Jared Lee Loughner sought help getting a job several times last year at a Pima County employment center, but the last visit turned into a familiar fiasco: Loughner was ejected as he protested his constitutional rights.
Loughner's job history is coming under increasing scrutiny as investigators try to figure out how Loughner could afford a $550 gun plus hundreds of dollars in ammunition and magazines.
On Sept. 29, Loughner made the last of at least four visits to the Pima County OneStop center at 340 N. Commerce Park Loop, just west of downtown Tucson. He came in carrying a video camera and recorded the staff in the office, according to an account written by a co-director of the center and obtained through a public-records request.
"He had a video camera with him and was taking pictures in the building," Mary Brodesky wrote to her supervisors. "Front desk staff asked him to turn off camera and he refused. When job developer went up front to greet him, he was using the camera. Job developer asked him to turn it off, and Mr. Loughner refused."
When Brodesky was called out, she wrote, "I said the staff person had not given him permission to use camera, and he had to stop using it. He put camera in his pocket, but it was still on and recording. I asked him to turn it off. He refused."
"He pulled a crumpled copy of the Constitution out of his pocket and waved it at me, saying it was his right. I attempted to calm him down but eventually had to ask him to leave the building, which he did."
That was just the first of two times Loughner was ejected that day because of disruptive behavior involving his interpretation of the Constitution. That evening, two Pima Community College police officers delivered a letter to the home Loughner shared with his parents, telling him that he was being suspended from the college.
Loughner had been kicked out of classes for disruptive behavior.
Loughner's trips to the One- Stop center followed a series of retail jobs that he had left or had been fired from, according to former co-workers, an employer and a Wall Street Journal account.
Loughner worked at a now-closed Quiznos sandwich shop near Ina and Thornydale roads for two or three months in late 2009 or early 2010 before he was fired, said Nick Lange, a former co-worker.
"I worked with him for a good couple months when he was over there," Lange said. Loughner was "laid-back, kept to himself, was kind of quiet."
But one day, Lange said, "he seemed kind of off and was being kind of rude."
A customer made a complaint to the company, and Loughner was fired, Lange said.
His job at the sandwich shop had followed several others, according to Internet postings attributed to Loughner and obtained by the Wall Street Journal. They included stints at Eddie Bauer's, a Peter Piper's Pizza, a fast-food Chinese restaurant and Red Robin at the Tucson Mall.
John Baxla, owner of Tucson's Peter Piper's Pizza franchise, said Thursday that Loughner worked at the restaurant near the corner of Ina and Thornydale roads for about three months in 2006, while he was still in high school. Loughner dropped out of Mountain View High School after the 2005-2006 school year.
Red Robin owner Dan Barnes confirmed Wednesday that Loughner worked there from November 2006 to February 2008. Loughner was a host and buser, Barnes said, and "he seemed to be a good, rather quiet, rather shy employee."
Barnes would not say why Loughner left the job, but the Journal reported that Loughner wrote in an online gaming forum: "I had to walk out of red robin. . . . Terrible situation. Mental breakdown."
Contact reporter Tim Steller at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 807-8427.