Tucson shooting suspect’s school redacts emails
Sunday, April 24, 2011
PHOENIX (AP) — The community college that the Tucson mass shooting suspect attended released hundreds of emails Friday but withheld dozens of others, leaving gaps about what was going on inside the school’s administration during the hours and days after the shooting.
Pima Community College released a 900-page document that included completely or heavily redacted emails among school administrators, links to news stories about the shooting and previously released Internet postings from the suspect, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner.
Loughner has pleaded not guilty to charges stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Loughner began attending classes at the college in 2005 but was eventually kicked out because of behavior campus police considered disturbing. He was told to get a mental health evaluation or not return.
At 2:05 p.m., several hours after the shooting, campus police Cmdr. Manny Amado wrote to Executive Vice Chancellor David Bea, “Just heard on radio that gunman in custody is Jared Loughner.”
After what appears to be an email exchange of news reports mentioning Loughner, there is a page listing an email from Jana Kooi, president of the school’s northwest campus, at 2:18 p.m.
Shortly thereafter, more than 60 pages of emails that appear to be from Kooi are blacked out, though it’s not clear what day or time they were sent because the text is blocked out.
Shortly after the shooting, The Associated Press requested all of the college’s emails mentioning Loughner in 2010, prompting the school to hand over six emails from late December, most of them sent by campus police. Earlier this month, the AP expanded its request by asking for all emails mentioning Loughner that were received or sent by school employees from 2005 to 2011.
The emails show that school officials rapidly exchanged information about Loughner, including previously released police reports describing Loughner’s bizarre behavior on campus.
In one report from Sept. 23, 2010, shortly before Loughner was banned from campus, an officer describes finding him confused after a classroom outburst, his head tilted and eyes bobbing.
Some emails documented the distress within the school community with the disclosures about the shooting.
In one email, nursing faculty member Ceanne Alvine writes to department chairwoman Patricia Murray, “Please tell me we don’t have a student by the name of Loughner.”
Another email from Harry Muir, the school’s dean of instruction, was sent just hours after the shooting to college Chancellor Roy Flores and other administrators.
“I’m sure by now you are aware of the terrible tragedy that occurred at Gabrielle Gifford’s ‘Congress on the Corner’ gathering here in the northwest part of Tucson,” Muir wrote, adding that his son Brandon called him to say he found YouTube videos of Loughner online that mentioned he attended the community college.
“Just thought I would give you a heads-up,” Muir wrote. “I don’t know if he was in fact a student at PCC or if he was if he ever had any conduct issues, but I thought I would pass on the information,” he wrote.
Charlotte Fugett, the college’s east campus president, wrote back: “Good heads-up. Thanks.”
He replied: “Thank you, Char. It’s a terrible situation. I’ll see you Monday.”
Earlier this month, the school released nearly 3,000 pages of documents that showed how administrators struggled to keep up with a flood of media requests and protect its image just after the shooting rampage.
Those records also included many redactions.
Blood reported from Los Angeles.
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