TUCSON, Ariz.—The parents of a man charged with trying to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords expressed sorrow Tuesday for the "heinous events," their first public remarks since their 22-year-old son was accused of killing six people.
"There are no words that can possibly express how we feel," the family of Jared Loughner said in a statement handed to reporters outside their home. "We don't understand why this happened. It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families."
The family's statement came as Tucson residents prepared for a community memorial service Tuesday night and a visit from the president a day later.
Earlier, a neighbor described the parents as devastated and guilt-ridden. Jared Loughner's mother has been in bed, crying nonstop since the shooting rampage on Saturday, neighbor Wayne Smith, 70, told KPHO-TV. Amy and Randy Loughner want to know where they went wrong with their son.
The younger Loughner is charged with trying to kill the Democratic lawmaker and killing a federal judge.
"I told them they didn't fail. They taught him everything about right and wrong," Smith said. "We all know you can teach someone everything and have no control how it works out."
At University Medical Center, Giffords remained in critical condition, but doctors said she is able to draw breathes on her own. Dr. Michael Lemole, Giffords' neurosurgeon, said, however, that doctors left the breathing tube in Giffords to protect her airway.
When asked about swelling in her brain on the third day, which is when it often reaches its peak after an injury, Lemole said a CT scan early Tuesday showed no increase in swelling. But he cautioned that it can sometimes take longer for brain swelling to reach its peak.
Meanwhile, the parents of one of Loughner's close friends, Zach Osler, described a troubled relationship between the suspect and his parents. He is their only child.
In an interview with The Associated Press, George and Roxanne Osler recalled the only time they met the rest of his family.
In 2008, the Loughner parents showed up at the Osler's doorstep looking for their son, who had left home about a week before and broken off all contact, George Osler IV said.
Jared often spent time at the Osler's place, sometimes watching conspiracy-theory movies with Zach and his younger brother, George V.
Mrs. Osler said she was struck by how unfailingly polite he was — far more so than their son's other teenage friends.
With the Loughners at his house, Zach Osler told them the name of the local hotel where their son was staying. The Loughners were able to patch things up and Jared moved back in with his parents, Zach's father said.
After that, the elder Osler sometimes would see Mrs. Loughner at the local supermarket, though they didn't chat much. He recalled that every time he saw her she had at least one 30-pack of beer in her cart.
Jared Loughner grew up on a typical Tucson block of low-slung homes with palm trees and cactus gardens out front.
Loughner's father moved into the house as a bachelor, and eventually got married and the Loughners had Jared, longtime next-door neighbor George Gayan said. Property records show Randy Loughner has lived there since 1977.
Gayan said he had "differences of opinion but nothing where it was radical or violent." He declined to provide specifics.
"As time went on, they indicated they wanted privacy," Gayan said. Friends of Jared Loughner have described him as a loner.