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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Terror in Tucson

Aired January 11, 2011 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Hey, welcome to this special 9:00 edition of 360. We're looking at the terror in Tucson. Here's what's happening right now.

A memorial mass for all the victims of Saturday's deadly shooting is getting under way at this hour at St. Odiilia Catholic Church which is located just a few blocks from where the assault took place.

You're looking at a live picture right there.

The church is also where Christina Green's family are members of the congregation. Only 9 years old she was the youngest of the six people murdered. Christina was also a member of the church's choir and tonight we'll hear the choir sing.

The Roman Catholic bishop of Tucson, who will deliver the homily, said it's important for the community to come together and care for all those affected by the rampage.

Meanwhile there are new developments in the condition of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. 360 MD Sanjay Gupta is here to explain exactly what is happening at this stage of her recovery.

And tonight the family of Jared Lee Loughner, the accused gunman, released a written statement calling the events of Saturday heinous and saying they cared deeply about the victims.

We're going to have a lot of ground to cover in this hour. Joining us from Tucson our 360 correspondent Randi Kaye, as well as Drew Griffin, and -- CNN Special Investigations Unit, and as I mentioned, Dr. Sanjay Gupta is with us as well.

Sanjay, we've got some new information about Congresswoman Giffords today. What do you know?

DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, she's making improvements. Over the last couple of days we heard that things were sort of stable. There hadn't been a lot of changes. But now one of the significant things is her dependence on the breathing machine is starting to decrease.

She still has a breathing tube in, which probably will stay in for some time because not only does it help deliver breaths, it helps protect her airway as well. But her dependence on the ventilator, the breathing machine, is starting to decrease. That's a good sign. You know obviously the brain responsible for one's reflex of breathing and now she's starting to take over a lot of those sort of breaths on her own -- Anderson.

COOPER: And why is today such a critical day in her recovery process?

GUPTA: One of the things we can tell about brain injuries is we have a pretty good idea in terms of a timetable of when that swelling, this brain swelling, is sort of going to be at the worst stage. And usually it's around 72 hours. Just because of the way the physiology of the brain.

That when, you know, we sort of cross our fingers and make sure that we can decrease swelling if need be. Well, she's at that mark. And the swelling has -- it doesn't sound like it's been a problem. She's been able to follow commands all along.

We've talked a lot about this. That's a good sign of higher brain function. And now that we're starting to get beyond that three- day mark, the concern about brain swelling is still there but greatly diminished.

COOPER: I want to talk to Randi about the shooter in a moment but before we talk about him, let's talk about the victims here. Again, this church service about to begin not too far from where the scene of the shooting actually took place. You're looking at a live picture there of people waiting for it to begin.

Drew, you've been looking into and researching some of the folks whose lives were lost. What have you learned? I mean there's so many remarkable stories. I talked to the family of Christina just last night. I mean their strength is just extraordinary.

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN SPECIAL INVESTIGATIONS UNIT: Yes. And what has been a common theme, I think, is just how promising all these people's lives were, whether they were 9 years old, whether they were 30 years old, or whether they were in their 70s.

They were all living life to the fullest and living towards the future when they were struck down. And each of them had their own remarkable tale to tell. Just a fascinating story of hope cut down, Anderson, cut down in an instant.

COOPER: We're going to look a lot more into the lives of the victims later on in this program. Drew goes in depth on each of the victims and tells you their story into this.

I mean there's the man who, you know, tried to -- who protected his wife, lost his life protecting his wife. Another couple, both of whom were shot, only one of whom survived. Again, we'll tell you their stories later on.

Randi, you were digging into the Loughner family today. I want to read their statement out to our viewers that they just put out today. This is really the first time -- this is the first time we've heard from them.

They said and I quote, "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 can 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. Thank you, the Loughner family."

What did you find out about his parents, about the family?

RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, they're very quiet people. They kept to themselves. In fact one neighbor told us that he didn't even know their last name until the shooting occurred on Saturday. Sometimes neighbors said they would see them out walking their dog. They'd see Mr. Loughner, Randy Loughner, watering the plants.

But they were very private. In fact, you can see behind the house they built a giant wall. A very tall wall behind the house for privacy. We spoke with one neighbor who was actually there when the sheriff's deputies came by on Saturday to tell them what had happened, and that they had their son in custody.

And I asked him to show me and describe for me that scene. And he said that Mr. Loughner just put his head in his hands and just kept repeating no, no, no. And Mrs. Loughner, Amy Loughner, just broke down in tears. And then Mr. Loughner went over to another neighbor's house across the street, and said, I don't know what to do. I think my son is, quote, "out of control."

So this is a very, very difficult time for this community and for the suspect's parents.

COOPER: Drew, you were at the school that he went to where they said they asked him to leave after a number of incidents, a number of outbursts. You've been investigating some of the warning signs and missed signals that Loughner showed over the past few years.

You know in a lot of states and a lot of past shootings we've heard well, you know, the person exhibited mental issues or mental instability, but there was no help for them or there were -- unless they were actually deemed a threat, there was nothing that could be done by the law.

That's actually not the case in Arizona, correct?

Just lost Drew. We'll try to get him right back.

Randi, the -- any sense of how the Loughners have reacted to this inside the house? I mean has any -- have any of the neighbors actually been inside the house to talk with them?

KAYE: One neighbor who lives across the street, Wayne Smith. He is probably, I'm told, the closest person to the Loughner family, but again didn't even know their last name. So that gives you an idea of just how private this family is.

But he was over there last night. He said that Mr. Loughner yelled help out the window to him and asked him to bring in their mail. And he went inside and he said Mrs. Loughner was still in bed and Mr. Loughner was only able to get out two or three words before he would just break down crying.

We were there most of the day today expecting them to come outside, Anderson, and speak and give us a statement. But instead, as you know, they released that written statement. They're just not up to speaking at all really to anyone in the community.

COOPER: We're going to have a lot more with Randi and with Drew Griffin and with Dr. Sanjay Gupta as well in this hour. We'll also obviously have the 10:00 edition of 360.

First, Drew Griffin gives us a time line of events that led to Saturday's deadly shootings.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN (voice-over): What ended with wailing sirens and a hail of bullets began on the campaign trail months before.

On November 2nd, Democrat Gabrielle Giffords eked out a narrow victory to hold on to her seat in the House. The same month the FBI says Jared Lee Loughner walked into a Tucson sporting good store, passed an instant background check, and bought a Glock .9 millimeter semiautomatic handgun.

The two were now on a collision course hurdling toward the deadly events of Saturday, January 8th.

Despite the close call on Election Day, Giffords is considered a political star, a state legislator by 30, congresswoman by 36. She's a political moderate with a colorful background, full bright scholar, gun owner, married to an astronaut, and a longtime motorcycle rider.

It had been a busy week for Giffords. On Wednesday she took the Congressional Oath of Office. On Thursday she read from the U.S. Constitution on the House floor. And by week's end, she was home back in Tucson ready to host her first "Congress on Your Corner" event of the year.

Before 10:00 a.m. on Saturday, the congresswoman and dozens of others gathered at this Tucson grocery store.

Jared Loughner was also there. Authorities say he carried with him magazines full of bullets and his Glock .9 millimeter. At the same time 24-year-old Joe Zamudio walked into Walgreens to buy cigarettes.

JOE ZAMUDIO, EYEWITNESS TO THE SHOOTING: Right there in front of the Cadillac is where everything went down.

GRIFFIN: It was just after 10:00 a.m. Giffords was greeting her constituents. Daniel Hernandez, the congresswoman's intern, was nearby.

DANIEL HERNANDEZ, CONGRESSWOMAN GIFFORDS' INTERN: I was about 40 feet away from the congresswoman and I heard the gun shots and I knew that people had been injured most likely so I ran towards where the congresswoman was.

GRIFFIN: The scene was chaotic.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello. 911, there was a shooting at Safeway where Gabrielle Giffords was. And I do believe Gabby Giffords was hit.

GRIFFIN: Shots ripped through the crowd. In Walgreens, Joe Zamudio heard the gunfire. He, too, ran toward the shooter and against the crowd.

ZAMUDIO: There was people running away, as I turned the corner I saw everyone in the parking lot running away. You know all of the people moving at once.

GRIFFIN: Patricia Maisch had nowhere to run. She dropped to the ground.

PATRICIA MAISCH, SURVIVED SHOOTING RAMPAGE: I could see him out of the corner of my eye just spraying the people as he walked by and was waiting because he shot the woman right next to me -- was waiting to see what it felt like to be shot.

GRIFFIN: Zamudio jumped in to help those struggling with Loughner.

ZAMUDIO: I didn't hear anymore gun shots. I guess. Thought maybe it was time to make a move.

GRIFFIN: As Zamudio and others pinned him down, Maisch wrestled away his ammunition.

MAISCH: Two gentlemen had struggled with him and got him to the ground and then they started yelling get the gun, get the magazine.

GRIFFIN: Finally Zamudio said Loughner was subdued.

ZAMUDIO: Once he was already on the ground I saw his face. He didn't say anything. He was silent. He was like a -- I guess statue.

GRIFFIN: Daniel Hernandez had been an intern for Congresswoman Giffords for just five days. The 20-year-old had trained as a nurse assistant and he immediately put those skills to use.

HERNANDEZ: When I got there I saw that there were people who had been injured. I then tried to see who had a pulse still. See if people were still breathing.

GRIFFIN: Hernandez could see Giffords was in trouble.

HERNANDEZ: I was only able to check two or three people before I noticed that Congresswoman Giffords had been injured severely so then she became my first priority.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: Is anybody injured? Did you say Gabrielle Giffords was hit?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She's hit.

UNIDENTIFIED 911 DISPATCHER: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe she's breathing. She still has a pulse.

GRIFFIN: He pulled Giffords toward him, put pressure on the wound, tried to provide comfort to the congresswoman.

HERNANDEZ: My main thing was to try and keep her as alert as possible and just keep trying to interact with her. She was obviously in a lot of pain so just let her know to squeeze my hand as hard as she needed to.

GRIFFIN: Nearby Zamudio was holding on to Loughner, within view of the victims.

ZAMUDIO: When I was holding him down the only thing I remember was the woman who was shot protecting her daughter. She was sitting up, she was asking for her daughter. She was hugging her mom before they took her away crying. It was amazing.

GRIFFIN: After police took Loughner into custody, Zamudio was able to take a look around.

ZAMUDIO: I looked up and I saw the police take him away. I saw at least two people who, throughout my time there, their bodies never moved. By the time I left at least two more people were covered. And it was horrific.

GRIFFIN: He shot this cell phone video in the moments after police took over the scene. Hernandez says he stayed with the congresswoman even after paramedics took over her care.

HERNANDEZ: My main concern was trying to make sure that she knows that someone was there with her. No matter what happens that she knew that someone was there holding her hand.

GRIFFIN: The rampage left 14 injured, six dead, including a federal judge, one of Giffords' staffers, and a third grader.

Gravely wounded, Giffords was loaded aboard a chopper and rushed to a hospital, still fighting for her life.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Up next, the profile of the suspect Jared Lee Loughner. What we now know. Some new insight on the accused gunman's personality, the reports of his strange behavior leading up to the shootings.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Live service at St. Odillia's Catholic Church in Tucson, Arizona. This is the choir that Christina Green herself once sang in.

There is still so much we don't know about the alleged shooter, Jared Lee Loughner. The mug shot released yesterday disturbing, no doubt about it. And so are many of the details that we learned today about his life and his home life.

Special Investigations correspondent Drew Griffin has been investigating Loughner and his report tonight begins with those rambling videos that he posted on the Internet.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN (voice-over): This YouTube video begins with a simple, quiet introduction. It's one of five videos posted in recent weeks by the young man accused in the Arizona shootings.

KATHY SEIFERT, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: See, this is psychotic writing. Absolutely psychotic.

GRIFFIN: Forensic psychologist Kathy Seifert specializes in identifying violence prone individuals. We asked her to look at what Loughner posted.

SEIFERT: There are a couple of red flags there in the language that would say, yes, he needs to be evaluated for schizophrenia, bipolar disorder with psychotic features, psychosis, NOS, or autism.

GRIFFIN: The videos are the closest thing we have to an interview with Jared Loughner. They represent the culmination of his apparent descent into madness.

"If I'm the mind controller then I control the belief and religion."

SEIFERT: The ideas are jumbled and blended in together in a way that doesn't make any sense.

GRIFFIN: Jared Loughner lived here with his parents in a largely white, middle class neighborhood.

(On camera): This is where he went to high school. Mountain View High School. His friends say he was talented, played saxophone in the high school band, but in junior year something happened. His friends say he began to use drugs and he never returned for his senior year.

(Voice-over): He presented himself as an avid reader. Among his favorites, books that dealt with totalitarianism. "Brave New World." "Fahrenheit 451." "The Communist Manifesto" and Hitler's "Mein Kampf."

"I can't trust the current government because of the ratifications. The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar."

SEIFERT: I understand the thing about the grammar. There is a group that -- or a person that talks about how the grammar is used to control the population and so I hear that he's picking up that from someone else, too. So he's been influenced by other people.

GRIFFIN: In 2005 Loughner began taking classes at Pima Community College off and on.

STEVEN CATES, LOUGHNER'S FORMER CLASSMATE: He was off. That's the best way I could put it. He was definitely off. He -- it was obvious that he lacked the same ability to connect socially that other people have.

GRIFFIN: A classmate remembers.

CATES: He would sit at his desk with that grin clenching his fists sitting at the desk.

GRIFFIN: Two years later the first of a couple of run-ins with the criminal justice system. Loughner was arrested for possession of drug paraphernalia. The case dismissed after he attended a drug diversion program.

"The majority of citizens in the United States of America have never read the United States of America's Constitution. You don't have to accept the federalist laws."

That same year 2007 Representative Gabrielle Giffords of the 8th congressional district became part of Loughner's world. He attended one of her "Congress in Your Corner" events.

"The majority of people who reside in District Eight are illiterate, hilarious."

And according to a friend interviewed by Mother Jones did not like the way she answered when he posed a question.

"What's government if words don't have meaning?"

Loughner tried at one point to enlist in the Army but was rejected. About a year ago Loughner's erratic behavior triggered a series of contacts with the campus police at his college.

"If police remove you from the educational facility for talking, then removing you from the educational facility for talking is unconstitutional in the United States. This situation is fraud because the police are unconstitutional."

In September he was suspended.

"I'm able to control every belief and religion by being the mind controller."

SEIFERT: We have one new element here and that is, I am the controller, which is a grandiosity or a god statement. You know, I am the controller. So we've entered into another area of delusion.

GRIFFIN: In October he was told he could not return to school until he had been given a clean bill of mental health.

"If I'm thinking of creating a new coin that's in my control as treasurer, then I'm thinking my new coin is starting a new currency system. I'm thinking of adding one new symbol and number to the current alphabet and number system."

SEIFERT: Here we're seeing the grandiosity, I'm going to create a currency and alphabet. In the previous ones I'm going to be the controller, and so his idea that he controls the world is getting bigger and bigger. That's really dangerous.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: If there was evidence of erratic behavior in Jared Loughner, then why wasn't something done? We'll try to get some answers next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Back with our special edition, 9:00 edition of 360.

We're learning a lot about Jared Lee Loughner, the accused gunman. We know now there were concrete signs that he was a troubled young man, being kicked out of Pima Community College due to his erratic behavior. Other students being creeped out, scared by him.

The question is, could more have been done or should more have been done to prevent a potential outburst of violence?

Here again is CNN Special Investigations correspondent Drew Griffin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BEN MCGAHEE, INSTRUCTOR, PIMA COUNTY COMMUNITY COLLEGE: This will be starting my fourth year.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): On the very first day of class math teacher Ben McGahee knew there was something wrong with a student in classroom 209. A student named Jared Loughner who would first become a disturbance, sudden outbursts, challenging the teacher, then going silent and ignoring everyone while listening to his iPod.

The behavior, the professor thought, was threatening.

MCGAHEE: It felt like something was brewing in his mind. It was just a matter of, you know, time before something terrible was going to happen.

GRIFFIN: McGahee was Jared Loughner's algebra teacher at Pima Count Community College.

MCGAHEE: And I didn't want to take any chances. I wanted to take action right away immediately.

GRIFFIN (on camera): The school did take action.

MCGAHEE: Yes. I took the first step of action and then they carried it out.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): School officials suspended Loughner in late September but that was after five separate incidents involving campus police. Campus police visited him and his parents but school officials say they couldn't do anything more. Hamstrung, they say, by personal privacy rights.

(On camera): The school felt it had done what it needed to do to protect the other students on campus.

LORRAINE MORALES, VP, STUDENT DEVELOPMENT, PDCC: Yes. And that was our primary concern.

GRIFFIN: Is there any afterthought now that maybe the school should have went a step further and tried to get some kind of a commitment order against this person?

MORALES: Well, hindsight is always 20/20. I can't comment on the exact specifics. I don't have all of the details of the specifics of this particular case.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Even if his behavior was alarming, Loughner had not made any threats, had not carried weapons to school and had not physically attacked anyone.

Here at the Tucson store where Loughner bought the Glock semiautomatic pistol back in November, he didn't fit any of the, quote, "prohibited possessor categories," that would have prevented the purchase. He passed an instant federal background check and was on his way.

He first tried to buy ammunition at this Wal-Mart store but abruptly left and made the purchase somewhere else.

Now an accused assassin was ready to strike.

(On camera): Long before Loughner allegedly took pointblank aim at Representative Giffords, the congresswoman and her staff had become concerned about her safety.

MIKE MCNULTY, REP. GIFFORDS' CAMPAIGN CHAIRMAN: Anxieties were more a result of the rallies that were organized around the health care bill. Those became quite scary.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Mike McNulty is Gabby Giffords' longtime campaign chairman. U.S. Representatives Giffords was a key, undecided, swing vote in last year's health care debate.

MCNULTY: There was the famous incident of people showing up with handguns and losing control of handguns, falling in the street, and brandishing handguns and -- to make some kind of statement -- GRIFFIN: A moderate Democrat elected in a heavily Republican district. Giffords says she didn't make up her mind until the day of the vote, ultimately voting for health care reform. Hours later, someone shattered the glass panel on her office door in Tucson. Her office spokesperson said she suspected someone upset about the vote shot it out with a pellet gun.

Luckily, no one was in the office at the time. Friend and fellow Congressman Jim Moran says Giffords was undeterred by these events.

REP. JIM MORAN (D), VIRGINIA: She was not going to be intimidated. She never indicated to me that she was scared, that she -- but she was troubled by the environment that exists in many parts of the country, particularly in her district.

GRIFFIN: Giffords' was run of three Democratic offices attacked after the health care vote. Two in New York had bricks thrown at their windows.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik says dealing with such threats has become business as usual for public officials.

CLARENCE DUPNIK, PIMA COUNTY SHERIFF: It's not unusual for all public officials to get threats constantly, myself included. And that's a sad thing of what's going on in America. Pretty soon we're not going to be able to find reasonable, decent people who are willing to subject themselves to serve in public office.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Drew, you were talking to school officials there. They say their primary goal and responsibility was to protect people on the campus. And they certainly did that and did that well. What about the community at large? Arizona actually has a law, unlike a lot of other states, that anybody can contact the state and raise questions and even petition a court if they believe somebody is mentally ill and perhaps a danger.

GRIFFIN: Yes, mentally ill and don't know it. It doesn't even mention anything about a danger. Most states, like you said, it is suicidal/homicidal. Is the person suicidal? Is the person homicidal? Do they pose a threat to themselves or others.

In this state, you can -- anybody can petition a court to try to get help for somebody who appears to be mentally ill and doesn't know it. The school thought that they had properly notified the parents of Jared Loughner, sitting down with them. Even a school campus police official was in that meeting. They said look at -- your son needs mental evaluation.

We don't know what happened beyond that. There exists this law in the state that certainly the school or anybody, his neighbor, could have tried to petition a court and said this person needs help.

I must say, though, the spirit of that law seems to be pointing at somebody who can't take care of themselves physically. COOPER: Again, we don't know if his parents did take action after they were notified by the school, if the school felt there were concerns about his mental stability. If the family talks, we'll learn about. We don't know. Maybe he saw a private counselor. But there's no record of them contacting the state or him receiving some sort of state help for mental health issues.

Drew, we'll talk to you again shortly. Still ahead, new pictures of Gabby Giffords in the hospital with her husband. Also, remembering the victims killed on Saturday. Six lives cut short. Each one unique and deeply mourned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A live service happening now in Tucson, Arizona, for all of the victims in the attack. Several family members of several of the six people who were killed in the attack. We're told Roxanna Green, the mom of Christina Green is there. It was Christina and Roxanna's church, the family's church. Christina was actually even in that choir, just nine years old. She lost her life on Saturday.

I also want to show you some photographs that we just got in. They were taken Sunday at University Medical Center in Tucson. They've been released by Congresswoman Giffords office. You see her husband, Astronaut Mark Kelly. All you see is Gabrielle Giffords' hand. Mark Kelly holding his wife's hand there. The other photo that was released just a close-up of her hand.

She has at times been in a medically induced coma. Today was a critical day, in terms of the swelling of her brain. We'll talk to 360 MD Sanjay Gupta about that.

While Giffords has been fighting for her life, six families have spent the last couple of days planning funerals in the wake of the shootings. So often in a tragedy like this, all the attention is on the killer. People often remember the name of killers for years, but rarely the name of victims. That should not happen.

Drew Griffin has more on the six people whose lives were cut short on Saturday.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Please join me in a solemn moment of silence.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is recovering this evening from surgery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: May god watch over those that have left us. May God watch over the families and the friends that are suffering today.

GRIFFIN (voice-over): As Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords continues to fight for her life, supporters outside the hospital have come together to pray for her recovery, and remember those who lost their lives. The youngest victim a nine-year-old little brown eyed girl. Christina Taylor Green was born on September the 11th, 2001. For her family, a glimmer of joy on a day of unspeakable sorrow.

ROXANNA GREEN, CHRISTINA GREEN'S MOTHER: She was a great friend, a great sister, a great daughter. I was so proud of her. I just want everyone to know and I think a lot of people that know us and knew Christina Taylor that we got robbed. She got robbed of a beautiful life that she could have had.

GRIFFIN: Christina loved animals, dreamed of some day becoming a veterinarian. She just had been chosen for student council at her elementary school. The nine year old was excited to meet her congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords, but that moment never came.

JOHN GREEN, CHRISTINA GREEN'S FATHER: There's going to be a lot of those kind of moments. I had one this morning just waking up. She comes up and says, daddy, it's time to get up. And she didn't do that this morning.

GRIFFIN: A family who will always remember their bubbly little girl with an easy smile.

Thirty year old Gabriel Zimmerman rarely stood still. An avid runner, twice hiking across the Grand Canyon, he was Congresswoman Giffords community outreach director.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An old soul in a young man's body who was a real special treasure for Tucson.

COOPER: Zimmerman had worked with troubled children at a treatment facility before joining Giffords' staff in 2006. It was here he developed a passion for public service.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There were always people who were half joking, half seriously chiding him about when he was going to run for some kind of office. He seemed to almost have that innate calling.

COOPER: But first he and fiance Kelly O'Brien were planning a wedding. Everything was in front of him, a bright and promising future cut short.

JUDGE JOHN ROLL, VICTIM OF TUCSON SHOOTING: My name is John Roll. I'm a district judge in Arizona.

GRIFFIN: Sixty three-year-old Chief Federal Judge John Roll spent that fateful morning attending mass. In Arizona, he was known to be fair and fearless. He once received death threats over a civil rights case filed by illegal immigrants against a rancher.

Judge Roll had stopped by the Congress on Your Corner event to support his friend, Gabrielle Giffords. The father of three was gunned down. A respected voice now silenced.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Everyone loved and respected him. In his chambers, he dealt with a lot of people on a daily basis. And he treated everyone with the highest level of courtesy and respect. And he will be sorely missed.

GRIFFIN: Dorwin and Mavy Stoddard knew each other as children. After both were widowed, they reunited, fell in love and married.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were inseparable. If you saw one, you knew the other one wasn't far behind.

GRIFFIN: In what can only be described as an unselfish act of love, 76-year-old Dorwin Stoddard shielded his wife during the shooting. Mavy was shot, but she survived. Her husband died.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That will be a new life for her. So I'm afraid that it will hit her harder down the road.

GRIFFIN: The life they shared together for nearly 15 years was filled with compassion and caring. They delivered food to those in need and were devoted to their church.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are no streets named after them. There's no monuments to them. But their impact in the community of Tucson will last a lifetime.

GRIFFIN: The shooting also took the lives of two other women. Dorothy Morris had married her high school sweetheart, George, a former pilot. Her husband was wounded in the shooting that took her life. Phyllis Schneck, a gifted cook and quilter, also died that day. Her daughter remembers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What will you miss most about your mother?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everything. Everything.

GRIFFIN: A day that began with a community drawn together ended with a community shattered. Left to remember a day tragedy and loss.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We'll have more from Tucson coming up.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Since Saturday, the story has been unfolding on several fronts. As Congresswoman Giffords fights for her life, 13 others of course were wounded and, as we know, as we've been talking about, six people were killed. Randi Kaye, Drew Griffin, 360 MD Sanjay Gupta joins me again.

Sanjay, I saw one of the congresswoman's doctors saying that they were trying to wean her off the ventilator, off the breathing tube. How do you go about doing that?

GUPTA: Well, the breathing machine gives a certain number of breaths every minute. And you sort of try and approximate how much air she is going to be needing, how much oxygen, what size those breaths are. And you assume at least while she's in the initial aftermath, she's completely dependent on that breathing machine. Slowly over time, as the sedation starts to trickle down, you wean that off, you start to see is she breathing on her own, is she making those movements on her own. That's a very important sign.

What they find over time is that she is breathing almost entirely on her own. She still has the breathing tube in, Anderson, because the breathing tube does more than just provide breaths. It also keeps the airway open and also protects her from accidentally aspirating something into her lungs, which could possibly lead to pneumonia.

This is a good sign, that she's just -- she's in a more conscious state. She's able to take those breaths all on her own.

COOPER: Drew, what at this point do we not know? There seems a lot we don't know about Jared Loughner. Still, we don't know much about his family life. We haven't heard from his parents. We don't know if he got any kind of psychiatric counseling or mental health counseling. What other questions at this point are authorities looking at trying to answer?

GRIFFIN: Well, why the focus on Congresswoman Giffords? We know that he attended that 2007 event. We know now that he kept in a safe a thank you letter from the congresswoman, in his safe at home, thanking him for coming to the event. And we know that he had some writings on an envelope talking about this was planned and had Giffords name on it.

We also don't know where is the violent trigger. In other words, we have a crazy person. No doubt about it, Anderson. He's nuts. He's disturbing classes. He's doing all kinds of crazy things. But no where along the way do we see a violent streak there or threats being made.

In fact, the sheriff's department just now released a statement saying we have not had any prior knowledge to any threats made to the congresswoman or government official or any member of the public. So they are kind of clarifying that there were no threats.

So what was the trigger and what was the obsession on Congresswoman Giffords?

COOPER: And Randi, talking to people in the neighborhood, as have you all day, did they have any insight into that?

KAYE: Anderson, the neighbors are really confused. They're shocked. They're sad. They're grieving for the victims. They're grieving for the family.

They certainly did see a change in Jared Loughner, certainly over the last few months. He went from longer hair to shorter hair, to cropped hair, and then eventually they said he shaved his head in recent months. He started wearing more and more black.

He always walked around with headphones on. One neighbor, Steven Woods, told me -- his next-door neighbor actually told me that his son would reach out and often try and wave hello to Jared Loughner. And he walked around -- he just ignored him. He walked around like he had blinders on. That was his quote.

So it's really interesting. They didn't have a lot to do with him. Sometimes they'd see him walking his dog. But they just can't make any sense of this.

COOPER: In the last couple of months, that's about the time he got kicked out of Pima Community College, after being there for several years. We'll continue to look into it, Sanjay, Drew, Randi. Thanks.

Up next, the sick move by a Kansas church -- if you can call them that -- to picket a funeral for the Tucson victims. We'll talk to a community activist who's going to try to shield mourners from the picketers.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: On Thursday, family and friends will try to do the impossible, to say good-bye total the youngest victim of the Tucson tragedy. Christina was just nine years old. For her parents, brother, Dallas, her friends, the whole community, it's obviously just an unthinkable and unspeakable loss.

On Friday, services will be held for another victim, for Judge John Roll. This is a photo of -- from him from years ago. The 63- year-old was the chief federal judge in Arizona. What makes his death more horrific is that the people from a church, or so-called church, say they're going to picket his funeral. They were originally going to picket Christina's, but we've learned tonight that they've changed their plans.

You've probably heard of this so-called Kansas church, which frankly I don't even want to say their name, which is mainly the extended family of a guy named Fred Phelps. They picket funerals, funerals for people who have died of AIDS or U.S. service members who died in Iraq or Afghanistan, basically any high profile funeral to get their twisted message out.

I don't even want to talk about what their message is. It's anti-just about everything you can imagine. There's no reason to give it much air time.

What we do want to talk about tonight is some valiant efforts to shield the mourners from the picketers at Judge Roll's funeral. As a direct response to this church, the Arizona legislature quickly passed legislation making it a misdemeanor to protest within 300 feet of a funeral. The governor signed the bill just moments ago.

And the community isn't standing by idly either. Christin Gilmer is a community activist who has organized what's called an Angel Action for the funeral. I spoke with Christin about her plan.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Christin, what actually made you want to do this? You actually knew two of the victims. CHRISTIN GILMER, COMMUNITY ACTIVIST: Yes, sir. I knew Gabe Zimmerman, who was 30 years old. He was an aide for Congressman Giffords, an amazing, beautiful human being, an empathetic guy. And I also knew Mr. Stoddard, who died while he was shielding his wife from bullets.

What made us start it is obviously on Saturday everyone was just really shocked and dismayed. We had a lot of funerals organized kind of renegade style that night. And everyone -- you heard -- you heard emotions from shock to outrage to someone proclaiming how angry they were.

I mean, I was just crying and didn't really understand the whole thing myself. And Sunday morning, we woke up. And to our horror, we found that Westboro had issued their first press release, talked about how God was laughing from heaven and things like that.

So, my very first thought -- of course, I was angry and I was upset. And then I thought, OK, I'm going to protect our town and we're going to protect our community. So we did everything possible in order to make that happen. And I think we're going to be able to successfully complete our mission in the next few days.

COOPER: You have something called an Angel Action. What is that?

GILMER: Well, it's based off of Matthew Shepherd's funeral, who was killed in 1998. His best friend, Romaine Patterson (ph), had a group of people with eight to ten-foot angel wings. They kind of wore them on their bodies.

People were protesting his funeral, so they surrounded them in a nonviolent silent protest, and kind of just surrounded them because their strength is in their silence. So that's carried on to gay funerals that Westboro has boycotted. They've boycotted people who have HIV, gay men, other soldiers, Elizabeth Edwards's funeral.

So we're basically trying to keep the same tradition. We're not considering it a protest. We're considering it a counter-protest. Our goal isn't to make a political statement. It's not about political. It's not about dialogue. It's about protecting this family and letting them grieve and show the compassion that our entire community has for them.

We just want them to be a peaceful town again. We want to restore what unity we had. And it's been pretty overwhelming our response so far.

COOPER: Yes. I know you were probably expecting just a handful of people. How many people have expressed interest in taking part?

GILMER: Well, initially, I e-mailed about 90 people who I knew would be pretty interested in it. So far we have 300 who say they want to be angels. We can only have 30, just in terms of logistics and cautiousness. But we've had about 2,500 to 3,000 people say that they are interested and are wearing white and lining the streets with us, as kind of the counter-protest and the ray of hope for this family and all of the families of the victims.

We've had people from New York who are coming, California, different parts of Arizona, people driving up from Mexico City. It's pretty tremendous.

COOPER: I also heard -- is it true that you've actually gotten threats?

GILMER: I have. I've gotten several e-mail threats, both on Facebook and my personal e-mail accounts. But if you compare that to the hundreds and thousands of e-mails I've gotten in the past few days from people who want to help from every corner of the world, wanting to donate, wanting to show their support, encourage us, it's a pretty minimal risk for something that's extremely important.

I believe that Tucson is one of the strongest communities in the world. And I think that that love is kind of going to overcome any threats or any violence that will occur. I don't think Tucson will let something like that happen. And I truly hope not.

COOPER: Well, Christin Gilmer, I appreciate you being on tonight. Thank you, Christin.

GILMER: Oh, thank you so much for having it. The pleasure is all mine.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: We're going to have more on the shooting ahead at the 10:00 hour of 360 in just about 30 seconds from now, including a look at folks trying to raise money off these shootings for their own purposes.

"PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT" debuts in six days. We should tell you about that. His first guest is Oprah Winfrey. That's January 17th at 9:00 p.m. Eastern Time, 6:00 Pacific, right here on CNN.