Administrators and faculty at an Arizona community college repeatedly raised the alarm last year about the behavior of Jared Loughner, calling him a “dark personality,” and “creepy,” and saying that his behavior “might become physical,” according to campus police reports.
Loughner, charged in the Jan. 8 shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the murder of a federal judge, even argued with a math instructor about whether the number 6 was really 18, according to the documents, released by the college yesterday to several news organizations and posted on The New York Times website.
An administrator at Pima Community College in Tucson told campus police in June that the math instructor and students were “afraid of any repercussions that could exist from Loughner being unstable,” according to a report.
The 51 pages of documents describe increasing concern over Loughner’s mental state during the year leading up to the shootings. The college suspended Loughner on Sept. 29 and said he could return if he received a mental health clearance saying he wouldn’t harm himself or others, according to a statement from the college.
Six people were killed in the shooting and 14 were wounded, according to the Pima County Sheriff’s Department. Loughner allegedly opened fire in a Tucson shopping center parking lot where Giffords, a Democrat, was meeting with constituents.
In February 2010, after a student read a poem in class, Loughner made a “huge leap” from its context and said: “Why don’t we just strap bombs to babies,” according to a report. A college administrator told police that “Loughner has a ‘dark personality’ and is kind of ‘creepy’ and they had resolved to just keep an eye on him,” according to a police report.
During a Pilates exercise class in May, Loughner grew “very hostile” after his instructor told him he was getting a B grade, according to a police report. Loughner said the grade was unacceptable, according to the report.
The instructor “spoke with Loughner outside the classroom and felt like it might become physical,” the report said.
A week before his dismissal from the college, police were called to a class where Loughner said that his freedom of speech was violated when a teacher gave him half credit on an assignment, according to a report.
Officers who responded to the complaint told an administrator “that through our training and experience that there might be a mental health concern involved with Loughner.”
A second officer wrote, “It was clear that he was unable to fully understand his actions.”
After the meeting with officers, Loughner posted a video on YouTube.com calling the college his “genocide school,” according to a report.
“I haven’t forgotten the teacher that gave me a B for freedom of speech,” he said in the video, according to the report. “This is Pima Community College, one of the biggest scams in America.”
A week later, the college sent officers to deliver a letter informing Loughner that he was being suspended. When they presented it, the officers could barely get Loughner to understand what was happening, the officers said in their report. After police talked with Loughner for an hour about his behavior, he responded: “I realize now that this is all a scam,” according to a police report.
Paul Schwalbach, a spokesman for the college, didn’t respond to e-mails and phone messages left by Bloomberg News after normal business hours seeking the documents.
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