Excerpts from emails on Ariz. shooting suspect

May 19, 2011 - 9:15 PM

Pima Community College on Thursday released about 250 emails pertaining to Tucson, Ariz., shooting suspect Jared Lee Loughner, following a judge's ruling that the documents were not protected by a federal privacy law.

The following are excerpts from some of the emails:

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"It was just a little alarming, especially since I have been observing the way he carries himself." — Student whose name was withheld by the college, in a Feb. 4, 2010, email to teacher Steven Salmoni complaining about Loughner having a pocketknife in class.

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"He reassured me that he did not want to be expelled from class. I asked him to tell me what he planned to do to remain in this class, and he said that he planned not to ask any questions.

"This student was warned. He has extreme views and frequently meanders from the point. He seems to have difficulty understanding how his actions impact others, yet very attuned to his unique ideology that is not always homogeneous.

"Since his resolution was to remain silent in class and successfully complete the course, I had no grounds to keep him out of class." __ Counselor DeLisa Siddall in a June 2, 2010, email to five people, including an instructor who had complained about Loughner's behavior.

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"Since there has been no direct threat from the student and since he has completely complied with the directive given to him by DeLisa (Siddall), I did not feel comfortable rushing in to remove the student from class.

"It is a matter of balancing the disruptive student's right to due process with the rights of the other students in the class." __ Dean Patricia Houston in a June 4, 2010, email to college President Jana Kooi and three staff members.

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In the same email, Houston said she was told Loughner exhibited "behavior that could be called 'intimidating.'"

"Included in that behavior was writing: MAYHEM Festival on his quiz with the word: Imagination; staring at the instructor and some classmates with 'an evil' big smile and laughing very inappropriately at a math point the instructor made."

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"I did not come up with any gun info on this guy. Let me know if you need anything else." __ Athanasio Vlahoulis, Special Agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, in an Oct. 1, 2010, email to Pima College Police Detective Shad Pace.

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From a separate batch of documents released by the college Thursday:

"I continue to go over in my mind the process that we used while I was in the Dean's chair, and I have been asking myself if there is/was anything more we could have or should have done in situations like this one. I keep coming back to the conclusion that we did the best we could, given legal counsel's advice and the limited resources available to us, to look out for the safety and well-being of the greater student body while respecting the troubled students' status as adults who are responsible for their actions, and thus can't be forced to seek help.

"In the end, I feel good about the way we have handled these types of students in the past, and how I'm sure you all are continuing to deal with them each day." __ former college counselor Cecilia Alter in a Jan. 13 email to various Pima Community College colleagues.