Accused Tucson Shooter Jared Loughner Smirks in Court, Smiles for Mug Shot

Head shaved and arms and legs shackled, Jared Loughner smiles for his mug shot.

January 10, 2011, 8:25 AM

Jan. 10, 2011 — -- Jared Loughner, the man accused of the Tucson massacre that left six dead and injured 14 others, appeared in a packed courtroom today shackled and in khaki prison garb, appearing to smirk as he stood before the judge.

Federal officials released Loughner's mug shot, showing him smiling into the camera despite hints of a black eye.

"Yes, I am Jared Lee Loughner," said Loughner, with a freshly shaved head, when the Judge Lawrence Anderson asked him to confirm his identity.

Holding up a financial affidavit, Anderson asked the Loughner, "I can't read your signature. I know how hard it is to sign with handcuffs on. Did you sign this?"

Loughner, with a fresh bruise on the side of his head, leaned forward to look at the paper and responded, ""Yes I signed it. Mrs. Clarke did help me out." Mrs. Clarke refers to his court appointed public defender, Judy Clarke.

Every federal judge in the southern district of Arizona recused themselves from the case because one of Loughran's alleged victims was federal judge John Roll.

Clarke said that she objects to "further proceedings in Arizona" on behalf of Loughner, but did not object to her client being remanded without bail. The judge told the courtroom that Loughner was a "danger to the community" before saying, "Good to you" and adjourning the session.

About 80 reporters and 25 federal marshalls packed the courtroom, which appeared to be void of any of Loughner's relatives.

Loughner's next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 24.

PHOTOS: Jared Lee Loughner

This is the first time Loughner has said anything since Saturday's shooting. Investigators said that Loughner had refused to speak to them since his arrest.

Loughner so far 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.

If convicted of murdering either of the federal employees, Loughner could be sentenced to death or be given life in prison.

President Obama led a moment of silence at 11 a.m. today and he has ordered that the country's flags be lowered to half staff in honor of the tragedy.

Among the injured is Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the target of alleged gunman Jared Loughner's shooting rampage. Giffords remains in critical condition in a medically induced coma and with part of her skull removed to ease pressure on her brain.

Giffords in Critical Condition

"There has been no change, and no change is good," said Dr. Michael Lemole, who has been treating Giffords. "She is still following those basic commands and the CAT scans are showing there is no progression of swelling. But we are not out of the woods yet."

"Every day that goes by and we don't see an increase in swelling we're slightly more optimistic," said Lemole.

A major concern of the doctors has been to prevent any damage due to swelling of the injured brain.

"Swelling typically peaks around the third day… We can breathe a collective sigh of relief around the third or fourth day. We're getting close," he said.

At the Tucson airport Monday, travelers were invited to share in the moment of silence, a ticketing agent saying, "Miss Giffords travels with us all the time. We will miss her for a while."

Loughner is scheduled to appear in court today, but so far officials say he is refusing to cooperate or speak with investigators.

Loughner has invoked his right to remain silent for the last 48 hours, saying "not a word," Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said.

Dupnik said investigators believe Loughner acted alone and is not part of a broader conspiracy.

"This individual is a very troubled individual...who is a loner," Dupnik said. "We're still actively pursuing any activities that he might have been involved in. I'm not aware of any ties he had to any group."

Giffords was hosting a "Congress on your Corner" event outside a Tucson Safeway grocery store Saturday when Loughner allegedly went on a shooting spree.

Public defenders are asking that renowned San Diego attorney Judy Clarke represent Loughner. She previously defended "Unabomber" Ted Kaczynski, Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh, and convicted child killer Susan Smith.

The court hearing will take place in Phoenix because several Tucson judges recused themselves from the case because of the Tucson victims was Federal Judge John Roll.

Giffords in Critical Condition

A criminal complaint filed in federal court Sunday charges Loughner with 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.

State charges are also expected to be filed against Loughner.

During a search of Loughner's home, authorities found an envelope with handwriting that read "I planned ahead," and "My assassination" and the name "Giffords," as well as Loughner's signature.

There was also a letter from Giffords indicating the two had met before. Giffords' spokesperson said that the congresswoman often writes thank you notes to constituents she meets at her "Congress on your Corner" events. If Giffords had met Laughner and written him a note, the office would have a record of that, staffers said.

The congresswoman was the clear focus of the gunman's assault, Dupnik said.

"He ran through the crowd and when he got to [Giffords] he just started shooting," the sheriff said.

Loughner legally purchased a Glock 19 9mm gun at Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson on Nov. 30, law enforcement officials said. It's unclear if he bought the extended clips used with the gun during the mass shooting. An extended clip holds 30 rounds, officials said.

Dupnik has previously described the alleged shooter as "mentally unstable."

Those who know Loughner described him as a man who had unraveled over the last few months.

"I told my mother I thought he was a serial killer the first time I saw him" one neighbor of Loughner said.

A college friend, Tong Shan, said Loughner had changed radically.

"You could tell he was a deep thinker, but it was never anything violent or angry," Shan said. "What he did was really wrong, but he once had a good side of him."

Facing suspension, Loughner withdrew from Pima Community College. He'd gotten in trouble at the school for mockinig students' poems in his poetry class and for posting a video on YouTube that called the school "unconstitutional."

One classmate was so terrified of him, she emailed the school: "We have a mentally unstable person in the class that scares the living crap out of me. He is one of those whos picture you see on the news, after he has come into class with an automatic weapon."

This morning a massive effort is underway to dissect every aspect of Loughner's life. Investigators are looking at all threats and rants against Giffords in recent days to see if any of those people might have been in contact with Loughner, sources told ABC News. Investigators are also searching for any ties to radical and anti-semitic groups. One name that's come up is a group that's called the American Renaissance, a white supremacist group.

Giffords, 40, was shot in the back of her head, the bullet crossing the left side of her brain and exiting just above her left eye.

Today, Giffords remains in critical condition and her brain swelling has not worsened.

"I assessed Congresswoman Giffords in the last few hours and I'm happy to say she's holding her own. That's to say she is still following those simple commands for us," Dr. Michael Lemole, a surgeon at the University Medical Center in Tucson said.

Lemole said that Giffords is responding to simple commands like squeezing someone's hand or raising a finger.

"It implies that those higher centers of the brain are working. Not only are those areas working, but communicating with one another," Lemole said.

Lemole said that Giffords still faces a tough battle to recovery. Doctors worry about infection and they want to remove her breathing tube as soon as they can to reduce the rise of pneumonia, Lemole said.

"We're not out of the woods. Every day that we get farther out, we are more and more encouraged," Lemole said.

When Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, asked her to raise two fingers, she reportedly made the peace sign.

Giffords' family remains at her bedside, the congresswoman's spokesperson said.

Giffords' husband issued a statement late last night.

"On behalf of Gabby and our entire family, I want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the people of Arizona and this great nation for their unbelievable outpouring of support... Serving Southern Arizonans is her passion, and nothing makes her more proud than representing them in Congress," Kelly said.

"Many stories of heroism are emerging, and they are a source of strength for us during this difficult time. We are forever grateful," Kelly said.

911 Calls Reveal Chaos

Three heroes have been lauded for tackling the gunman, including Patricia Maisch and Bill Badger.

"Something had to be done...when you see an individual shoots a 9-year-old girl, we have to take him down and we did," said Badger, a retired Army colonel.

Maisch is credited with removing the second magazine from the gunman's left hand when he was attempting to load the gun.

Frantic 911 calls released Sunday show the horror and chaos from Saturday's shooting that left even operators losing their composure.

"Oh my god," exclaims a 911 operator who got the first report of the carnage.

Sally Badger called seeking information about her husband, not knowing he was courageously tackling the gunman and holding him in a chokehold.

"My husband just called me and told me he was shot. He was going to the Gabrielle Gifford event and I don't know where he is," Badger told 911. "He called me and then the phone went dead."

A man who identified himself as Manuel Hernandez told the operator, "There was a shooting at Safeway…Where Gabrielle Giffords was…and I do believe Gabrielle Giffords was hit."

"She's hit. And I do believe she's breathing," he said. "She is breathing. She still has a pulse."

"He went in and just started firing and then he ran," said Hernandez, prompting the operator's exclamation.

Giffords Had Been Target of Vandals

Giffords, a representative for Arizona's 8th District who just won reelection to a third term, has been the target of conservative political opponents in recent months.

Last March, Giffords' office was vandalized just after she voted in favor of the health care reform law. The intruders destroyed a glass door and a window at her Tucson Congressional offices.

At the time, Giffords' press secretary C.J. Karamargin said the office had received many phone calls with "nasty and rude and hateful comments" from opponents of the health care bill.

Recently Giffords, who supports gun rights, has received angry letters from anonymous sources, ranting about the supposed national gun registry and border control.

One letter received on Dec. 15 addressed to "giffords, obama, mccain and sen. Jon kyl" got personal on the topic of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Brian A. Terry, who was killed in a late night shootout at the U.S.-Mexican border.

"Brian a Terry's blood is on your hands! How many more legal residents of the USA have to die before the border is CLOSED??? Obama I call you out! CLOSE THE DAMN BORDER NOW! Quit pandering to illegals!," the letter read.

Giffords has a reputation as a political rebel. Though though she supported her party's effort to pass a landmark health reform law, she voted with the Democratic Party only about 40 percent of the time, according to Congressional Quarterly,.

She was also one of a handful of Democrats who did not vote for Nancy Pelosi for speaker of the house, during the recent Democratic leadership elections after Democrats lost their majority in the House last November.

ABC News' Rich Esposito, Pierre Thomas, Jack Date, Jason Ryan, Gina Sunseri, Ross Eichenholz, Toni Wilson, Desiree Adib, Kevin Dolka, Dean Schabner, Sherisse Pham, Amy Walter, Leezel Tanglao, Devin Dwyer, Erin Keohane and the Associated Press contributed to this report.