- Associated Press - Sunday, January 9, 2011

TUCSON, Ariz. — Federal prosecutors brought charges Sunday against the gunman accused of attempting to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six people at a political event in Arizona.

Investigators said they carried out a search warrant at Jared Loughner’s home and seized an envelope from a safe with messages such as “I planned ahead,” ”My assassination” and the name “Giffords” next to what appears to be the man’s signature. He allegedly purchased the Glock pistol used in the attack in November at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Tucson.

Court documents also show that Mr. Loughner had contact with Ms. Giffords in the past. Other evidence included a letter addressed to him from Ms. Giffords‘ congressional stationery in which she thanked him for attending a “Congress on your Corner” event at a mall in Tucson in 2007.

Heather Williams, the first assistant federal public defender in Arizona, says the 22-year-old suspect doesn’t yet have a lawyer, but that her office is working to get one appointed. Her office is asking for an outside attorney because one of those killed was U.S. District Judge John M. Roll.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Sunday that Loughner acted alone.

A security camera image from video shows a person whom the Pima County Sheriff's Department is trying to identify after being seen at the location of the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, possibly in association with the shooting suspect. He is described as a Caucasian male, approximately 40 to 50 years old with dark hair, and was last seen wearing blue jeans and a dark blue jacket. (AP Photo/Pima County Sheriff's Department)
A security camera image from video shows a person whom the Pima ... more >

Meanwhile, authorities released 911 calls in which a person witnessing the mass shooting outside a grocery store in Tucson describes a frantic scene and says, “I do believe Gabby Giffords was hit.”

Mr. Loughner fired at Ms. Giffords‘ district director and shot indiscriminately at staffers and others standing in line to talk to the congresswoman, said Mark Kimble, a communications staffer for Giffords.

“He was not more than three or four feet from the congresswoman and the district director,” Mr. Kimble said, describing the scene as “just complete chaos, people screaming, crying.”

Mr. Loughner is accused of killing six people, including an aide to Ms. Giffords and a 9-year-old girl who was born on Sept. 11, 2001. Fourteen others were wounded. Authorities don’t know Mr. Loughner’s motive, but said he targeted Ms. Giffords at a public gathering about 10 a.m. Saturday.

Sheriff Dupnik said the rampage ended only after two people tackled the gunman. A third person intervened and tried to pull a clip away from the gunman as he attempted to reload, the sheriff said.

“He was definitely on a mission,” according to event volunteer Alex Villec, former Giffords intern.

Doctors treating the lawmaker provided an optimistic update about her chances for survival, saying they are “very, very encouraged” by her ability to respond to simple commands along with their success in controlling her bleeding.

An unidentified man who authorities earlier said might have acted as an accomplice was cleared Sunday of any involvement. Pima County sheriff’s deputy Jason Ogan told the Associated Press on Sunday that the man was a cab driver who drove the gunman to the grocery store outside of which the shooting occurred.

Mourners crammed into the tiny sanctuary of Ms. Giffords‘ synagogue in Tucson to pray that she quickly recovered. Outside the hospital, candles flickered at a makeshift memorial. Signs read “Peace + love are stronger,” ”God bless America and “We love you, Gabrielle.” People also laid down bouquets of flowers, American flags and pictures of Giffords.

The assassination attempt left Americans questioning whether divisive politics had pushed the suspect over the edge.

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