The semi-automatic pistol used in the shooting rampage in which six people were killed and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was wounded malfunctioned, investigators said at a news conference today.
Sheriff Clarence Dupnik also said three people, included one of the shooting victims, jumped to action, preventing the attack from being worse.
Although he didn’t identify the heroes, Dupnik said when the shooter ran out of bullets and attempted to load another magazine into the gun, a woman grabbed the magazine and “tore it away from him.”
“She was trying to get the gun away from him,” Dupnik said.
Then as the shooter sought to load yet another magazine into the Glock 9 mm pistol, the spring in the magazine failed. The magazine holds 31 bullets.
At that point two men were able to tear the gun away.
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Federal officials expect to file formal charges against Jared L. Loughner by this afternoon, the head of the FBI told reporters today.
The initial charges will focus on those related to the slaying of U.S. Judge John Roll, the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords as well as the killing of staffer Gabe Zimmerman, said Robert Mueller, director of the FBI.
He said no motive has been determined.
Mueller said Loughner had previous contact with Giffords at a “similar event” in 2007. No details were provided.
Mueller confirmed that Giffords was the target of the attack.