Release set for police photos from Tucson rampage

Associated Press

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) — Authorities are set to release more than 300 photos on Tuesday that investigators took in the aftermath of the Tucson shooting rampage that killed six people and wounded former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 12 others.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department says many photos show the parking lot of the shopping center where the shooting took place in January 2011. The photos also include images of the handgun and high-capacity pistol magazine used by Jared Lee Loughner to carry out the attack. The release also will contain other routine photos that were part of the investigation as authorities gathered up evidence at the scene.

It will not, however, include any gruesome crime scene images of victims that are being shielded from the public out of respect to those who were injured and killed in the attack.

The images are being released nearly two months after the sheriff's department made public roughly 2,700 pages of investigative reports examining the shooting, marking the public's first view into documents that authorities had kept private since the attack.

The records provided more detail about the deteriorating psychological condition of Loughner in the hours leading up to the attack and the first glimpse into Loughner's family.

News organizations seeking police records and photos from the shooting were denied access in the months after the attack and after the arrest of Loughner, who was sentenced in November to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years, after he pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges.

In late February, U.S. District Judge Larry Burns cleared the way for the release of the photos and records after Star Publishing Company, which publishes the Arizona Daily Star in Tucson, joined by Phoenix Newspapers Inc., which publishes The Arizona Republic, and KPNX-TV, sought their release. The judge said Loughner's right to a fair trial was no longer on the line now that his criminal case has resolved.

Arizona's chief federal judge and a 9-year-old girl were among those killed in the rampage. Giffords, who was left partially blind with a paralyzed right arm and brain injury, resigned from Congress last year and has since started, along with her husband, a gun control advocacy group.

Loughner's guilty plea enabled him to avoid the death penalty. He is serving his sentence at a federal prison medical facility in Springfield, Mo., where he was diagnosed with schizophrenia and forcibly given psychotropic drug treatments to make him fit for trial.

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