TUCSON, Arizona (Reuters) - The father of the gunman who wounded former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in a 2011 mass shooting said that before the rampage he had taken a shotgun from his mentally disturbed son and locked it in the trunk of a car, investigators said in documents released on Wednesday.
The release of the records by the sheriff’s office that responded to the attack comes just over four months after Jared Lee Loughner, 24, a college dropout, was sentenced to life in prison for committing the rampage that killed six people and wounded 13 others, including Giffords.
Giffords, who with her husband is operating a campaign calling for universal background checks for all gun buyers and curbs on military-type assault weapons, said in a statement that the documents demonstrate the mentally disturbed Loughner “should never have had access to a gun.”
The more than 2,700 pages of documents released by the Pima County Sheriff’s Department includes transcripts of witness accounts, calls to emergency responders and case reports from the dozens of detectives and officers who responded to the shooting.
The papers also detailed an interview detectives had with Loughner’s parents, Randy and Amy Loughner.
Randy Loughner told investigators that after learning from Pima Community College that his son was suspended amid concerns about his mental health, the father took away a shotgun owned by Loughner, according to an account in one of the police reports released on Wednesday.
“After school officials talked to them, Randy took Jared’s shotgun and placed it in the trunk of a car which was located in his garage,” the report from investigators stated.
Randy Loughner told investigators his son had shown signs of being distraught and angry, the police report said.
Amy Loughner also told investigators about Loughner’s mental problems and that she observed him talking to himself and making “all kinds of noises,” a police report said. Investigators spoke to the parents at their home the day of the January 8, 2011, shooting at a Tucson supermarket.
Loughner committed the shooting with a Glock handgun he purchased legally, police said at the time.
Giffords left Congress in 2012 to focus on her recovery from the head wound from a bullet fired by Loughner. She and husband Mark Kelly have formed a lobbying group called Americans for Responsible Solutions to focus on gun control issues.
She said in her statement that “no one piece of legislation will end all gun violence.”
“However, I hope that commonsense policies like universal background checks become part of our history, just like the Tucson shootings are - our communities will be safer because of it,” she said.
A representative for the National Rifle Association could not be reached for comment.
The Pima County Sheriff’s Department records released on Wednesday had been sought by the Arizona Daily Star in a public records request.
No photos are included in the release because the department is still reviewing them, said Deputy Thomas Peine, a spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff’s Department.
“We’re not going to release every photo, obviously,” he said. “We’re not going to release any body pictures.”
Additional reporting by David Schwartz in Phoenix, Writing by Alex Dobuzinskis, editing by G Crosse, Kevin Gray and Bernard Orr