Nightly News | August 07, 2012
>>> since we have been here we have seen another explosion of violence in wisconsin. that came on the heels of our trip to colorado to cover the shooting in that movie theater . and yet it was an awful event in tucson , arizona over a year ago now that galvanized our nation, a mass shooting that killed six people, wounded many others, and it almost killed a member of congress. gabrielle gifford. we later saw the face of the accused gunman and today heard from him for the first time in court in the course of pleading guilty to 19 charges and facing a lifetime in prison. it's where we begin our broadcast tonight. nbc's miguel almaguer is in tucson . good evening.
>> reporter: brian, good evening. today for the first time jared lee loughner was engaged with the judge. he answered with short answers, looked directly at the judge, and took full responsibility for the horrific massacre.
>> we need more than one ambulance. there is more than one person down.
>> reporter: 19 months after shots rang out in a tucson parking lot seriously wounding congresswoman gabby giffords , killing a member of her staff, a federal judge , a 9-year-old girl, and three others, the man accused of pulling the trigger admitted today that he did it. it means no trial and no death penalty for jared lee loughner but he faces the rest of his life in prison .
>> today justice was done. with the change of his plea jared loughner will now spend the remainder of his life in prison and never be able to harm the tucson community or any other community ever again.
>> reporter: in court today dr. christina pikes who has been treating loughner said while he clearly suffers from schizophrenia he is now mentally competent. pikes testified loughner told her he was remorseful for what he did, saying, quote, i wish i never had those thoughts. and that he especially cried about the child. judge larry burns questioned loughner who is now 23. loughner answered directly with short answers. asked if he understood, he was taking responsibility for the deadly attack, he said, yes. i understand. loughner showed no emotion when the judge read him the names of the victims and asked him if he understood his guilty plea . do you have a clear mind, a clear head? yes, loughner answered. i do. his own lawyers did not object or try to prevent him from pleading. giffords, who wasn't in court, said she was satisfied with the plea. her husband, mark kelly wrote, by avoiding a trial the community can continue with our recovery and move forward with our lives. survivors in the courtroom fight back tears and said they supported the court's decision.
>> we need to move forward and make sure that good comes out of this.
>> it's not a perfect solution . the perfect solution is one that we can't have.
>> jared lee loughner will officially be sentenced november 15th . he will not be eligible for parole. brian?
>> miguel almaguer, starting us off from tucson tonight. miguel , thanks.