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Newspaper Seeks Records on Accused Assassin

TUCSON (CN) - The Arizona Republic sued Pima Community College, demanding records of its communications with and about Jared Loughner, who is accused of killing six people and wounding 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Loughner attended the community college from 2005 until he was suspended in September 2010.

Phoenix Newspapers says Pima College "has delayed and denied multiple requests" for the information, for 2 months.

The newspaper wants to see the school's communications with the accused killer, with his parents, and with staff and police agencies, including details of the incidents that led to his suspension.

"The public has an acute interest in access to the records, which concern written PCC communications between and among PCC staff or with third parties about Loughner, and correspondence or other documents regarding Loughner's behavioral health and violent or antisocial tendencies," according to the FOIA complaint in Pima County Court. "These records could shed light on Loughner's background and behavior, and enable the public to evaluate whether PCC responded appropriately to Loughner's conduct or might have done more. The public interest in access to any public record is 'weighty in itself,' and the public interest here is especially strong in view of the magnitude of the January 8 events and warning signals that Loughner apparently conveyed while enrolled at PCC."

The newspaper says that all of the records it seeks are public records, and that "PCC has offered no legally viable justification for concealing these records."

It wants to see the records, and costs. It is represented by David Bodney with Steptoe & Johnson of Phoenix.

With 75,000 students on six campuses, Pima College is the eighth-largest community college in the United States.

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