Multiple federal agencies are now looking to see if accused Arizona shooter Jared Lee Loughner has any link to the fiery packages sent to the head of the Homeland Security Department and Maryland state officials last week.
A federal source reveals that the FBI, Dept. of Homeland Security, and the Secret Service are sharing evidence to determine if Loughner was involved in assembling and sending the packages that contained fire-starting materials but not explosives.
Loughner, 22, is accused of shooting 19 victims at an event in Tuscon hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was one of the people shot on Saturday.
The source added:
"Intelligence folks are finding [it] odd this all has happened within a few days."
In the hours immediately after the shootings, authorities did not believe that Loughner was connected with the packages mailed last week in Maryland and Washington DC. But the agencies are now taking a new and more scientific look at the packages to see if there is any connection, and are hoping to either identify Loughner as a suspect or rule him out within the next two days.
Two packages were addressed to Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and state Transportation Secretary Beverley Swaim-Staley. The packages ignited and singed workers' fingers when they were opened on Thursday. They also contained messages about the state's highway signs that encourage motorists to call with tips of "suspicious activity."
A similar package addressed to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napotilano began smoking and popping on Friday, and also emitted a "brief flash of fire" before it went out.
The three packages have been sent to the FBI lab in Quantico, Virginia.