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A Ticking Bomb

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Jared Loughner had a raging temper, acquaintances say, and almost anything could set him off. While working at Quiznos subs in Tucson last year, he would get on the phone with his mother and start screaming. “Every time they’d talk,” says former coworker Anthony Rodriguez, “they’d argue.”

His relationship with his parents, Randy and Amy Loughner, a park manager, “seemed really dysfunctional,” says former girlfriend Ashley Figueroa. “His parents wouldn’t let me come over.”

His short fuse extended to customers. “Women bugged him,” says Rodriguez, recalling an especially hostile reaction to one last year. “When she left, he was like, ‘Go stuff your fat face and get even fatter, you stupid bitch.’ It was nasty stuff.”

His stormy temperament made romance difficult. Figueroa, 22, who dated Loughner during high school, recalls him as “very nice and extremely smart” but prone to tantrums. “When he’d get mad, he’d clench his fist and flail his arms,” she says. “It scared me.”

A few months ago, Figueroa had a chilling encounter with a coldly distant Loughner. “It was like looking at someone I didn’t know,” Figueroa says. “It was like he didn’t have a soul.”