Jan. 8th shooting secrets to be revealed in newly released files
Photo: Video by kgun9.com
Reporter: Craig Smith
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - It may be the worst day in Tucson history. Now some of the secrets of the January 8th mass shooting will be revealed.
Now that Jared Lee Loughner is serving a life term in prison, Federal Judge Larry Burns has granted a request from the Arizona Daily Star to lift his order sealing the files.
The Pima County Sheriff's case file on the shooting is about 900 pages so it may take about two weeks before it's ready to circulate.
Shooting victims hope information in it, will help keep others from knowing the grief brought them from the end of a gun.
"I looked directly at the shooter and he was in a shooting stance pulling the trigger," Mavy Stoddard remembers about the day of the shooting.
When Jared Loughner was done pulling the trigger, Mavy Stoddard's husband Dory was dead. He used his body to block the shots and keep her alive. Loughner killed six and wounded 13, including then Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
Now a judge's order will open the case file. Mavy Stoddard says the files may be painful but what they may reveal could help spread the message she feels she must spread to honor God and her husband's memory.
She says, "I hate the glory being given to Loughner but I also, I also want the people to keep having to remember, so things like the Connecticut babies don't have to happen again to wake them up."
Jim Tucker was right next to Gabrielle Giffords as Loughner opened fire. He hopes the files will raise awareness of mental health issues. Since the shooting, Tucker has trained as a volunteer chaplain in the Rev. Billy Graham's organization, ready to help comfort future communities that may suffer a mass shooting.
Retired Army Colonel Bill Badger helped get the gun out of Loughner hand. He hopes the files contain some lessons in prevention.
He says, "I would hope that we learn something and I want to continue to work but if you have somebody who has a mental challenge to get them help before they commit an act such as this."
Colonel Badger thinks the files may hold lessons on how to recognize and treat mental problems before they drive someone to kill.
KGUN 9 reporter Craig Smith said, "I suppose there's the danger this could just be an exercise in hindsight instead of an exercise in looking forward. Are you afraid that could happen?"
Col. Badger: "No. No. I think we have to look forward and we have to look at what we can do to keep this from happening again."
Colonel Badger is concerned that Federal health privacy law may lead to Loughner's mental health information being blacked out. It's not clear if that will happen as the Sheriff's department prepares the records.
The Judge's order releasing the seal on the records does not apply to surveillance video from the crime scene.
The FBI has some of the evidence in this case. The order applies to material in the Sheriff's custody and the Sheriff's Department says it does not have the videos.