"This is a very difficult time for us. We ask the media to respect our privacy. There are no words that can possibly express how we feel. We wish that there were so we could make you feel better. We don't understand why this happened," the family said in statement handed to reporters gathered outside the simple, single-level ranch house in a quiet Tucson neighborhood where Loughner lived with his parents.
"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," the statement said. Loughner, 22, is charged with firing a bullet into the brain of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and killing six other people, including a 9-year-old girl. He was arrested shortly after Saturday's killings and appeared in a Phoenix court on Monday.
"They can't talk without breaking down," neighbor Wayne Smith told Tucson TV station KVOA. "They're hurting."
Smith said the parents are sick with grief and shame.
"It's just as bad on them as it is anybody else," Smith told KTAR-620 radio. "It wasn't them that did this heinous thing. It was an individual who's their son.
"She's in really bad shape, and we're hoping we don't have to take her to the hospital," Smith continued. He didn't specify what kind of medical problem Amy Loughner has. "He's a mess, and she's worse."
Smith said that while he doesn't know Randy and Amy Loughner very well, the couple let him inside their home and asked him to collect their mail on Monday so they didn't have to go outside and face a crowd of reporters. He's apparently one of the only people they knew on the block, even though they've lived there since before Jared was born.
Smith said the couple were weeping during his whole visit. "Just crying, doing their best, you know. They're hurting," Smith told KTAR-620. They were able to say little, but told Smith they have no idea why their son would shoot anyone.
Randy married Amy Totman in 1986. He became a stay-at-home father after Jared was born in 1988, while Amy worked for the county, according to ABC News. Neighbors said the Loughner household became more isolated from them as Jared, an only child, grew older.
"There was times when we'd be out with other neighbor kids, and Jared wouldn't be allowed out. He'd be watching from the window or door," Rick Dahlstrom told ABC. "They all became very isolated. Randy was isolated, Amy wasn't out anymore. Something changed. They just kept to themselves."
Other neighbors described the Loughner family as quiet and withdrawn. "They liked their privacy," George Gayan, a retired mechanic who's lived next door to the Loughners for three decades, told The Wall Street Journal. Sometimes "I didn't see him for three or four days," he said, referring to Randy Loughner.
The next-door neighbor on the other side, Stephen Woods, told the newspaper he had arguments with Loughner over uncollected trash in front of their homes. At one point, Randy Loughner spotted Woods in a Wal-Mart parking lot and screamed at him, "Trash people!" Woods recalled. He described his neighbor as vituperative and hostile.
It was Smith who broke the news of Saturday's rampage to the Loughners. He said the couple returned from grocery shopping, their peeling white Chevy truck loaded with bags, to find sheriff's deputies in their driveway. Police were cordoning off the property with crime scene tape. Smith had watched news of the shootings on TV and walked up to the Loughners and told them he'd heard their son was a suspect.
"She almost passed out right there," Smith told the Journal about Amy Loughner's reaction. "He sat in the road with the tape up and cried."