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Jared Loughner's friend described 'hostile' home environment

March 27, 2013|By Cindy Carcamo and Michael Mello
  • Officials from the Pima County Sheriff's Department and the FBI investigate in 2011 at the Tucson home of Jared Lee Loughner. A high school friend of his said he was never comfortable around Loughner's parents.
Officials from the Pima County Sheriff's Department and the FBI investigate… (Mark Henle / Arizona Republic )

TUCSON -- Jared Lee Loughner, convicted in a shooting rampage that killed six and wounded former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, grew up in what was described as a “kind of a hostile environment,” a high school friend told law enforcement officials, according to documents released Wednesday.

Zachary Osler told investigators he didn’t like being around Loughner's parents, Randy and Amy Loughner. Osler told authorities that Loughner described his parents as heavy drinkers who may have abused him, according to previously sealed documents released Wednesday by the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Osler recalled visiting Loughner’s home several times during their brief friendship in high school.

Photos: Jared Loughner and the tragedy in Tucson

“His dad’s an alcoholic. And his mom. They both drank heavily. He told me at one point … during his childhood, he thought he’d been beat by his parents or abused,” Osler told authorities during an interview hours after the 2011 shooting that left 12 others injured in addition to Giffords. “A lot of times I’d be over there, his dad would be yellin’ about him about whatever. Kind of a hostile environment. I never really felt comfortable over there.”

"His dad would always be drinking beer. They’d have a full fridge of beer," the documents quote Osler as telling authorities. "A lot of the times, he’d be, ‘Hey, I don’t wanna be at my house. You know, my dad’s drunk. And being loud.' Or whatever.”

In high school, Osler told officials, Loughner was a “weird kid. He’d say weird things. He’d say weird things about he consciously dreams while he’s awake.”

Photos: Jared Loughner and the tragedy in Tucson

Both teenagers attended Mountain View High School in Arizona. Osler said he sometimes saw Loughner in Sportsman’s Warehouse, where Osler worked. The store sells guns, ammunition and other hunting equipment. Loughner had also applied for a job there, Osler said, but didn’t get the position.

“I feel uncomfortable around him most of the time. I think that’s what led to our breaking apart as friends.… I don’t think he really had any close friends,” Osler said. “At one point he may have considered me the closest, but apparently that didn’t last.”

Special Agent Luna from the FBI asked Osler if he knew of anyone who might have helped Loughner with his rampage.

“Honestly, I think it would be just him, by himself,” Osler responded.

When Osler heard that Loughner was the suspected shooter “my jaw just dropped,” he told investigators. “I was like, I know this person. What his motive would be? If he had people help him? I do not know.”

Osler also said he couldn’t remember Loughner making any sort of political statements: “He came off, seemed to be a really intelligent person. But just really, really different.”


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Mello is a special correspondent.

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