At a press conference in Tucson this morning, FBI Director Robert Mueller announced that the government will file formal charges against Jared Loughner Sunday afternoon. The preliminary complaint will include the murder of Judge John Roll, and the shootings of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and several of her staffers.
“Formal charges are expected this afternoon,” Mueller told reporters, though he said it’s still unclear when Loughner will first appear in court.
Mueller said he was not going to preclude charges under domestic terrorism statutes as the investigation continues, and that investigation will focus in part on Loughner’s possible connections to white supremacist groups. Loughner had attended a similar event with Giffords in 2007, and had corresponded with her staff.
Joining Mueller at the podium, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik downplayed the speculation that a second person of interest had anything to do with the crime. “It would appear to us that the person may not have been involved at all,” he said.
Dupnik described the crime in vivid detail, including the fact that an unnamed, wounded woman attempted to wrestle a magazine full of bullets away from the shooter. Loughner ultimately inserted the clip, but the gun didn’t fire, and two men managed to knock the weapon away from him.
Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight, and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.