Did Loughner Act Alone in Shooting Rampage?
By Victor Thorn
Only hours after the Jan. 8, 2011 Tucson shooting, major news outlets such as National Public Radio, Reuters and CNN initially declared Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) dead.
The original reports of her “confirmed” death emanated from NPR, whose spokeswoman, Anna Christopher, stated that NPR used two different sources: the Pima County Sheriff’s office and a local congressman. But what’s extraordinary here is that NBC News correspondent Pete Williams said witnesses told police that they thought someone acted with the alleged lone shooter, Jared Loughner. The conventional story says Loughner acted alone. Giffords survived the ordeal.
Indeed, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, speaking just after the shooting, said on live TV: “And we’re not convinced that he [Loughner] acted alone. There is some reason to believe he came to this location with another individual . . . who may in some way be involved.”
Dupnik, the nationally known sheriff who chastised “right wing” commentators for allegedly creating a climate of fear that fostered the shooting, said there were legal reasons not to discuss this matter anymore. He claimed more information on an accomplice would be forthcoming. But silence has been his only offering.
A 911 tape later revealed a caller who told the dispatcher, “The guy [wearing a black hoodie] had a semiautomatic pistol. . . . He started firing and then he ran.”
Other eyewitnesses agreed that an unidentified gunman fled the scene, yet by all official accounts, bystanders tackled Loughner and held him down. One of those present, a former ER doctor, was Dr. Steven Rayle. He told Fox News that he didn’t think Loughner acted alone.
In addition, Pima County police officer Rich Kastigar informed media members, “A rifle with an extended magazine was found at the scene.” But Loughner reportedly used only a Glock handgun.
Moreover, a Tucson Citizen article reported, “Police arrest man near Thornydale and Magee Roads who is suspected of being connected to the shooting of Giffords and others. A third man is being sought.”
Meanwhile, doctors couldn’t agree on whether Rep. Giffords was shot from the front or behind:
• Jan. 8, Dr. Rayle told the New York Times that the shooter approached from behind.
• Jan. 9, Connie Sexton of The Arizona Republic said the bullet entered the top of Giffords’s head.
• Jan. 9, Lauren Neergaard and Amanda Myers of the Associated Press claimed the bullet entered “the back of her skull.”
• Jan. 11, Alicia Chang of the Associated Press contradicted an earlier AP report by claiming Rep. Giffords was “shot in the front of the head, not the back.”
• Jan. 11, the Huffington Post reported, “The bullet entered from the back-left portion of the brain.”
• Jan. 13, AP added, “Doctors think the bullet pierced the front of Giffords’s head.”
On Feb. 11, this writer asked a weapons expert if physicians can readily identify entrance and exit wounds. The man replied, “doctors could easily make this determination. Even paramedics can tell the difference. As a bullet enters the head, it pushes the skull inward. The exit wound is then flared outward, creating a larger hole.”
The intern who rushed to Rep.Giffords’s side, 20-year-old Daniel Hernandez, stated that using his bare hands he “directly applied pressure to the entry wound on her [Giffords’s] forehead.” He added, inexplicably, that he didn’t even know there was an exit wound. Hernandez later mentioned to reporters how he “held her wounds” and “there was so much blood.”
On Jan. 9, Jaimee Rose and Mary Jo Pitzl of The Arizona Republic claimed, “When they arrived at the hospital, Hernandez was soaked in blood.” However, a photo taken as Gifford was being wheeled on a gurney toward an ambulance (see left) tells a different story.
First, no one is placing any pressure on Giffords’s head. A mere gauze pad limply covers her face. Hernandez, who said he maintained pressure on Giffords’s head the entire time, is shown just holding her hand. There is no visible blood anywhere on Hernandez. Giffords had supposedly just been shot in the head, but the towel on her face has virtually no blood on it.
An online marksman estimated that Giffords should have had at least a three-inch exit wound, yet as she’s wheeled away, no brain trauma procedures are being performed, and paramedics did not place an oxygen mask over her mouth or nose.
On Jan. 19, The Washington Post cited individuals who allegedly viewed Safeway supermarket CCTV videos. They suggest that Loughner hurriedly walked out of the grocery store, approached the crowd and immediately began shooting.
They added that Loughner “fired his first bullet into her face.” Their account negates rally volunteer Alex Villec’s depiction of Loughner asking questions and loitering in the crowd.
Initial newscasts also pointed to someone in the crowd returning fire at Loughner. Or did this gunfire originate from a second shooter? Does the possibility of an additional gunman explain why doctors kept flip-flopping on where Giffords was shot? Regrettably, no video footage has been released to the public.
Victor Thorn is a hard-hitting researcher, journalist and the author of many books on 9-11 and the New World Order. These include 9-11 Evil: The Israeli Role in 9-11 and Phantom Flight 93.
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(Issue # 9, February 28, 2011)