Not long after a hail of bullets killed several people and critically injured Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Saturday, police had a suspect in custody: a young man named Jared Loughner.

And as investigators sorted through evidence at the scene, a portrait of a troubled 22-year-old began to emerge through a series of cryptic postings discovered on Myspace, YouTube and elsewhere.

On a YouTube profile under Loughner's name, a handful of videos appear: most of them feature simple text but an ambiguous message.

One video, posted about three weeks ago, features a confusing rant about currency, literacy and government control.

Written in stark black and white, the video shows text which reads: "Thirdly, I know who's listening: Government Officials, and the People."

Another video, called "How to: Mind Controller," was posted about a month ago and states: "If I'm the mind controller then I control the belief and the religion." It also includes a simple diagram listing "Belief" and "Religion."

Meanwhile, linked and "favourited" by Loughner on YouTube is a video called "America: Your Last Memory In A Terrorist." In seven-minute video, an American flag is burned by a cloaked figure in what appears to be an arid, outdoor surrounding.

Meanwhile, on the YouTube profile, Loughner states that "Conscience dreams were a great study in collge!" and that his favourite books include "The Communist Manifesto," "Mein Kampf," and "Alice Adventures Into Wonderland."

As of Saturday evening, no charges had been laid against any suspects. Officials allege that the suspect used a pistol during the shooting spree.

On a Myspace page believed to be Loughner's, a young white male is pictured with a black hat and glasses. In another photo, a handgun is placed over what appears to be a U.S. history book and a circular picture of the White House.

A recent status update on Myspace states: "Dear friends ... please don't be mad at me. The literacy rate is below 5%. I haven't talked to one person who is literate."

The Myspace page has since been taken down.

It's believed that Loughner attended Tucson's Mountain View High School, and he later studied at Northwest Aztec Middle College and in addition to Pima Community College.