The Tucson community college that booted attempted assassin Jared Lee Loughner asked federal firearms agents to check his background three months before his shooting rampage.
Hundreds of emails released by Pima Community College show school officials investigated the troubled young man in the months before he shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 17 others in January, killing six.
They eventually suspended him, but during the weeks after the bloodbath administrators wondered if they did enough.
The emails depict a student with serious emotional problems whose strange behavior upset those around him.
In February 2010, a student emailed a writing teacher that Loughner put a knife on his desk. The teacher forwarded the complaint to an administrator and said he'd heard a similar complaint from another student.
"I think we ought to have another conversation with Jared to try to get to the bottom of this, and really at this point, I'd like to do everything that we can to have him removed from the class," teacher Steven Salmoni wrote.
"I think his presence alone is interfering with the kind of environment that I'm trying to foster in this course."
Loughner was in trouble again four months later after a math teacher said in an email that he appeared to be on drugs. School counselor DeLisa Siddall met with him the next day.
According to emails, Loughner told Siddall he was being "scammed" by his math teacher.
"He said, 'My instructor said he called a number 6 and said I call it 18.' He also asked the instructor to explain, 'How can you deny math instead of accept it?'" Siddall wrote.
Siddall told the teacher that Loughner would return to class but stop asking questions. The next day, the teacher said Loughner returned to class and was laughing inappropriately and staring at classmates with an "evil" smile.
That led campus police to recommend Dean Patricia Houston expel him, but Houston said in an email it was premature.
"It is a matter of balancing the disruptive student's right to due process with the rights of the other students in the class," Houston wrote.
More disruptions eventually prompted administrators to suspend Loughner from school. As they did, campus cops contacted the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to look into him as a "person of interest."
Less than two weeks after the shooting, the school's director of contracts and risk management wrote an email to administrators saying the college should have done more.
"Arizona has one of the most lenient criteria for a commitment procedure which, having read the police reports, should have been initiated," Dworschak wrote. "You don't dump them."