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E-mails show Arizona campus worried about Loughner before shootings

By the CNN Wire Staff
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Loughner's college defends policies
  • Arizona college police kept eye out for Loughner after suspension
  • Alleged shooter of Giffords, others, kicked off college campus in October
  • Campus authorities did not alert outside law enforcement before shootings

(CNN) -- Before Jared Lee Loughner allegedly opened fire on an Arizona congresswoman, police at an area college he had previously attended were put on alert to keep him off campus, according to e-mails obtained Monday by CNN.

The e-mails, dated December 23 and December 28, show that campus police at Pima Community College were distributing photos of Loughner to staffers and night watchmen, adding patrols in an area of the campus they believed Loughner had visited and searching for videos he'd posted online.

The Monday release of the e-mails came a day after an attorney for the college defended it in a CNN interview for not alerting outside law enforcement about Loughner before the January 8 shooting spree. The attack killed six people and injured 13 others, including U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, R-Arizona, at a Tucson supermarket.

Loughner did not have a record of criminal violence before the shootings.

"We don't report people simply because their behavior is odd and strange," the attorney, Alice Callison, said. "He had made no specific threats against anyone here at the college or anyone else that we were aware of."

However, the e-mails obtained by CNN through the Arizona Open Records Act show that, before the shootings, Pima officials considered Loughner enough of a threat to bolster security in case he tried to revisit the campus.

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In October 2010, Loughner was suspended from Pima and told he could not return without undergoing a mental health evaluation to ensure he was not a danger to fellow students and faculty. Loughner's suspension occurred after he was reported five times to campus authorities for classroom outbursts.

College authorities put out the alert after learning that Loughner may have revisited Pima after his suspension, video-recorded part of the campus and posted the recording online.

"In regards to Jared Loughner," wrote college Police Commander Manny A. Amado on December 28, "I will have a photo of Jared copied and given to the swing shift crew and have them conduct more frequent checks of the Northwest Campus, to include the night roving CSO. I will also have a copy given to the facilities crew."

Five days earlier, college police Sgt. Dan Simmons alerted others to a rambling text video Loughner had posted on YouTube. It was not the video containing footage of the campus.

"Haywood happened to find this on You Tube," Simmons wrote. "More drivel from Jared Loughner. Doubt there is anything to it."

In another e-mail, a college official asked Amado if Loughner had contacted the school to set up an appointment and if "the facilities guys" have a photography to identify Loughner if he visited the campus after hours.

Callison said it is campus policy not to report students without criminal histories to outside law enforcement. That policy, she said, has not changed since the January 8 shootings.

"We had a process in place," Callison said, "and we dealt with this student in a reasonable fashion based on what we knew at the time."