msnbc.com staff and news service reports
updated 1/14/2011 2:12:59 PM ET 2011-01-14T19:12:59

A woman who says she dated Tucson shooting suspect Jared Loughner for a year told a British newspaper that he started to go "off the rails" after she broke up with him.

Kelsey Hawkes, 21, told the Daily Mail newspaper that Loughner, who is accused of killing six people and wounding 13, including Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, was a normal person during their relationship in 2005.

She claimed that Loughner appeared as if he had "nothing to live for," the newspaper said, when she broke up with him.

Hawkes said he then began cutting himself off from mutual friends and taking drugs and alcohol.

"My breaking up with him was not the cause of him going off the rails but it was definitely the start of it," she told the Mail.

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"Something changed in him, he was not the same person when I told him it was over," she added. "I remember his face clearly — he just looked like he had nothing to live for. It was my first relationship and it was his first relationship."

Suspect was 'normal person'
Hawkes told the paper he was "definitely" in love with her, but added "I'm not sure I could say I was in love with him."

"Jared used to care about everything, his grades, school, his friends. That was when Jared was a normal person. It all stopped when we broke up," she told the paper.

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Hawkes added she saw no signs of what was to come later, saying "I would not have dated a weirdo."

Their relationship began, she told the Mail, when they met at a college football game while studying at Mountain View High School in Tucson. She was 15 and he was 16.

"We clicked and we hung out, we did our homework together, we went to the movies. Typical teenage romance stuff," she said.

Hawkes said she cried all day when she learned Loughner had been arrested over the shooting spree in Tuscon Saturday. She said the thought of him doing something like that "just blows my mind."

Video: Childhood friends recall a less troubled Loughner (on this page)

Elements of Loughner's decline are detailed in records held by Pima Community College's campus police.

They show the difficulty faced by campus police in finding a context in which to intervene, despite Loughner's increasingly erratic behavior.

According to the records, in February 2010, Loughner talked about strapping guns to babies, disrupting a poetry class.

In June, he disturbed a math class with incoherent arguments that the instructor was using the wrong number. The next day, he denied he had been disruptive in a conversation with a counselor.

"My instructor said he called a number 6 and I said I call it 18," he told the counselor. He had asked the instructor, "How can you deny math instead of accept it?"

Incomprehensible, eyes jittery
In a Sept. 23 campus police report, days before his suspension, an officer called to quiet another one of Loughner's outbursts described him as incomprehensible, his eyes jittery, his head awkwardly tilted.

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"He very slowly began telling me in a low and mumbled voice that under the Constitution, which had been written on the wall for all to see, he had the right to his 'freedom of thought' and whatever he thought in his head he could also put on paper. ... His teacher 'must be required to accept it' as a passing grade," the officer wrote.

"It was clear he was unable to fully understand his actions."

The school reports provide the most detailed accounts so far of Loughner's troubles at the college, and he is depicted at times as "creepy," "very hostile" and "having difficulty understanding what he had done wrong in the classroom." School officials have not said if the reports were shared with any authorities beyond campus.

On Nov. 30, the same day he bought the Glock allegedly used in the shooting spree, Loughner posted a YouTube video, seething about campus police and the college.

"If the police remove you from the educational facility for talking then removing you from the educational facility for talking is unconstitutional," he said on the video. "The situation is fraud because the police are unconstitutional. ... Every Pima Community College class is always a scam!"

School officials told Loughner and his parents that to return to classes he would need to undergo a mental health exam to show he was not a danger. He never returned.

Msnbc.com staff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Video: Childhood friends recall a less troubled Loughner

  1. Closed captioning of: Childhood friends recall a less troubled Loughner

    >>> more information is coming out on this alleged gunman tonight. former friends are coming forward. old police records have been released. and what's emerged is a portrait of an increasingly troubled young man who occupied a very dark world . mike taibbi is with us tonight with what he learned today about jared loughner. there was that quote in today's "new york times." a neighbor said the vibe in the house was so bad, if a ball of theirs rolled into the loughner backyard, they would rather buy a new one than go get it.

    >> reporter: a very, very telling quote, brian. a lot of people have said things about that. we know much more about jared loughner today, including the awful eyeny. at 7:30 on the morning of the shooting, a fish and wildlife officer stopped him. he was released with just a warning. a young man who by that day had become a total stranger to many who had known him. leila chavez and jessica young knew jared loughner in middle school . no hint then he was headed down a perilous road.

    >> the jared i knew was a sweet kid. he actually cared about other people. he was nice, considerate, he had friends.

    >> reporter: loughner was still sociable after high school .

    >> we would play magic the gathering and talk about the golden ratio and have debates on string theory.

    >> reporter: but he had had problems all along. police records include his claim he had been assaulted once, and details about his alleged drug and alcohol abuse . and for the first time today, the alleged shooter's voice was heard in audiotapes of that october 2007 drug case. still, his small group of friends remained friends until about a year ago when gutierrez says loughner became paranoid.

    >> he at one time called me at 2:00 in the morning and asked me if i was in front of his house watching him through his window.

    >> reporter: gutierrez no longer wanted to go target shooting with loughner, especially when loughner suggested a new location.

    >> i really don't feel comfortable going out in the desert with jared away from my house and shoot guns with him.

    >> reporter: from there, it was one failure after another. friendships ended, rejection by the army. couldn't hold a job or get a new one, even a volunteer job at the local animal shelter . does anyone have aggression 24-7 he asked in chat rooms. in more than 130 posings last spring, he complained about bad luck with women and in the job market . then january 8th , and this picture for the world to see.

    >> the hair stands up on the back of your neck. it's weird. that was not -- that was not my friend.

    >> reporter: late today, the u.s. marshal for arizona david gonzalez told "newsweek" about loughner's bizarre behavior. he said he just sits in his cell, staring ahead with that smirk on his face. nothing else. brian?

    >> mike taibbi here in tucson with us. mike, thanks. by the way, the owner of a local gun shop here in tucson said today those extended magazines for 9 millimeters that hold more rounds are selling briskly as gun owners fear they could be taken off the market some day.

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