Ariz. Tea Party Leader Talks about Alleged Threat

Sunday, 16 Jan 2011 04:28 PM

 

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TUCSON, Ariz. — The co-founder of the Tucson Tea Party is worried about the threats he is receiving, including the remark he says a shooting victim made to him at a televised town hall meeting.

Trent Humphries told The Associated Press on Sunday he was surprised when shooting victim James Eric Fuller took a picture of him and said "you're dead." The 63-year-old Fuller was arrested Saturday on disorderly conduct and threat charges and taken for a psychiatric exam.

Authorities say he began ranting at the end of ABC News' forum, at one point calling the audience "whores."

Fuller was one of 19 people shot when a gunman opened fire Jan. 8 at a meet-and-greet for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The congresswoman was critically injured and six people were killed.

___

Christie reported from Phoenix.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — An Arizona shooting victim accused of threatening a tea party leader at a televised town hall meeting also yelled at those in attendance, at one point calling them all "whores," authorities said Sunday.

James Eric Fuller, 63, was arrested on disorderly conduct and threat charges and taken for a psychiatric exam after he a took picture of Trent Humphries, the co-founder of the Tucson Tea Party, and yelled "you're dead," authorities said. The event was taped for a special edition of ABC's "This Week."

"Deputies made contact with him, attempted to remove him, and he turned around and yelled at everybody and called them all whores," Pima County sheriff's spokesman Jason Ogan told The Associated Press.

Ogan said deputies decided he needed a mental health evaluation and he was taken to a hospital, which will determine when he will be released.

Fuller was one of 19 people shot in the knee and back at a Safeway store Jan. 8. Six people died and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was critically injured with a bullet wound to the head.

Fuller said in an interview with the New York Times last week that he had trouble sleeping after he was wounded. Fuller repeatedly denounced the "tea party crime syndicate" in the interview, saying he placed some of the blame for the shooting on Sarah Palin and other Republican leaders for creating a toxic atmosphere. Palin has denounced the attack.

Meanwhile, Giffords was continuing to progress, with doctors replacing the breathing tube that connected her to a ventilator with a tracheotomy tube in her windpipe. They could soon know if she can speak, but they didn't offer a timeframe. Doctors also inserted a feeding tube.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, close friend of Giffords who was at her bedside when she first opened an eye Wednesday, said the congresswoman understands what she's hearing and seeing.

"It's an extraordinary amount of progress for a woman who sustained such a horrific injury that she did," the Democratic senator said on NBC's "Meet the Press" Sunday.

As Tucson attempted to heal, the Safeway supermarket reopened and a memorial of flowers grew outside.

Randy Larson, 57, came by to shop Saturday but instead found himself sitting quietly on the curb choking back tears.

"I wanted to come here now and see it now and not two weeks later when it's just a grocery store. I honestly kind of thought, 'Well, I'll come and patronize them and shop' but it's really hard to, because by doing that it's going about your day as usual," said Larson, who runs a sandwich shop in the same shopping center.

"I can't come here and go about my day as usual," he said. "Why should it be usual for me when it's not for the victims?"

Also Saturday, Pima Community College released a video — first to a Los Angeles Times public records request and then to The Associated Press — that shows suspected shooter Jared Loughner, 22, giving an improvised nighttime campus tour and rambling about free speech and the Constitution.

Loughner's voice provides an angry narration that includes statements such as, "I'm gonna be homeless because of this school," and calling Pima "a genocide school." College officials confirmed that the video, discovered on YouTube, led them to suspend Loughner from school Sept. 29.


© Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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