JARED LEE LOUGHNER, the alleged Tucson gunman, was described yesterday as a mentally unstable college dropout.
Videos and statements posted on the internet by Mr Loughner (22) featured incoherent statements about terrorism, mind control, currency and the US government.
Yesterday, it was reported Mr Loughner had been rejected by the US Army after failing a drugs test. He had previously been in trouble with the police over possession of drugs paraphernalia.
It emerged that Mr Loughner had been suspended from Pima Community College last September after campus police discovered a disturbing video posted on YouTube in which he ranted against the college.
He had been disciplined over up to five "classroom and library disruptions".
Caitie Parker, a former classmate, said Mr Loughner had met Gabrielle Giffords at an event in 2007.
"He asked her a question and he told me she was 'stupid and unintelligent'," she said.
Clarence Dupnik, the Pima County Sheriff, said Mr Loughner had been in contact with Ms Giffords's office about the event.
Other fellow students recalled troubling behaviour, including an incident in which Mr Loughner upset a classmate.
"A girl had written a poem about an abortion," one, Lydian Ali, said.
"It was very emotional and she was teary eyed and he said something about strapping a bomb to the foetus and making a baby bomber."
Sheriff Dupnik said they believed the gunman was "unstable".
He told reporters: "There's reason to believe that this individual may have a mental issue." (© Daily Telegraph, London)