Tucson Shooter Jared Loughner: Could Anything Have Stopped Alleged Gunman?

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"One day he just stopped talking to me. I tried to ask why, but he ignored me," she said.

The sheriff had similar concerns about Loughners' upbringing, calling it a "dysfunctional family."

Though Arizona does allow for confinement, it also has just 5.9 psychiatric beds per 100,000 people, the second worst rate in the nation in one measure of a state's mental health care.

It also ranks second from the bottom for jailing or imprisoning 9.3 times more people with severe mental illness than it hospitalizes, according to the Treatment Advocacy Center.

Statistics show that out of more than 120,000 Arizona residents with mental illness disqualifying them for buying a gun less than 5,000 had been entered into the federal database for background checks.

Ragosta said that anyone concerned that someone they know could potentially cause harm to others should give their local law enforcement agency a heads up and call the district court to inquire about civil confinement procedures.

Most counties and towns also have mental health offices that can be a resource.

"If it's an emergency situation, if you feel you are in danger, call 911," she said. "Take the threats seriously."

Click here for more information about how you can get help for a loved one that may be suffering from mental illness.

ABC News' Devin Dwyer contributed to this report.

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