As a media firestorm has bombarded the Pima County Sheriff's Office, one of the office's spokesmen has offered a few clarifications about facts in the case that have been lost in the chaos.
One of the more-important misconceptions is the reported number of those wounded during Saturday's rampage shooting that left six people dead and several wounded, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.
The initial total number of victims was said to be -- by the Pima County Sheriff's Office -- 19. On Monday, the New York Times, and several other large-scale news outlets, reported there were 20 victims -- a fact confirmed to New Times by a sheriff's spokeswoman. Yesterday, in an email, the PCSO clarified and changed its official number of victims back to 19.
So, the official number of people wounded -- allegedly by Jared Loughner -- according to the PCSO, stands at 19.
There had been rumors floating around the Internet -- fueled by comments made by Sheriff Clarence Dupnik -- that the Sheriff's Office had previous contact with Loughner regarding death threats he'd made against public officials.
New Times requested documentation of any contact Loughner may have had with police prior to the shooting. We were told the only time Loughner had been arrested was several years ago for possession of drug paraphernalia. The sheriff's office went further by saying "the Sheriff was referring to information obtained by investigators after the shooting. The threats were general in nature, none of which were directed at any specific person, and none were reported to the Pima County Sheriff's Department."
The Sheriff's Office goes on to say "Prior to the shooting at the Safeway, the Pima County Sheriff's Department was not aware of any threats made to Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, any other government official, or to any member of the public. The Pima County Sheriff's Department was not requested to provide security to, nor informed of, the Giffords' event or any other event."
Reports are now coming out that Loughner was stopped by authorities for running a red light on the morning of the shooting. That report has not yet been confirmed by New Times.
We're in the process of confirming that report. Check back to Valley Fever throughout the day for updates.
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