"I Have Confidence in Our Legal System:" NJ Son of Arizona Shooting Victim

79-year-old retiree from New Jersey among six killed in fusillade of gunfire

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    The son of one of the victims caught up in the assassination of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said, "Because of the state of mind of the suspect, I don't really hold any bad feelings" toward the man arrested at the murder scene, Jared Lee Loughner. (Published Monday, Jan. 31, 2011)

    The son of one of the victims caught up in the assassination attempt on Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords said, "Because of the state of mind of the suspect, I don't really hold any bad feelings" toward the man arrested at the murder scene, Jared Lee Loughner.

    Former New Jersey resident Phyllis Schneck, 79, also died in the attack and her son Ernest, who lives in Rutherford, N.J., told NBC New York, "I have confidence in our legal system that they're gonna do the right thing to make sure he can't do this again."

    Asked to respond to reports that Loughner appeared to many to be mentally ill while displaying aberrant behavior, Schneck said, "It's a free country, I guess this is one of the things that's gonna happen."

    Schneck called what happened to his non-political mom an "arbitrary thing."

    And he offered no opinion on gun control, while saying of Loughner, "He's a small part of the story, I think the victims are the big story."

    Schneck described how when he first heard of the shootings, he thought of his mother who was a "snow bird" and lived in Tucson.

    "This was in the back of our minds," Schneck said, then added, "but it wasn't really a possibility for us just because of the odds."

    While she didn't answer her cell phone after he called to check up on her, he said he assumed it was because she was busy.

    But as he and his sisters continued calling into Saturday night without getting an answer, he admitted they got increasingly worried.

    Finally, around 8 p.m., while he was on the phone worrying with one of his sisters, "The doorbell rang."

    "It was a friend of mine who happens to be a police officer in town, and another police officer, and they brought me inside and explained what happened."

    Schneck then had to call up his sisters and tell them the grim news.

    While one sister said Phyllis Schneck was a registered Republican, Ernest said, "She was a supporter of Gabrielle Giffords and she just wanted to go down and shake her hand."

    Her husband, Ernie Schneck, died in 2007 of mesothelioma, but she kept their summer home in Green Pond, N.J., which she would visit every summer, according to her son.

    He described her as "outgoing, she always gave back to the community." She had been very active in the Montville Women's Club on both the local and state level.

    Ernest Schneck also reminisced on his mother's Christmas parties and the dozens of cookies she would bake.

    "People would go for her butterscotch and oatmeal cookies," he said.

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