TUCSON, Ariz. — He wandered through the dark streets of his hometown, meandering from one store to another on a furious all-night excursion as he prepared what authorities say were the final steps in taking revenge on a world from which he'd become progressively alienated.
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Jared Loughner checked into a down-and-out motel. He picked up photos showing him holding a Glock 19 while wearing only a bright red G-string. He bought ammunition on one of three trips to two different Walmarts.
He called a high-school pot-smoking buddy, ran away from his father into a cactus-dotted desert and updated his MySpace profile to say, "Goodbye friends."
Michelle Martinez ran into Loughner during his rambling odyssey. She and some friends were hanging out in the neighborhood when a sullen figure emerged from the darkness in a black hooded sweatshirt and startled them. Loughner picked his way through the group rather than walk around them, offering a deep, distant "What's up?" He then quickened his pace and disappeared into the darkness.
"I had a feeling he was thinking about something," said Martinez, who knew Loughner from their school days. "It was just kind of weird."
The encounter epitomizes Loughner's final hours as he became increasingly unhinged, culminating, authorities say, with him opening fire on a crowd of people at an event for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Six people were killed and 13 were wounded amid a barrage of bullets from a Glock 19.
Officials do not know what pushed the 22-year-old mentally disturbed loner over the edge, but interviews, records and a police chronology released Friday provide a fuller picture of his movements that in many ways reflect his scattered mind.
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