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Loughner Indicted On 49 Counts, Federal Prosecutors Say

A federal grand jury has indicted Jared Lee Loughner on 49 counts, including several murder charges, related to the Tucson shooting rampage that killed several people and left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords gravely wounded.

Federal prosecutors charged Loughner with the attempted assassination of a member of Congress, murder of a federal employee, and "causing death to participants at a federally provided activity" — the Congress on Your Corner event that Giffords had arranged in a grocery store's parking lot.

"Those citizens who were peaceably assembled to speak to their Member of Congress are also named victims in this indictment," said U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke in a release that accompanied the release of the indictment.

The indictment makes it clear that federal prosecutors are considering applying for the death penalty in the case.

"This indictment involves potential death-penalty charges, and Department rules require us to pursue a deliberate and thorough process," Burke said. "That process is ongoing, and we will continue to work diligently to see that justice is done."

In addition to the federal charges, Loughner, 22, also faces state charges stemming from the attack on Jan. 8.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.