Five federal counts have been lodged against Jared Lee Loughner, the man accused of killing six people and wounding Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and about 14 others in Saturday's shooting melee in Tucson, Ariz.
Loughner, 22, who remains in federal custody, is formally charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government, and two counts of attempting to kill federal employees.
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In a probable cause statement filed along with the charges today by in federal court, an FBI investigator lays out evidence suggesting the attack was premeditated.
Meanwhile, the FBI also has announced that a second unidentified man who had been described as a person of interest has been located, interviewed and cleared of any involvement.
The man was identified by authorities as a cab driver who drove the suspect to the location dropping him off at shortly before the attack. According to investigators, the surveillance video showed the cab driver and the suspect entering the Safeway together.
The cab driver explained the suspect needed to get change to pay the fare, and investigators say they are satisfied with the explanation provided by the cab driver.
Authorities today also released 9-1-1 tapes recorded as the events unfolded during a constituents' event being held by Giffords outside a Safeway on Saturday--but have since asked that the media not try to contact those whose names were not redacted.
The counts relate to accusations that Loughner tried to kill Giffords, two of her aides Pamela Simon and Ron Barber, and that he allegedly did kill federal Judge John Roll and another Giffords aide, Gabriel Zimmerman.
State charges also are likely to be filed in the attack. FBI Director Robert Mueller, who is in Arizona leading the investigation, said earlier today that other charges might be filed under a federal domestic terrorism statute.
Under federal legal procedure, Loughner is entitled to a preliminary hearing and a detention hearing. A federal magistate is likely to set a date for both hearings. A grand jury review and decision on issuing an indictment is required within 30 days of his first appearance in court.
A search warrant was executed Saturday at Loughner's home. Among the discoveries was a letter addressed to Loughner from Giffords on congressional stationary, thanking him for attending a 2007 event at a mall in Tucson.
Taylor also states that authorities recovered an envelope in a safe with a handwritten note stating, "I planned ahead," and "My assassination" and the name of Giffords along with what appears to be Loughner's signature.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has determined the shooting weapon, a 9 mm Glock pistol, was purchased by Loughner on Nov. 30 at a store in Tucson.
Pima County, Ariz., Sheriff Clarence Dupnik had said he was disappointed Loughner was able to purchase the gun, and has been critical of Atrizona's gun laws.
Authorities said as many as 31 shots may have been fired in the incident, and that more people may have been hurt if bystanders had not responded heroically by tackling the suspect and wrestling the gun away.
Authorities also identified and clarified reports about the woman and two men who are described as having tackled Loughner. They said Patricia Maisch was at the event, in the rear of a line waiting to take a photo with Giffords when the suspect began shooting.
"When the suspect tried to load a fresh magazine into his weapon, Ms. Maisch was able to grab the bottom of the magazine and prevent it from being inserted," said a release from the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
"This pause in shooting allowed for two men, Roger Salzgeber and Bill D. Badger, to tackle the suspect to the ground and restrain him until deputies arrived. An additional male, Joseph Zamudio, also assisted in restraining the suspect's legs," said the release.
Initial reports that the woman involved-now identified as Maisch-had been injured were inaccurate, says the release.
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Bill House is a former staff writer for National Journal.