(Subsequent Internet statements made by Loughner take issue with U.S. currency not being backed by gold or silver, question whether NASA's Mars Rover was faked, and charge the government with trying to control citizens with grammar. Those seeking a coherent philosophy will probably be frustrated, said Mark Pitcavage, director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League. "So far, most of his beliefs appear to be the product of his own mind, primarily," he said.)
The night campus police found the YouTube video, officers delivered a letter of suspension to Loughner's home.
School officials said Loughner would be allowed to return to campus only if a mental health professional certified that he did not present a danger to himself or others.
Five days after Thanksgiving, Loughner uploaded a video to YouTube that said "every Pima Community College class is always a scam!" and "The students are attending a torture facility! You know the teachers are con artists?"
The same day, according to federal authorities, he bought a Glock semiautomatic pistol at a sporting goods store.
A private family
Loughner grew up in a working-class neighborhood, where he and his parents live in a cream-colored, one-story brick home.
Randy Loughner used to lay carpet and surface pools, neighbors said. Amy Loughner is a parks manager and has worked for the Pima County Natural Resources Parks and Recreation Department since 1987.
Their next-door neighbor of 30 years, retired equipment mechanic George Gayan, 82, said Jared is an only child. Jared would walk the family dog, but they did not like to share the details of their lives.
"They're like a mountain man," said neighbor Smith. "They want to be alone."
When Randy Loughner wanted to add on to his house, he sought permission, per the city's requirement, from Gayan, who consented. Later, when Gayan asked about the project, Randy Loughner rebuffed him.
"He wanted to keep everything private," Gayan said.
But Jared engaged the neighbors, sometimes to their discomfort. Rachel Evans, 16, recalled seeing Loughner walking in the neighborhood, hunched over, his face obscured by a hooded shirt, mumbling or raising his voice to passersby.
"He was definitely somebody who would make you want to walk forward and not look up," said Evans, who lives on the same street. "He'd mention government or education, something I didn't really understand or want to hear."
He had at least two off-campus legal tangles before his arrest Saturday.
In September 2007, he was cited by the Pima County Sheriff's Department for possession of drug paraphernalia. Court records show that the case was dismissed by the Pima County Attorney's Office in November 2007 after Loughner completed a program that included drug counseling.
In October 2008, he was arrested for allegedly tagging a traffic sign in Marana, north of Tucson, with his moniker — including the letters C and X, which he told police stood for "Christian."
He was released with a citation. He entered a diversion program and paid $500 restitution to the city.
Schoolmates from Tortolita Middle School and Mountain View High School described Loughner as a typical teenage boy — albeit with some nihilistic tendencies — who was trying to find his niche in life.
In high school, friends said, he played in a punk garage band. He also played saxophone in the school band. He loved the bands Rancid and the Misfits and the philosophers Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Immanuel Kant. He went to parties and was a fan of University of Arizona football.
Krysta Bunch, 21, said their high school crowd was a "random group of people." She remembered his punk band performing in front of a mosh pit during a homecoming celebration their sophomore year.
"He seemed like he was the quiet type; he didn't like politics at all," Bunch said.
Lela Chavis, 22, described Loughner as considerate, someone who filled her in on schoolwork if she got sick. Recently, she said, he changed his appearance, opting to cut his curly brown hair and dress more "mature."
"I would say obviously in the past couple months something had changed about him," she said. "In a sense, he was growing up. At least that's what I thought."
Times staff writers Seema Mehta and Nicole Santa Cruz in Tucson, Kim Murphy in Seattle, and Maeve Reston, Robin Abcarian, Rong-Gong Lin II and Rick Rojas in Los Angeles contributed to this report.