Investigators on Tuesday revealed more disturbing details about the events leading up to the assassination attempt against Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, including a menacing handwritten note in the suspect's home.
And on the day of the shooting, a mumbling 22-year-old Jared L. Loughner ran into the desert near his home after his father asked him why he was removing a black bag from the trunk of a family car, sheriff's officials said. Loughner resurfaced later Saturday when authorities say he showed up at a grocery store in a taxi and carried out the rampage that killed six people and wounded 14. Among the dead was a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl.
Investigators provided the new details to the Associated Press and said they're still searching for the bag. They suspect that it could contain clues into the suspect's motives.
"The bag is very important to us," said Capt. Chris Nanos, head of the Pima County Sheriff's Department's Criminal Investigations Division. "What was in that bag? And is there any relevance?"
Authorities previously said they found handwritten notes in Loughner's safe reading "I planned ahead," "My assassination" and the name "Giffords." Pima County Police Chief Rick Kastigar and Nanos told the AP that they also found notes with the words "Die, b--," which they believe referenced Giffords, and "Die, cops."
All the writings were either in an envelope or on an actual form letter Giffords' office sent him in 2007 after he attended one of her political events, Nanos said.
For all of it, Loughner's parents, silent and holed up in their home since the shooting spree, apologized Tuesday.
"There are no words that can possibly express how we feel," Randy and Amy Loughner wrote in a statement handed to reporters waiting outside their house. "We wish that there were, so we could make you feel better. We don't understand why this happened.
"We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss."
The apparent target of the attack, Giffords, 40, was able to breathe on her own Tuesday at an intensive-care unit here and one of her doctors declared she has "a 101 percent chance of surviving." She was also able to move both arms. Doctors emphasized that she is in for a long recovery, and her neurosurgeon repeated his cautionary phrase of "she's holding her own."
Meanwhile, the Arizona city shattered by the rampage held an evening memorial service and prepared for a visit from President Obama today.
In addition, the new details about the hours before the shooting, interviews with those who knew Loughner or his family painted a picture of a young loner who did try to fit in.
Before everything fell apart, he went through the motions as many young men do nowadays: living at home with his parents, working low-wage jobs at big brand stores and spending time doing things he liked.
None of it worked. His relationship with his parents was strained. He clashed with co-workers and police. And he couldn't follow the rules at an animal shelter where he spent some time.
While his friend Zach Osler didn't want to talk with the AP, his parents, Roxanne and George Osler IV, did.
Loughner would come over several times a week from 2007 to 2008, the Oslers said. The boys listened to the heavy metal band Slipknot and progressive rockers the Mars Volta, studied the form of meditative movement called tai chi, and watched and discussed movies.
Loughner's favorites included little-known conspiracy theory documentaries such as "Zeitgeist" and "Loose Change," as well as bigger studio productions with cult followings and themes of brainwashing, science fiction and altered states of consciousness, including "Donnie Darko" and "A Scanner Darkly."
Even in small talk, he struck the Oslers as unusual. "He always said, 'Hi, Mrs. Osler. How are you today?' When he left he made a point of coming over and saying, 'Thank you for having me over,' " Roxanne Osler said, noting that this was not typical for Zach's friends. "Jared struck me as a young man who craved attention and acceptance."
Even when Loughner tried to do good, it didn't work out.
A year ago, he volunteered walking adoptable dogs at the county animal shelter, said Kim Janes, manager of the Pima Animal Care Center. At the shelter, staff became concerned: He was allowing dogs to play in an area that was being disinfected after one had contracted a potentially deadly disease, the parvovirus.
Loughner grew up on an unremarkable Tucson block of low-slung homes with palm trees and cactus gardens out front. Fittingly, it's called Soledad Avenue -- Spanish for solitude.
Loughner's father moved into the house as a bachelor, and eventually got married, longtime next-door neighbor George Gayan said. Property records show Randy Loughner has lived there since 1977.
Randy Loughner apparently has not worked for years -- at least outside his home. He did fix up cars.
Amy Loughner got a job with the county Parks and Recreation Department just before Jared was born, and since at least 2002 has been the supervisor for Roy P. Drachman Agua Caliente Park on the outskirts of the city. She earns $25.70 an hour, according to Gwyn Hatcher, Pima County's human resources director.
Meanwhile, Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer signed into law emergency legislation to head off picketing by a Topeka, Kan., church near the funeral service for the 9-year-old girl who was killed during Saturday's shooting. The Westboro Baptist Church said it plans to picket Thursday's funeral for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green because "God sent the shooter to deal with idolatrous America."
And former Major League manager Dallas Green thanked his extended baseball family for their support on the death of Greene, his granddaughter, in the shooting. Green, who managed several big-league teams, also pitched for the Buffalo Bisons in 1959 and 1960.