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U.S. Marshall Describes Loughner's 'Paranoid Headlights' Stare

Accused Tucson gunman Jared Loughner.
Getty Images
Accused Tucson gunman Jared Loughner.

In his mug shot, Jared Loughner appears to be smirking at the camera. He has a shaved head and his eyes seem puffy but it's that uncomfortable smirk that's left many asking what he was thinking after the 22-year-old was arrested at the scene of Saturday's mass shooting.

In a piece for Newsweek/The Daily Beast, Eve Conant talks to David Gonzales, a U.S. Marshall in Arizona, who gives a little context to Loughner's mental state. He saw Loughner yesterday and says Loughner doesn't say much, that he just sits in his 6' by 6' cell giving people one-sylable answers. "It's almost like nobody is worthy of him speaking to anybody," says Gonzales.

He adds:

He has this sort of "paranoid headlights" stare, I was talking to a psychologist friend of mine and that seems like the right term for what I saw. He just sat there, elbows resting on his knees, staring straight ahead and smirking. I saw him do that for about 15 minutes straight, just looking at the wall. After the arraignment he was taken back to the holding cell and transferred to an undisclosed location.

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Eyder Peralta
Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.