Report: AZ Chief Federal Judge John Roll Killed in Tucson Shooting

Janet Napolitano has confirmed that John Roll, Chief Judge of the Arizona U.S. District Court, was shot by the gunman who shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords outside a Tucson Safeway this morning. MSNBC and other outlets report he has died.

As of now, five people are confirmed dead. At least one was an aide to Rep. Giffords.

< Dem AZ Congresswoman Giffords and Others Shot Outside Safeway | AZ Shooting Suspect: Jared Lee Loughner >
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    Roll was previously the target of threats: (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 02:59:23 PM EST
    In February, when U.S. District Judge John Roll presided over a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit filed by illegal immigrants against an Arizona rancher, the Marshals Service was anticipating the fallout.

    When Roll ruled the case could go forward, Gonzales said talk-radio shows cranked up the controversy and spurred audiences into making threats.

    In one afternoon, Roll logged more than 200 phone calls. Callers threatened the judge and his family. They posted personal information about Roll online.

    "They said, 'We should kill him. He should be dead,' " Gonzales said.

    Roll, who is the chief federal judge in Arizona, said both he and his wife were given a protection detail for about a month.

    "It was unnerving and invasive. . . . By its nature it has to be," Roll said, adding that they were encouraged to live their lives as normally as possible. "It was handled very professionally by the Marshals Service."

    At the end of the month, Roll said four key men had been identified as threat makers.

    The Marshals Service left to him the decision to press charges but recommended against it. Roll said he had no qualms about following their advice.

    The recommendation was based on the intent of those making the threats.

    "I have a very strong belief that there is nothing wrong with criticizing a judicial decision," he said. "But when it comes to threats, that is an entirely different matter."

    A feeling of extreme anger & sadness (5.00 / 1) (#10)
    by christinep on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:56:03 PM EST
    The church burning in Alabama so long ago that killed those children...the shootings in Mississippi. What the he** is going on in Arizona! (And, since everyone else has at least seen fit to issue some responsible statement, where is that hatemonger, the Governor of Arizona!?!)

    I may be "jumping the gun" (bad pun), but the carnage today--Congresswoman and innocent bystanders shot, Federal judge reportedly killed, 6 now dead (including a 9 yr old girl)--almost makes me physically sick. When all the facts are known.... Well, we aren't there yet. But, I can tell you that it would be more stunning than this horrific event itself to discover that the tense background of hate and suspicion in that state did not contribute to this outcome.  Unfortunately, I'm furious right now. And, damn it, we (and I )have to put aside poisonous hatred.

    After today, maybe former foes can pull back from the brink.

    Yes, a statement from Gov. Jan Brewer (none / 0) (#11)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:57:16 PM EST
    is something I expected hours ago.


    Still counting.


    And the senior Senator from AZ (none / 0) (#12)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:58:41 PM EST
    is also someone from whom I would have expected to hear a statement by now.  Have I missed both? either?

    McCain's statement was (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:59:05 PM EST
    very aggressive. Jan is about to speak. . .

    Yes, I see Brewer now (none / 0) (#15)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:59:50 PM EST
    but I will have to see if I can understand her this time.

    She started with an inappropriate grin (none / 0) (#16)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:00:55 PM EST
    but she's actually doing OK.

    That's forgivable (5.00 / 4) (#20)
    by jbindc on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:11:19 PM EST
    Lots of people smile or laugh at inappropriate times when they are nervous.

    She was good. (none / 0) (#19)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:09:29 PM EST
    I agree.  Better when she put down the script and spoke from the heart.

    she's on now (none / 0) (#14)
    by nycstray on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:59:24 PM EST
    All that's could happen (none / 0) (#25)
    by jbindc on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:52:13 PM EST
    Is that members of Congress will pull back from meeting up close with their constiuents, and will become even more insulated in the bubble that is DC.

    I doubt there will be much of that (none / 0) (#27)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:55:02 PM EST
    You can't be an effective Representative if you hide in your office.

    Many of you may know this by now, but the Pima Co. (5.00 / 2) (#37)
    by DFLer on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:41:00 PM EST
    Sheriff said that the Judge was a friend of the Cong. and knew she was doing the event, and just stopped by to say hello after Mass.

    Also, they" are saying that Giffords was definitely the target.

    I like this Sheriff. He said at the press conference that Arizona had become a mecca for bigotry and prejudice.

    I was listening, but not closely (none / 0) (#38)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:43:56 PM EST
    Thanks for catching that.

    He was quite forthright and pwerful (none / 0) (#39)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:47:40 PM EST
    so it would be worthwhile to watch for clips.

    I liked the line along the lines of "people with unbalanced minds are particularly susceptible to the political vitriol of our times."  And I was interrupted, but right before that, did I really hear him call Arizona the capital of the crazies?!


    it's a slam at the media (none / 0) (#42)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 11:33:40 PM EST
    and talk radio. He was suggesting the kid was brainwashed by extremist media. He can't have any idea. He only knows what the kid said, if anything. People need to wait until a qualified, reputable psychiatrist, with the benefit of knowing his mental history, evaluates him.

    Yes, but as the sheriff has had threats (none / 0) (#44)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 11:39:32 PM EST
    as well and attacks in local media for his opposition to the extremist immigration reform law, so I read, he seems to have a pretty good idea.

    I have been reading (on another blog) about the level of discourse on Tucson squawk radio.  Appalling.


    On the other hand, a sherriff (none / 0) (#45)
    by observed on Sun Jan 09, 2011 at 07:10:27 AM EST
    has actual qualifications to talk about public safety, unlike a psychiatrist.

    AZCentral.com (Phoenix News) (none / 0) (#2)
    by jbindc on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:00:30 PM EST
    Now reporting 6 confirmed dead:

    Arizona law enforcement official say a gunman in the crowd shot Giffords, a 40-year-old Democrat, and a person in the crowd shot at the gunman. The Associated Press identified the gunman as Jared Laughner; authorities say the 22-year-old suspect is in custody.

    Six others have been killed and 18 wounded following the shooting at a Safeway in northwest Tucson at Ina and Oracle roads, according to Deputy Richard Kastigar of the Pima County Sheriff's Office.

    So there was someone else with a gun (none / 0) (#40)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:48:58 PM EST
    there, according to this report.  I hope that any shots to stop Loughner did not hit someone else.

    Alleged Gunman identified: (none / 0) (#3)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:01:18 PM EST
    A Kos commenter found this youtube video (none / 0) (#4)
    by magster on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:27:13 PM EST
    by someone with the same name.

    That's a slightly different spelling (none / 0) (#5)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:28:49 PM EST
    but the bio sounds close.  I saw that on several other sites already, and there are more videos by this person on "final thoughts," etc..  All posted in recent weeks, it seems.

    TPM commenter found myspace pics (none / 0) (#6)
    by magster on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:31:11 PM EST

    includes picture of Glock handgun.


    new post on laughner (none / 0) (#17)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:07:33 PM EST
    and his videos is here. Please keep this to Judge Roll. Thanks.

    It's possible Roll was (none / 0) (#7)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:43:13 PM EST
    the primary target and not Giffords.

    Indeed (none / 0) (#8)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:44:22 PM EST
    And yet CNN hasn't even said his name. Our media.

    Can't really have it both ways (none / 0) (#21)
    by gyrfalcon on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:31:21 PM EST
    Having just been badly burned by reporting, and even confirming, Giffords's death, they're presumably being a bit more careful, which is as it should be.

    Even after Janet N. mentioned it (none / 0) (#23)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:47:11 PM EST
    not a word from CNN until, I think, the President mentioned it.

    According to what i've been reading (none / 0) (#22)
    by jbindc on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:40:07 PM EST
    The shooter walked up to Giffords and shot her point blank in the head and then started firing randomly.  Many of those shot were apparently caught between a table and concrete posts.

    Question is:  what was a federal judge doing there?  Was he just shopping, visiting as a constituent? A friend? Or what?

    Especially as they are from separate parties.


    I was wondering the same thing (none / 0) (#29)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:37:02 PM EST
    If this was a political appearance by the Congresswoman in any way, it would be highly unusual for a federal judge to participate (regardless of party).  If it was some kind of know-your-government forum, that would be different.  How was the event advertised and described in advance?

    Here's the link to Rep. Giffords' (none / 0) (#30)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:30:49 PM EST
    website re the event:  Congress on Your Corner

    Thanks, Oc (none / 0) (#31)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:36:13 PM EST
    Makes me think the judge's presence was coincidental (shopping?), and his death, remarkably, random.

    I could imagine that he recognized her, (none / 0) (#32)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 06:45:12 PM EST
    walked over to say hello, and found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time. But it's all speculation.

    Chief Judge Roll was a Republican (none / 0) (#9)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 03:48:06 PM EST
    appointed in 1991 by Pres. G.W.H. Bush.  He began his career as a prosecutor, and came up through the Arizona state court system.

    yes, and a former (none / 0) (#18)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:08:16 PM EST
    OCDTF prosecutor (organized crime drug task force).

    Giffords' brother-in-law (none / 0) (#24)
    by Towanda on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:51:22 PM EST
    is in space right now (the twin brothers both are astronauts).  How sad to have to get the news up there of how sad the world is down here.  

    Her husband is due to go up at the end of March, but I suspect that NASA is going to be doing some rescheduling soon -- perhaps including the current shuttle flight to bring the family member home?

    More about the Gifford / Kellys (none / 0) (#28)
    by jbindc on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 05:00:25 PM EST
    Thank you for the photo. (none / 0) (#26)
    by oculus on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 04:53:12 PM EST

    Since a federal judge was killed, (none / 0) (#33)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:01:45 PM EST
    even if the shooter didn't know he was a judge (or any other sort of federal official) at the time, I at first thought the case could be prosecuted in federal court as a capital murder, particular with the attempted murder of a Congresswoman at the same time. But on looking, I see that murder of a federal judge is apparently a federal case only if the judge was engaged in the performance of his/her duties at the time, or the killing was on account of performance of duty.  Of course, Giffords was holding a forum, and her attempted murder is a federal offense, with, surprisingly, only a 20-year maximum sentence.  If she dies, I would guess AG Holder would approve the case for federal death penalty prosecution, even with some evidence of mental illness (if it turns out to be so).  The federal law definition of "insanity" for purposes of a criminal defense is quite narrow.

    How about the district staffer? (none / 0) (#34)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:06:09 PM EST
    You are right (none / 0) (#35)
    by Peter G on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:14:59 PM EST
    Under the post-Oklahoma City 1996 amendments to 18 USC 1114 (linked in my comment above), I think the murder of any federal employee, not just high-ranking ones, during or on account of performance of his/her duties, triggers federal criminal jurisdiction.

    Westlaw has two relevant cites, (none / 0) (#36)
    by andgarden on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 07:22:15 PM EST
    both from W.D. P.A., as it happens United States v. Gaither, 533 F. Supp. 2d 540 (W.D. Pa. 2008), and United States v. Fenton, 10 F. Supp. 2d 501 (W.D. Pa. 1998).

    But that's just a two second search.


    DOJ has specific rules (none / 0) (#41)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 11:30:10 PM EST
    on which jurisdiction prosecutes when both have jurisdiction, and what factors decide. I was re-reading all of them earlier, and didn't save all the links, but generally, they are available here, scroll down to "9-10.090 Substantial Federal Interest" and then here. There's more, and it could go either way, but that's how it's determined. My guess is that Arizona will prosecutes this as a state case.

    Similarly, the death penalty is not a given federally. There are a host of rules to follow, and generally they wait until they have gone through the review process which involves hearing from defense counsel as to any mitigation.

    Holder was better in his comments today than Clinton was after OKC. Clinton said on the day of the bombing, before they caught anyone, that the death penalty is available and would be sought. Janet Reno said the same. Holder today said justice would be sought. Holder got it right.

    If the shooter suffers from severe mental impairment (short of insanity), I would hope they they'd go through the review process and not just decide based on the heinousness of the crime. The heinousness of the crime is one factor and not the only factor in deciding whether to bring a death penalty charge.

    Also, federally, the notice of intent to seek the death penalty is often filed months after the indictment is filed so the review process can take place. More on the review process.


    For the section (none / 0) (#43)
    by Jeralyn on Sat Jan 08, 2011 at 11:36:28 PM EST
    on what goes into deciding if the federal death penalty is sought, go here and scroll to 9-10.080,
    Submissions from the United States Attorney