Sunday, January 16, 2011

J. Eric Fuller

A victim of the shooting spree here that killed six people and wounded 13, including Representative Gabrielle Giffords, was arrested Saturday after he spoke threateningly at a televised forum intended to help this stricken city heal, the police and witnesses said. J. Eric Fuller, 63, a military veteran was “involuntarily committed for mental health evaluation,” said Jason Ogan, a spokesman for the Pima County sheriff’s office. Mr. Fuller, who was shot in the left knee and back on Jan. 8, was among several victims, medical personnel and others who attended a special forum at St. Odilia Catholic Church hosted by Christiane Amanpour to be televised Sunday on ABC. State Representative Terri Proud was sitting two rows behind Mr. Fuller. Ms. Proud said, Mr. Fuller blurted out to Trent Humphries, the founder of the Tucson Tea Party, “You’re dead.” Mr. Fuller then began to “behave in a very odd manner,” she said. “He was making inappropriate comments.” Ms. Proud said that after the forum ended, she went to one of the police officers providing security at the forum and asked him to file a report about Mr. Fuller’s remark to Mr. Humphries. The officer told her it was being investigated. About five police officers surrounded Mr. Fuller and escorted him out. As he was leaving, Ms. Proud said, he turned and yelled, “You’re all whores!” Mr. Fuller used to drive a limousine, but in recent years, he said, he got by working various odd jobs, including collecting signatures for political campaigns. In an interview with The Arizona Republic, Dr. Laura Nelson, deputy director of the Division of Behavioral Sciences of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said that Mr. Fuller’s actions could be a response to the trauma he suffered in the shooting. “Grief after what happened here in Tucson last week is a completely normal reaction, and anger is a very common symptom of grief,” said Dr. Nelson, who was invited to speak at the forum. “I hope that he’ll get the help that he needs to get through this very difficult time.”
- MICHAEL LUO and SAM DOLNICK

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