Neighbors: Jared Loughner and family quiet, kept to themselves
Accused gunman Jared Loughner grew up in a modest neighborhood of one-storey ranches and split-level homes in northwest Tucson.
Neighbors and former classmates from nearby Mountain View High School described Loughner and his parents as loners who rarely spoke even to their immediate neighbors.
"You try to say something, they'd just ignore you and turn around and walk back into the house," said Ron Johnson, 60, a retiree who lives directly opposite the Loughner's tan, one-storey home. "The kid - I never talked to him. He acted just like his parents and ignored you."
Sunday morning, North Soledad Avenue was clear of the investigators and police lights that had dominated the day before. There was no sign of life at the Loughner home, where, for much of Saturday, the suspect's parents had stood out front fielding law enforcement inquiries, several neighbors said. Instead, camera crews and newspaper reporters made the rounds of neighbors to find out what they could about Loughner and his family.
Isaiah Martinez, 23, who lives with his parents across from the Loughners, graduated from high school a year ahead of the suspect and remembers a quiet boy who wore mostly black clothing, favored metal music and had one or two friends. Martinez, a student at the nearby University of Arizona, most recently saw Loughner walking through the neighborhood Friday night wearing a black hooded sweatshirt and listening to his mp3 player.
Martinez's sister, Michelle, 22 graduated the same year as Loughner. She remembers riding the bus with him and occasionally talking about homework assignments. Although she remembers him as a quiet student, nothing about his behavior stuck out in her memory and she could not recall any disruptive incidents such as those that led to his later removal from Pima Community College.
Michelle Martinez also recalled that the suspect dated at least one girl in high school.
"He was just a normal kid who doodled and wrote things on his notebooks," she said. "He was just a little weird, he kept to himself."
Stephen Woods 46, and his son Anthony, 19, live next door to the Loughners and said they saw the parents or the son walking their dog, but rarely spoke to them. Stephen Woods said he clashed with the suspect's father after leaving some trash at the curb that did not get picked up. He said he doesn't know what the parents do for a living, and the most he sees of the family is early each morning when the father waters his garden.
Like other neighbors, Anthony Woods said both the suspect and his father would ignore him when he said hello or waved, so eventually he stopped bothering. Of the suspect, Woods said: "One or two friends would come over occasionally and leave together."
Two old Chevys - a pickup and a Nova - sit in the driveway of the Loughner's tan single-storey house, where the backyard fence is aged and peeling and the front porch is littered with empty buckets of roofing tar.
The elder Loughner was known to tinker with the vehicles in the driveway.
Neighbors said they were shocked to learn that the accused gunman had grown up in their midst, but they said the area has never been immune to crime. Break-ins and car thefts are not uncommon, and a drug house was recently closed down around the corner, several said.
| January 9, 2011; 12:58 PM ET
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