UPDATE – 1:13pm PST
The latest report from the hospital is that Congresswoman Gifford is out of surgery, having suffered one gunshot wound to her head, that was a through and through shot. Dr. Peter Rhee of the University Medical Center told the press that he is “optimistic” about her recovery.
The latest also includes the news that a total of 6 people were killed, including a 9 year old child from the shooting and one of the Congresswoman’s aides. In addition, US District Judge – the top Federal judge in Arizona- John Roll was shot and killed. The reports say that 18 people were shot.
The shooter has been identified as Jared Loughner of Tucson, according to the Associated Press. He was in custody is 22, and is a US citizen. While the Congresswoman was greeting people behind a table outside a local Safeway, the shooter reportedly approached her from behind, and fired his pistol at point-blank range.
UPDATE: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is currently in surgery, is in critical condition as she was shot in the head. Latest reports are that she and 11 others were wounded or killed, that a Federal judge was wounded, that the wounded included a child, and that there has been at least one death – an aide to the Congresswoman. Other reports say that there are 4 dead.
The shooter is a young male who fired a semi-automatic weapon at a public event being held by the Congresswoman. He was wrestled to the ground and is currently in custody.
Initial reports stated that U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot and some news agencies, such as msnbc report that she and six others have died after a gunman opened fire at a public event.
This just occured today, Saturday, Pima County sheriff’s office in Arizona confirmed to National Public Radio.
A gunman ran up to Giffords, 40, and shot her in the head as she addressed supporters outside a Safeway grocery store, according to media reports.
The gunman was in custody.
Giffords, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting her first “Congress on Your Corner” event at the store in northwest Tucson, NPR reported.
Giffords, 40, a Democrat, is married to U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly. She took office in January 2007, emphasizing issues such as immigration reform, embryonic stem-cell research, alternative energy sources and a higher minimum wage.
The Arizona politician’s office had been vandalized last March just hours after the House vote overhauling the health care system, The New York Times reported.
The New York Times adds:
CNN quoted a public information officer for the sheriff’s office as saying that 12 people had been injured in all and that the shooting had occurred around 10 a.m. local time.
An employee at a nearby store told CNN that he heard a steady stream of gun fire that appeared sustained “random.” Shortly after, emergency vehicles filled the parking lot around the grocery story and cordoned off the area.
The shooting occurred at a Safeway supermarket in northwest Tucson as Ms. Giffords hosted an event, called “Congress on Your Corner, to allow members of the 8th Congressional District to meet her individually. She has held several events since first taking office in January 2007. At one such event in 2009, a protester was removed by police when his pistol fell on the supermarket floor.
Last March, her Tucson office was vandalized a few hours after the House vote overhauling the nation’s health care system, the authorities said. Earlier events in Tucson, Oro Valley, Green Valley, Sierra Vista, and Douglas had attracted between 75 and 150 people, according to a statement announcing the event. This was her first event since her re-election to a third term in November.