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Jared Loughner’s Parents, what the Neighbors say

NL-I’ve been reading all accounts I can find about his parents. I am always shocked when I child kills and his parents act like/say they knew nothing. There is very little info on the parents except what is told to reporters by neighbors. Here is one of the best reports I have read from

In the two weeks since the mass shooting near Tucson, the parents of suspect Jared Loughner have made only one public statement: They said they were sorry, they didn’t understand and they wanted to be left alone.

The Loughners said they wished they could change what happened Jan. 8 – the day their son was accused of killing six people and wounding 13 others and the day their intensively private lives were shattered. Until then, the Loughners were unknown, anonymous and, by most accounts, detached from neighbors, with few friends.

The enigmatic nature of Randy and Amy Loughner’s lives has deepened the mystery surrounding their only son and the home where he grew up. There are flashes of perfect normalcy – a mother lauded for her work at her longtime job, parents tending their son’s musical talent, a dad nursing his love of old cars. But some saw a darker side. Neighbors describe angry complaints, perpetual privacy, a troubled teenage son on what some say was a long leash.

In the working-class area on North Soledad Avenue near Tucson, neighbors say Loughner’s parents built tall fences and scared callers off their property. Randy rarely talked unless it was to complain about some perceived injustice. “No matter what we do, it’s always wrong. If the trash collector comes a day late, (Randy) comes out and tells us our trash stinks, as if we can do something about it,” next-door neighbor Anthony Woods said. “They are not normal neighbors.”

In the days since the shooting, stories about the Loughners have continued to build, while facts about their lives behind closed blinds remain scarce. Most people are quick to point out they don’t blame the parents for the shooting their son is accused of. But questions linger. Did Randy and Amy see their son’s increasingly bizarre behavior in recent years? Did they try to help him? Did they feel helpless?

It’s unknown if Randy and Amy sought to get their son counseling. The health-insurance plan at the Pima County parks department, where Amy works, covers mental-health care, and Jared was eligible if he was a full-time student or his parents’ dependent through age 25, records show.

Postings on gaming websites and MySpace indicate Jared steeped himself in the Internet world of conspiracy theories and anti-government rhetoric.

Amy went to work every day to support the family, but at home, she remained inside. At some point, Randy appeared to stop working construction and tinkered with cars into the wee hours of night. He enforced his view of neighborhood standards with direct confrontations or calls to the sheriff. “He indicated he wanted his privacy. Different neighbors had different problems with him,” said George Gayan, 82, who has lived in the same house on North Soledad for 30 years. Years ago, Gayan said, the Loughners wanted to build an addition to their house, and neighbors had to sign a paper saying they had no objections. Shortly later, Gayan said, he asked Randy how the addition was coming. “He informed me it wasn’t any concern of mine,” Gayan said.

Other neighbors say encounters with Randy caused some to move away. “The people who lived here before us left because they were afraid,” said Stephanie Woods, 22, who, along with her brother, has lived next door for seven years. Despite the accounts, sheriff’s records indicate no one in the neighborhood filed complaints about the Loughners in the past decade. Instead, records show, it was Randy who usually called – about a truck parked in the street, someone throwing rocks at his car, vandalism. Randy took great pride in his shady frontyard filled with cactuses and succulents. Every day, he would take the family dog for a walk, neighbors say. Sometimes, Amy would walk with him, although neighbors didn’t see them speak or hold hands.

The picture clashes with the one that Amy’s co-workers and supervisors paint at Pima County Natural Resources, Parks and Recreation, where she has worked since 1987. “She was very quiet and a nice person,” said Jack Kelly, an associate agent with the county Cooperative Extension who met Amy when she served on a horticulture-advisory committee about four years ago. “Very kind.” Amy first started as a maintenance worker and now manages the Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Regional Park, a 101-acre park known for its warm spring in east Tucson. Shortly after being hired, a supervisor noted her “very pleasant temperament” and wrote that “Amy is quite bright.” Other evaluations describe her as “extremely thorough,” “very courteous to the public,” adding that her “work habits and ethics are exemplary.”
According to employment records, Amy graduated in 1981 with a bachelor’s in ornamental horticulture from California State Polytechnic University in Pomona.

Both Randy and Amy were born and raised in Tucson. Their parents had ties to both the military and the medical field. Amy’s father, Laurence Totman, was a Navy veteran and a nurse at the Tucson Veterans Affairs Hospital. Randy’s father was a corporal at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base when he was arrested at age 22 for his part in a string of grocery-store robberies in Tucson. Alpheus Loughner Jr. received five years’ probation in 1952 for his part in the crimes, according to the Tucson Citizen. The District Attorney’s Office said his cooperation was “instrumental” in the arrest of two accomplices. That same year, Randy was born. His mother, Eva Julia, was 20. She and Alpheus would also have a daughter before their divorce a few years later. Alpheus, 79, now lives in Texas and goes by the name “Big Al,” according to property and phone records. He did not respond to interview requests.

Records show Eva Julia was also arrested at age 28 on suspicion of selling liquor to minors while working at a store on Speedway Boulevard. She would later remarry and change her name to Beckham and have two more sons, Calvin and David. Before Eva Julia died in 1995, she was employed at Tucson Medical Center for 18 years.

As it turns out, Amy’s mother, Lois Totman, worked as a nurse there throughout her career. Betty Clapp, 74, still lives two doors down from the Totmans’ former home and remembered them as an “average type of family.” “We would have a lot of neighborhood parties, and they would be there,” Clapp said. She said Amy often returned from college to visit her parents. Clapp said she met Amy’s new husband, Randy, and their son, Jared, who was born in 1988. The Totmans were proud grandparents and never mentioned any problems with their grandson, she said. Jared played saxophone, and his parents enrolled him in jazz classes to help him hone his skills. Some remember Amy as a doting mother.

Michelle Montanaro, 41, remembers the Loughner family from just about a decade ago. Her son, Alex, and Jared were best friends. And she got to know Amy and Randy fairly well. “If you would have told me then that this could happen, I would never believe it,” she said. “They were very caring parents.” Once, she said, perhaps when the boys were in eighth grade, Jared stayed with the Montanaros for five days because the Loughners were going out of town. Amy made sure every detail was covered, including providing signed medical forms in case Jared got hurt. “That’s a mom who cares,” Montanaro said.

Nevertheless, Montanaro said she believes Jared killed those people. “Just as a parent, I wouldn’t know how you would live with that. I can’t imagine the pain.”

Some friends of Jared’s, however, say the relationship between the suspect and his parents had become strained. Friction led to shouting matches, strange absences and runaway attempts. James Beran, 25, lives about a two-minute walk from the Loughner home. He said he and Jared were friends through middle and high school. Beran, who often played basketball at Jared’s house, described Randy and Amy as “very, very different from most parents.” When Jared skipped school or missed work, they didn’t appear to discipline him. “Whatever he did, he never got in trouble,” Beran said. Amy was nice, he said. Randy could be friendly, but “you had to catch him on a good day.”

Randy always had a couple of old cars parked in front of the house that he would refurbish and make nice. “His dad was always up at odd hours of the night. Always working on cars at 2 or 3 in the morning,” Beran said.

After high school, Beran saw less and less of Jared. But he could count on his friend stopping in once or twice a week for pizza at the restaurant where Beran worked. He would usually order two pepperoni slices and a Pepsi. His last visit was in September, Beran said.

A family who knew the Loughners also described the relationship between Jared and his parents as troubled.
George and Roxanne Osler told the Associated Press about a time when Jared ran away from home in 2008 and checked into a hotel for about a week. They said Randy and Amy came to their home looking for Jared, who was friends with their son, Zach. After some discussion with his parents, Zach told the Loughners where they could find their then 20-year-old son. Jared moved back home. Over the next two years, his behavior became erratic. He was arrested on suspicion of vandalism, couldn’t hold retail jobs and was forced out of Pima Community College after outbursts in class.

Amy and Randy don’t try to explain it. Their public statement three days after the shooting was brief and polite.”This is a very difficult time for us. We ask the media to respect our privacy. There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We wish that there were so we can make you feel better. We don’t understand why this happened. It may not make any difference. But we wish we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss. Thank you. The Loughner family.”

Republic reporters John Faherty, Daniel Gonzalez, Sean Holstege, Pat Kossan, Ofelia Madrid, Anne Ryman and Dennis Wagner contributed to this article.

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