Aunt: Loughner Used To Be "Beautiful, Loving"

The home of Jared Loughner, at 7741 N Soledad Ave., Sunday, Jan. 9, 2011 in Tucson, Az. Loughner is accused of attempting to assassinate Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six other people Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 during a "Congress on your Corner" event at a mall in Tucson, Az. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, Mark Henle)
AP/The Arizona Republic, Mark Henle
Jared Loughner, the shooting suspect in Saturday's massacre in Tucson, was once upon a time "a wonderful, beautiful, loving baby boy," according to his aunt.

Mary Mitchell, Loughner's paternal aunt, told the Arizona Star that she had not seen him in 15 years, but remembered him as "the sweetest thing that ever lived."

That he grew up to allegedly do such horrible things is a sign that mental health awareness is not where it needs to be in America, Mitchell said.

Special Section: Tragedy in Tucson

"We need to do something to help people with mental illness before something like this happens again, before there is a tragedy," Mitchell said, adding that she believed Loughner was mentally ill.

After expressing sympathy for the victims in Saturday's shooting, Mitchell said she felt sorry for her brother and sister-in-law, Loughner's parents.

"Randy and Amy need to be respected," Mitchell said. "They are victims, also. They have to live with this the rest of their lives."

Loughner's Ex: He's "Completely Different" Now

In a statement yesterday, Loughner's parents said: "There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We don't understand why this happened. It may not make any difference, but we wish that we could change the heinous events of Saturday. We care very deeply about the victims and their families. We are so very sorry for their loss."

People have been dropping off cards and flowers at the home of Randy and Amy Loughner since the shooting.

One of them was nurse Lisa Campbell, who lives about three miles away and doesn't know the couple.

Pictures: Jared Loughner
Pictures: Tucson Victims
Pictures: Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

She brought by a card and flowers. Campbell said in the card were her name and phone number - in case they wanted someone to talk to.

Campbell said she wanted the Loughners to know they had the support of Tucsonians.