TUCSON , Ariz. — A federal grand jury in Tucson, today returned an initial three-count indictment against Jared Lee Loughner for attempting to kill U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, and two of her aides, Ron Barber and Pamela Simon on January 8.

“Today, the Grand Jury returned an initial three-count indictment against Jared Lee Loughner in the Tucson shooting case. We are in the early stages of this ongoing investigation. We have made considerable progress in a short period of time,” said U.S. Attorney Dennis Burke. “This case also involves potential death-penalty charges, and Department rules require us to pursue a deliberate and thorough process. Today’s charges are just the beginning of our legal action, and we are working diligently to ensure that our investigation is thorough and that justice is done for the victims and their families.”

The indictment alleges that Loughner, 22, of Tucson, attempted to assassinate Gabrielle Giffords, a Member of Congress, which is a specific federal crime, and attempted to murder two federal employees.

Loughner has been held in federal custody since the shootings.

He faces life in prison for trying to assassinate a member of Congress and 20 years for each murder charge. Each charge also carries the possibility of the federal death penalty.

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