Jared Loughner's Ex-Girlfriend 'Knew He Had Problems'

VIDEO: Ashley Figueroa speaks of her teen dating life with Jared Loughner.
Share
Copy

An ex-girlfriend of accused gunman Jared Loughner said that she felt like she was looking at someone who had become "soulless" when she ran into the suspect just a few months prior to Saturday's massacre.

"It was like staring into somebody you didn't know," said Ashley Figueroa, who dated Loughner at Mountain View High School in Tucson, Ariz., when she was 15.

"He was different," she said in the interview with ABC News' affiliate KGUN. "He [used to have] a big heart, but I don't know what happened. I knew he had problems, but I never thought it would escalate to something like this."

Figueroa's recollection of her relationship with Loughner is shedding more light on the suspect's troubled life, one she says was devoid of any sort of parental figure.

"He had a difficult relationship with his parents," said Figueroa. "They would never let me come in the house. I couldn't understand why."

"He had definite dysfunction in his family," she said. "His father as far as I know worked a lot and kind of picked on [Loughner]. He basically didn't have parent figures. It was like having roommates for him. He lived there and [his parents] were just sort of there."

Figueroa, who didn't specify how long she dated Loughner, said that she eventually left him because of his anger management problems.

"He used to scare me sometimes," she said. "He'd make me feel uncomfortable. He'd get really mad, clench his fist and kind of have a little tantrum, he'd flail his arms and walk off."

Another former girlfriend of Loughner's, Kelsey Hawkes, told CBS' "The Early Show" that the Loughner who allegedly opened fire Saturday, killing six and injuring 14, is not the same person she dated for nearly nine months.

"The Jared that I used to know is completely changed from what the world sees him now as," said Hawkes, who said she had a positive relationship with Loughner's parents. "You know, I would never have ever expected him to become what he has."

Others have said they mark the beginning of Loughner's descent into isolation and anger to his break-up with Hawkes.

"I've just been very overwhelmed by everybody tracking me down and trying to get information out of me that I don't have, or trying to pin our breakup on his behavioral change," Hawkes told the Los Angeles Times.

They broke up six years ago in high school, she told newspaper. "What he chose to do with himself and his life between the time that we weren't dating and what he did on Saturday is far beyond me," she said.

Jared Loughner Troubled School Record

As more of Loughner's personal records emerge there is evidence that the young man's behavior had alarmed teachers and officials in the years prior to the deadly shooting.

When Loughner was just 17 he was arrested after drinking so much vodka that his school sent him to a hospital emergency room.

"[Loughner] advised that he drank the alcohol because he was very upset as his father yelled at him," according to the May 2006 Pima County Sheriff's office police report obtained by ABC News. "I could see his eyes were very red and he was crying...I was advised that he had stolen the alcohol from his father's liquor cabinet."

School officials told authorities that they'd sent Loughner to the hospital because he was "so extremely intoxicated." Nurses later estimated that Loughner had consumed approximately 250 milliliters of vodka. He was charged with charged as a minor with possession of alcohol.

Loughner was also arrested when he was a teenager for marijuana possession.

And once enrolled at Pima Community College, Loughner was investigated five times by campus police.

In February 2010, police interviewed Loughner after a teacher referred to him as "creepy" and as having a "dark personality" after he allegedly suggested that a girl who had written a poem about an abortion strap a bomb to the baby.

The campus officer eventually determined that the incident did not "justify making contact with Loughner by police," according to the report.

A few months later, a teacher called campus police after Loughner grew "very hostile" upon learning that his grade in his pilates class was a "B." According to the report the teacher felt "intimidated" and had concern that Loughner might turn physical, requesting that an officer "be nearby" on the last day of class. Campus police monitored the classroom, but never spoke to Loughner about the complaint, the report says.

Over time, Loughner's behavior appeared to become stranger.

In September, after Loughner disrupted a math class, an officer who questioned the suspect about the incident wrote, "Loughner's head was constantly tilted to the left and his eyes were jittery."

The next week, when officers went to tell Loughner that he had been suspended from Pima after violating the student code of conduct for taping a YouTube video on campus during which he declared the college unconstitutional, the 22-year-old held a constant trance of staring at the school official.

The official wrote in a report that Loughner stared at him for an hour as the official spoke to the student and his father. When Loughner did finally speak, he said, "I realize now that this is all a scam."

Jared Loughner's Movements the Morning of Gabrielle Giffords' Shooting

Information gathered during Pima College's investigation was never shared with the Pima County Sheriff's Department, according Bureau Chief R.J. Kastigar.

"It came to light during the investigation [into Saturday's shooting]," said Kastigar.

The sequence of events the morning of the shooting is also become clearer.

At 5 a.m. Loughner posted a message on his MySpace page, writing, "Goodbye friends...don't be mad at me."

Then his attempt to buy ammunition at a Wal-Mart is rejected because the salesman found his behavior to be "erratic," but Loughner is successful buying the clips at a different Wal-Mart.

At 7:30 a.m., Loughner runs a red light and is pulled over by an Arizona Game and Fish Department officer. The officer found no outstanding warrants and let Loughner go with a verbal warning to drive carefully.

Just a half hour later, Loughner's father Randy spots him pulling a black bag from the trunk of their car.

"His dad asks him and he mumbles something back to dad that's unintelligible, as what the dad has told us. And then he turns around and he leaves," said Kastigar. "His dad follows him and attempts unsuccessfully to find him."

Less than two hours later Loughner takes a taxi to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords event, one she tweeted about at 9:58 a.m.

Thirteen minutes later, Loughner was allegedly firing.

Loughner faces five federal charges: one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the United States and two counts of intent to kill employees of the United States. He will likely face state charges as well.

He is currently being held at the Phoenix Correctional Institution, 140 miles north of Tucson, where sources say he is sitting in his cell, smiling.

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...