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Killers' relatives offer solace to Ariz. shooting rampage suspect's parents

TUCSON, Ariz. — Few visitors make their way past the cactus garden and into the dark ranch-style home where Randy and Amy Loughner have spent much time grieving alone.

But beyond Tucson, two people who have never met the Loughners are seeking them out, and others are likely to follow.

When their son Jared Loughner, 22, was identified as the gunman who shot 19 people two Saturdays ago, his parents joined a circle whose membership is a curse: the kin of those who have gone on killing rampages.

David Kaczynski, brother of Theodore Kaczynski, the Unabomber, left a message with Jared Loughner's public defender offering his ear if the parents wanted to talk to "someone with a similar experience," he recalled.

So did Robert Hyde of Albuquerque, N.M. The brother of a mentally ill man who killed five people, two of them police officers, Hyde looked up the Loughners' address and mailed them a letter inviting them to contact him.

The gist of his letter, Hyde said by phone, was that "what happened is not your fault."

After killing rampages in U.S. towns and cities, the relatives of the gunmen face the intense scrutiny of neighbors who wonder how far the apple fell from the tree, or if the home environment was abusive.

Grief from these relatives can provoke a complex reaction as outsiders ponders whether they are victims in their own right, or the gunman's enablers, or both.

While the actual victims of crimes and their relatives "have people pulling for them," Hyde said, "I will never say, 'I lost my brother, too — I'll never go fishing with him again.'

"It would look cold and callous," he added. "People don't understand. And you don't want to offend anybody."

Capt. Mark Kelly, the husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was critically wounded in the attack, has told ABC News that he was open to the idea of meeting with Loughner's parents, adding, "They've got to be hurting in this situation as much as anybody."

Killers' relatives offer solace to Ariz. shooting rampage suspect's parents 01/21/11 [Last modified: Friday, January 21, 2011 9:50pm]
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