Parents of Jared Loughner Say They 'Don't Understand' What Prompted Rampage

Family writes they wish they could change 'heinous events.'

ByABC News
January 10, 2011, 11:53 PM

TUCSON, Ariz., Jan. 11, 2011 -- The devastated parents of accused Tucson shooter Jared Loughner released a statement today saying they "don't understand" what prompted their son to allegedly go on a "heinous" shooting rampage that killed six and injured 14 others, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

It was the first word from Loughner's family since the carnage on Saturday.

"This is a very difficult time for us. We ask the media to respect our privacy. There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We wish that there were so we could make you feel better. We don't understand why this happened. It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss."

The message was signed, "The Loughner Family," and was handed out by two members of the public defenders' office.

The Loughner's note of confusion and contrition contrasted with a hateful scribble that was found in Jared Loughner's safe that said simply, "Die bitch," a sheriff's official told The Associated Press. Other notes in the safe included "I planned ahead," "My assassination" and the name "Giffords."

Loughner's parents, Randy and Amy Loughner, are reportedly coping with their son's alleged rampage much as they've spent their recent family life: alone and in private. They have sealed themselves in their suburban Tucson home since Saturday's shooting, blocking access to the front door with a piece of wood to presumably keep people off their property.

Activity at the Loughner home was scarce besides an unidentified young man who placed a black rose with a card addressed to "Mr. and Mrs. Loughner" on the hood of a black sedan parked in the family's driveway.

The parents are devastated and guilt-ridden, neighbor Wayne Smith, 70, told KPHO-TV. Jared Loughner's mother has been in bed, crying nonstop since the shooting rampage on Saturday, he said.

"I told them they didn't fail. They taught him everything about right and wrong," Smith said, according to the AP. "We all know you can teach someone everything and have no control how it works out."

The couple did not attend their son's arraignment in federal court in Phoenix Monday, and one neighbor who's been in contact with them, but asked not to be identified, said they are distraught and grieving.

While this is the first statement from Loughner's family, others who knew the 22-year-old before the attack have spoken out. One one former close friend of Loughner's said he went from a stable high school student to a violent, self-medicated "monster" after his girlfriend dumped him during his junior year of high school.