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Police Stopped Loughner Hours Before Shooting

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By Minara El-Rahman on January 13, 2011 9:15 AM

Just hours before Jared Loughner walked into a Tucson Safeway and attempted to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killed 6 others, he was stopped by a wildlife officer for running a red light, CBS News reports.

The officer took Jared Loughner's license and vehicle registration information but found no outstanding warrants on Loughner or the vehicle. As a result, the Arizona Game & Fish officer let him off with a warning.

Typically, cars may be stopped if an officer thinks there is a reasonable and articulable suspicion that the motorist has broken a traffic law, according to FindLaw. Additionally, the 4th Amendment allows an officer to search a car's interior; including the glove compartment. It is important to note that an officer may not search the trunk of a car unless that officer has probable cause to believe that it contains contraband items or instrumentalities of criminal activity.

In the case of Jared Loughner's stop, the peace officer spoke briefly with Loughner, took his driver's license and vehicle registration information, and even checked for outstanding warrants for Loughner or his vehicle. Since there was no cause to search the car or detain Jared Loughner, the wildlife officer let him go.

It is a decision that is now causing the officer some self blame, police said. "There is some mental anguish with the officer that he was not able to stop this. But he did everything properly. He saw no weapons and had no cause to search the car or detain Mr. Loughner," said Jim Paxon, reports The Telegraph.

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