Man wounded in Tucson shooting arrested after outburst to Tea Party supporter

63-year-old  J. Eric Fuller was one of those shot in the rampage last weekend that left Rep. Gabrielle Giffords seriously injured, killed six people, and left twelve other wounded. On Saturday, at a special forum St. Odilia Catholic Church that was being televised by ABC and hosted by news anchor Christiane Amanpour, Fuller made a threatening outburst at a Tea Party supporter ‘who favored delaying talk about gun laws until emotions over the shooting have died down,’ according to the January 15th Arizona Republic. Fuller was escorted out by five police officers and arrested for making threats.

As reported in the New York Times, State Representative Terri Proud, a Republican, was sitting behind Fuller. She offered a comment to clarify a bill that was introduced recently in Arizona, to allow faculty members on college campuses with concealed weapons permits to carry guns. According to the New York Times:

At that point, Trent Humphries, the founder of the Tucson Tea Party, who was sitting one row behind her, rose to speak and suggested that discussion about gun legislation be postponed until after the funerals. He started to say that he, too, had been affected by the tragedy, explaining that a neighbor had been a victim.

At that point, Ms. Proud said, Mr. Fuller blurted out to Mr. Humphries, “You’re dead.”

Mr. Fuller then began to “behave in a very odd manner,” she said. “He was making inappropriate comments.”


Fuller used to drive a limousine and now works collecting signatures for political campaigns, among other odd jobs. Before the January 8th attack at the Safeway grocery store in Tucson, he had gotten into a confrontation with another man about politics; they were separated by Gabriel Zimmerman, who was one of Rep. Giffords’s aides and who was killed in the shooting. Fuller said that he was hit by a bullet as he fell to the ground, but ‘decided that because he didn’t have any medical training to help others’ and drove himself to the nearest hospital.


The Arizona Republic quoted Dr. Laura Nelson, the deputy director for the behavioral health sciences division at the Arizona Department of Health, who suggested that Fuller’s actions could be a response to the trauma of the shootings: ‘”Grief after what happened here in Tucson last week is a completely normal reaction, and … anger is a very common symptom of grief.”‘


The forum, the Arizona Republic noted, was ‘designed to promote conversation and healing a week after the grocery-store shooting.’  Certainly there is a lot of healing to do, and a lot of grieving, among other feelings. After Tucson, Is the Anger Gone?, an op-ed in the January 16th New York Times asks. It has been just over a week since the terrible events of January 8th: Perhaps it is too early to ask such a question—-perhaps we are all still trying to figure out how to feel about everything that has happened.

Photo by SearchNetMedia.


LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

LMj Sunshine

Thank you.

John Coleman
John Coleman5 years ago

Haven’t been back to this article for some time but a couple comments. First, semi auto firearms have been around for a century and are used in hunting, target shooting (including national matches), plinking, and self-defense. Ignorant anti-gun commentators need to do some research. Second, it was the responsibility of local law enforcement to address the issue of the gunman in this case because he came to their attention repeatedly. The sheriff FAILED to do his duty then compounded that failure by shooting his mouth off and making public political statements also repeatedly. You left wingers need to look at facts and not your usual fantasies on these issues.

Diane L.
Diane L.5 years ago

I don't have time to scroll back thru all the old postings, so please forgive me if somebody else mentioned the same things. First of all, semi-automatic weapons are not needed by ANYONE, sane or not. The comment about it having been prevented if the "DEMOCRATIC hack of a Sheriff" had done his job was out-of-line and irrelevant and certainly unnecessary. From everything revealed, this shooter simply fell thru the cracks of warning signs that were shown to some, but never to the extent that authorities would have put surveillance on him. If they had, somebody would have screamed that his civil rights had been violated.

It sounds like the person being discussed in the article was out of control a bit. I can understand his anger, but it's never appropriate to threaten anyone, even if only in anger, and doing so at a rally about gun-control so shortly after an incident such as the Tucson shootings definitely seems an inappropriate place in which to do so!

Kim K.
Kim Kouyoumjian5 years ago

First of all what happened to common sense!! Further it doesn't matter what side your on, mud slinging is just that!! It cannot be justified, nor should our soceity accept as de facto!!
We all just need to get a grip and some of us need to grow up!!

Lori K.
Lori K.5 years ago

Bottom line, who really NEEDS a semiautomatic weapon, unless you are planning to kill someone? To pretend anything else is pure b. s.

John Coleman
John Coleman5 years ago

Gee all the “love”, “tolerance”, “compassion”, “healing”, “peace”, “love”, and “civility” on display in posts on this story. It just oozes out from the “progressive” posts referencing “teabaggers”, “racists”, “gun nuts”, “party of no”, “bully”, “ignoramus”, “AZ extremists”, and “Repug” to cite a few examples; nice to see everyone is adhering to The One’s memorial speech. The colossal ignorance on display here about guns and gun laws also is amazing including some statements by those who “claim” to own firearms. Any purchase from a FFL (Federal Firearms Licensed) dealer including those at gun shows MUST, at a minimum, go through the instant check system. That failed in the Tucson shooting because the incompetent hack of a Democrat sheriff failed to do his job to follow up on other incidents that could have put the shooter in the database for mental health reasons. “Assault weapons” function fully automatic and are subject to a Federal transfer tax. For those proposing no one should have a gun within 1000 feet of a Federal official, first define what a “Federal official” may be (does that include postal workers who deliver your mail?) and then explain why a person wouldn’t be violating that “law” if they lived next door to someone working in the local Social Secur


can't we all agree a semi automatic handgun magazine should legally hold 10 bullets or less not 30? that it should be illegal to have a handgun within 1000 feet of a government official? or increased funding for mental health; not repeal of health care reform which helps address mental health care?

Lady Kaira
None None5 years ago

thought provoking comments
thanks for the article

Deb Lewis
debbie Lewis5 years ago