PHOENIX — In the wake of the Tucson shooting rampage, the community college the suspect had attended worked to maintain its routine even as it was being flooded by media queries about Jared Lee Loughner, including whether he had threatened anyone on campus.
Pima Community College's efforts came to light Friday as it released some 3,000 pages of emails and documents related to Loughner dated since the Jan. 8 shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
Loughner, who is being held on murder and other charges in the attack, began attending classes at the college in 2005, but was eventually kicked out because of behavior campus police considered disturbing. He was told to get a mental health evaluation or not return.
Media requests included questions about whether the college ever sought to get Loughner a mental health evaluation when he was a student or whether he had ever threatened to kill anyone on campus. The college either refused to answer questions or released short, prepared statements.
Shortly after the shooting, The Associated Press requested all of the college's emails mentioning Loughner in 2010, prompting the school to hand over six emails from late December, most of them sent by campus police. Earlier this month, The AP expanded that request by asking for all emails mentioning Loughner that were received or sent by school employees from 2005-2011.
In one email, college Chancellor Roy Flores told all employees that national news media organizations had sent teams of reporters to campus looking for anyone who knew Loughner. He instructed them not to delete any emails mentioning Loughner so the college could comply with public records laws.
"I do not think that the demands made on the college will abate any time soon, so we will have to find ways of conducting our normal duties, as well as meeting these additional demands," he said in the email, sent just after 6 a.m. on Jan. 11.