest strengths of our nation is the ability to have, and openly discuss, differences in thought and opinion. Never is there a justification to treat human life with such disregard,” Seabaugh said. “When someone is determined to commit a crime, laws do not stop them. It is enforcement of laws, proper education, and the vigilance of citizens that stop and minimize these heinous acts of violence. Restricting the rights of law abiding citizens will not stop random acts of violence. My hat goes off to all public safety and law enforcement personnel present today that put themselves in harm’s way in order to protect law abiding citizens.”

The complaint

Count 1

On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did attempt to kill Gabrielle Giffords, a Member of Congress; in violation of Title 18, United States Code Section 351(c).

Count 2

On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did unlawfully kill Gabriel Zimmerman, an employee of the United States who was engaged in performance of official duties and who was assisting Member of Congress Gabrielle Giffords while she was engaged in performance of official duties; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1111.

Count 3

On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did unlawfully kill John M. Roll, a U.S. District Court Judge for the District of Arizona, an employee of the United States who was engaged in performance of official duties; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1111.

Count 4

On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did, with intent to kill, attempt to kill Pamela Simon, an employee of the United States who was engaged in performance of official duties and who was assisting Member of Congress Gabrielle Giffords while she was engaged in performance of official duties; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1113.

Count 5

On or about Jan. 8, 2011, at or near Tucson, in the District of Arizona, the defendant, Jared Lee Loughner, did, with intent to kill, attempt to kill Ron Barber, an employee of the United States who was engaged in performance of official duties and who was assisting Member of Congress Gabrielle Giffords while she was engaged in performance of official duties; in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Sections 1114 and 1113.

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