Wednesday, January 19, 2011
Image via WikipediaTucson Shooting Caught on Video - NYTimes.com
TUCSON — The chief investigator for the sheriff’s department here has for the first time publicly described the brief and gory video clip from a store security camera that shows a gunman not only shooting Representative Gabrielle Giffords just above the eyebrow at a range of three feet, but then using his 9-millimeter pistol to gun down others near her at a similarly close range.
The video, according to Richard Kastigar, the investigative and operational bureau chief of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, also reveals that Judge John M. Roll appears to have died while helping to save the life of Ronald Barber, a Giffords employees. Mr. Barber, who was near Ms. Giffords when he was shot twice, has left the hospital.
Mr. Kastigar said Tuesday that the video shows Ms. Giffords standing with her back a few inches from a wall when she was shot by the gunman, who approached in “a hurried fashion” with the gun at his side and then raised it and fired a single bullet above her eye at a range of no more than two or three feet.
Jared L. Loughner, 22, has been arrested in the shootings. In the video, the pistol “is down near his right side, but it is visibly out from where he was keeping it, presumably under his clothing, and then he raises it and fires,” Mr. Kastigar said. “It happens in a matter of seconds.”
The gunman “was very deliberate in my estimation, very calculated,” said Mr. Kastigar, who viewed the video as part of the extensive investigation by the Sheriff’s Department that involves close to 250 people. About 200 F.B.I. agents and analysts are also on the case. The video, he said, is now in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Describing the video, Mr. Kastigar said the judge was “intentionally trying to help Mr. Barber,” adding, “It’s very clear to me the judge was thinking of his fellow human more than himself.”
The judge guides Mr. Barber to the ground, shields him with his body, and then tries to push himself and Mr. Barber away from the gunman, who was no more than three to four feet away as he fired, Mr. Kastigar said.
“He pushes Mr. Barber with his right hand and guides him with his left hand. The judge was on top of him and is covering up Mr. Barber, literally lying on top of him, and his back was exposed,” Mr. Kastigar said.
The judge was shot in the back. Ms. Giffords remains in the hospital in serious condition, and doctors said Tuesday that she continued to improve.
In his first interview since the shooting, Capt. Mark E. Kelly, the husband of Ms. Giffords, said he had heard news reports that erroneously said she was dead. “And I just, you know, walked into the bathroom, and you know, broke down,” Captain Kelly, an astronaut, said on ABC’s “20/20,” broadcast Tuesday. He later learned at the hospital that she was still fighting for her life.
More than a dozen video clips, from cameras at the scene and the hard drive of a security system at the Safeway supermarket at the mall where the shootings occurred on Jan. 8, provide other new information about the minutes before the shootings, which left 6 dead and 13 wounded. Some were described in an article on The Washington Post’s Web site on Tuesday.
When a deputy sheriff arrived minutes after the shooting and took control of Mr. Loughner, who was being held down by two people, the deputy removed a set of earplugs from Mr. Loughner. Minutes earlier, a surveillance photo also shows Mr. Loughner inside the Safeway talking to a clerk and “pointing to his ears because he’s telling the individual that he can’t hear what she’s saying because he’s got earplugs in,” Mr. Kastigar said.
He said about 15 minutes elapsed between the time Mr. Loughner arrived by cab at the Safeway — and had to go inside to get change to pay the driver — and when the shooting started at 10:10 a.m.
The crucial video showing the shooting of Ms. Giffords, Judge Roll and Mr. Barber lasts only about five seconds before the gunman steps out of the frame.
At the start of the clip, it shows the “suspect coming from just outside of the frame of the video toward the parking lot,” Mr. Kastigar said. “He goes around a table set up for part of that gathering and walks up to Gabby and shoots her directly in the forehead.” It was not clear from this video, he said, if Ms. Giffords realized what was happening.
The gunman “then turns to his left and indiscriminately shoots at people sitting in chairs along the wall,” he said. The video does not show those people being shot, he said. But quickly the gunman is back in the video, which shows him turning to his right and shooting Mr. Barber, who had been with Judge Roll “standing side by side with the table to their backs.”