Congresswoman Giffords Shot by Gunman in Arizona, Judge Killed

BY Quinn Bowman  January 8, 2011 at 3:11 PM EDT

Updated 2:15 p.m. ET, Monday, Jan. 10

President Obama called for a national moment of silence in honor of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and other victims of the shooting rampage in Arizona Saturday that killed six people. Giffords remains hospitalized as doctors work to treat the gunshot wound to her head.

The tragedy brought a new tone to rhetoric on Capitol Hill, and the House of Representatives is not expected to resume its legislative agenda until next week.

Suspect Jared Lee Loughner, 22, will appear in court Monday afternoon at 4 p.m. on murder and other charges. Pima County Sheriff Clarence W. Dupnik said that based on evidence found in his home, Loughner “specifically targeted the congresswoman.”

Doctors who are treating Giffords held a news conference Monday. She is described as being in critical condition, but stable. Dr. Michael Lemole of the University Medical Center in Tucson cited lack of critical brain swelling as a good sign, but said that she is “not out of the woods yet.”

Updated 4:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, Jan. 9

Alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner faces at least five federal charges surrounding the attack, including attempted assassination of a member of Congress, according to the New York Times. Evidence found in his home detailed the plot to kill Rep. Giffords. He is also charged with killing of Judge John M. Roll and five others.

Read the full complaint, filed at the U.S. District Court in Phoenix, here.

A man captured near the scene on surveillance has been cleared of any involvement. Arizona authorities say the man was a cab driver who drove the gunman to the store, not an accomplice.

Bystanders wrestled the shooter to the ground and held him until police arrived. Witnesses say a man, grazed by a bullet, initiated by grabbing Loughner and allowing others to subdue him when he attempted to reload.

Updated 1:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, Jan. 9

FBI Director Robert Mueller, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnick and other officials have updated the press on the investigation into the Arizona rampage.

Mueller named the alleged shooter as Jared Lee Loughner. Loughner will be formally charged later Sunday for the assault on Giffords, the killing of Judge John Roll, and the assault on Giffords’ staffers. Additional charges are expected.

Mueller also said all logical precautions are in place to ensure the safety of other public officials and that no other specific threat remains.

The gun used in the attack was purchased in Tucson in November 2010. Officals are also continuing to seek a possible accomplice in the attack for questioning.

Dupnick said that a total of 20 people were shot and six were killed.

The New York Times is continuing to offer live updates on the story on its Caucus Blog.

Updated 12:30 p.m. ET, Sunday, Jan. 9

Doctors at the University of Arizona medical center have just updated the press on the condition of Giffords and other victims of the shooting attack. In all, the hospital received 11 of the gunman’s victims.

Giffords remains in critical condition, but can respond to simple commands like raising two fingers. Neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole said they bullet traveled through the left side of her brain and they remain “cautiously optimistic” about her progress.

Updated 9:30 a.m ET, Sunday, Jan. 9

House Speaker John Boehner ordered all flags along the U.S. Capitol to be flown at half mast in honor of Gabe Zimmerman, Rep. Giffords’ director of community outreach, who was among those killed in the shooting. From his office in Cincinnati, Speaker Boehner said “[a]n attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Such acts of violence have no place in our society.”

Investigators released a surveillance photo of a man they believe could be associated with the accused shooter, identified in media reports as 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. The man, who is sought for questioning and not a suspect, is described as a 40 to 50 year-old white male last seen wearing a dark jacket and blue jeans. A picture is emerging of Loughner as a young man known for troubled behavior and linked to a string of erratic Internet postings.

Saturday night mourners gathered at the University of Arizona Medical Center to honor those killed in the rampage and to light candles for those still hospitalized. There was also a spontaneous vigil in Washington, D.C., at the Capitol.

A photograph of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., stands amongst candles at a candle light vigil at University Medical Center. Giffords was shot during an event in front of a Safeway grocery store on Jan. 8, 2011 in Tucson, Arizona. (Tom Willett/Getty Images)

There is new information from authorities on the identities of the six people who lost their lives, including 76-year old retiree Dory Stoddard, who tried to shield his wife during the attack. Mavy Stoddard is expected to make a full recovery. Attendees 76-year-old Dorothy Morris and 79-year-old Phyllis Scheck died on scene. The youngest victim, nine-year old Christina Taylor Greene, reportedly attended the event with a neighbors because she was interested in learning about the political process.

Giffords remains in critical condition. Hospital officials will provide an update on her condition, and that of the nine other victims of the shooting, at noon ET.

Doctors involved in her care have been cautious about issuing a prognosis in the early stages, but medical professionals say that, depending on the nature of the trauma, patients can recovery significantly from gunshots to the head.”

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. (Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call via Getty Images)

Updated 8:30 p.m. ET

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik told reporters at a press conference Saturday evening that there were 19 victims in the Tucson shooting rampage and that six of those people have died. Rep. Giffords, who is in critical condition, was the apparent target of the attack.

Authorities also said they are not certain that the suspected gunman acted alone. Of the gunman, Dupnik said, “he has kind of a troubled past, I can tell you that,” although he did not identify the suspect. The AP has identified the alleged gunman as Jared Loughner, 22.

In an emotional and wide-ranging statement, Dupnik also added that it was time for the country to “do a little soul searching” and said that Arizona had become a “Mecca for prejudice and bigotry.”

The House of Representatives has decided to postpone all legislative actions next week in light of the tragedy, according to a statement from Va. Rep. Eric Cantor.

Several news outlets are providing ongoing coverage of the events in Tucson:

The New York Times Caucus Blog has live updates here.
Politico is feeding continuous updates here.
Arizona Public Media has updates and video here. They have posted video of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department first news conference on the event.

We’ll have updates on the Rundown as events warrant and more coverage, including a report from Tucson, on Monday’s NewsHour.

Updated 7:30 p.m. ET

Here’s where things stand as of this hour: At least five people were killed and at least another 10 wounded in the Tucson shooting that injured Rep. Giffords. The dead include a 9-year-old child and U.S. District Judge Roll.

Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin told the AP that three Giffords staffers were shot in the attack. One died, and the other two are expected to survive. Gabe Zimmerman, Giffords’ director of community outreach, died.

The shooter is in custody and FBI Director Robert Mueller is among the officials en route to Arizona to oversee the investigation.

Updated 7:00 p.m. ET

The Washington Post has a description of the scene from eyewitness Steven Rayle, a Tucson doctor. Rayle described the shooter, who is in custody, as a young man who “was just firing at whatever” after attacking Giffords.

The man said nothing, Rayle said. After Giffords fell, he said, a number of people near Giffords sought to flee but were trapped — hemmed in by the table and a concrete post. The gunman fired into the crowd, he said.

The AP has identified the alleged gunman as Jared Loughner, 22, citing unnamed police officials. Authorities were reported to be examining a trail of Internet postings credited to Loughner for clues on a motivation.

Updated 6:10 p.m. ET

U.S. District Judge John Roll, who was killed in the Tucson shooting Saturday, was the target of death threats in 2009, according to the Arizona Republic

Arizona Sen. John McCain has issued statements on the spree, calling the shooter a “disgrace to Arizona” and saying he was “deeply saddened” by the death of Judge Roll.

Updated 5:33 p.m. ET

President Obama’s statement (via AP):

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer’s statement on the shooting:

Updated 5:21 p.m. ET

President Obama Briefed on Giffords Shooting President Obama is briefed by aides on the Giffords shooting, White House photo

According to a White House official, President Obama learned of the shooting from his homeland security adviser John Brennan and Deputy Chief of Staff Jim Messina a little after 1:20 p.m. ET.

Beginning at 3:00 p.m. ET, the president made a number of phone calls and was then briefed by FBI Director Mueller, Secretary Napolitano, Attorney General Holder, incoming White House Chief of Staff Bill Daley, John Brennan, Jim Messina, and a number of other senior White House officials. The president asked Director Mueller to travel to Arizona to personally oversee the coordination of this investigation.

The president also made a call to Representative Giffords’ husband, for whom he left a message.

Updated 5:05 p.m. ET

At the White House late this afternoon, President Obama said he has offered Gov. Jan Brewer the full support of the federal government. He said he directed FBI Director Muller to go to Arizona to coordinate the efforts.

“We are still assembling all the facts, but we know that Representative Giffords was one of the victims. She is currently at a hospital in the area and she is battling for her life. We also know that at least five people lost their lives in this tragedy. Among them were a federal judge, John Roll, who has served America’s legal system for almost 40 years and a young girl,” President Obama said.

“Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine,” Obama said. “She is somebody who is warm and caring. She is well liked by her colleagues,” he added.

“I know Gabby is as tough as they come and I am hopeful that she is going to pull through. . . We are going to get to the bottom of this and we are going to get through this.”

“All of Arizona is shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that transpired this morning in Tucscon,” said Gov. Jan Brewer at a press conference in Arizona.

“The president conveyed his heartfelt sympathy for our state and shared determination to ensure that justice is fully served,” she added.

Gov. Brewer has ordered the flags to be flown at half staff.

Updated 4:51 p.m. ET

The Pima County Sheriff’s office has identified the alleged shooter as Jared Loughner, 22, the Associated Press reported.

Via MSNBC, here’s video of Giffords talking about an attack on her office in Tucson and whether it could be the result of her vote in support of health care reform:

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

The NewsHour talked to Giffords in 2009 as part of a report on border security.

Updated 4:35 p.m. ET

Tucson University Medical Center held a press conference on its treatment of some of the shooting victims, including Rep. Giffords. Some of the details, per trauma director Dr. Peter Rhee:

Their hospital received 10 patients. Of those, one has died: a 9-year-old child. There are five patients in critical condition. The rest are in stable condition.

On Rep. Giffords: “The Congresswoman is not deceased. She’s in critical condition. I’m very optimistic about recovery.”

Updated 4:06 p.m. ET

A suspect is in custody, according the U.S. Capitol Police. Below is an e-mail Capitol police sent to all U.S. House of Representatives staff:

Federal, state and local law enforcement authorities in Arizona are investigating a shooting in Tucson, Arizona in which Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot. Multiple others were shot as well. Congresswoman Giffords has been transported to a local medical facility with serious injuries. The suspect is in custody. No further details on the motive or other victims are available at this time.

The U.S. Capitol Police are directly involved in this investigation. As more information is developed, it will be provided. In the interim, all Members and staff are advised to take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal security.

Updated 3:47 p.m. ET

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head by a gunman Saturday in Tucson, Ariz., the Associated Press is reporting. An unknown number of other people were also shot. Members of her staff were reported to be among the victims.

The AP has this from a spokesperson for Giffords:

C.J. Karamargin, a spokesman for Giffords, said the congresswoman was in surgery as of 1 p.m. local time and that an unspecified number of Giffords staff members were injured in the shooting. Karamargin said he had no other information on the conditions of the injured or on the circumstances of the shooting.

ABC News has more on the shooting here.

President Obama released this statement on the shooting:

This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tuscon, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded.

We do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers.

House Speaker John Boehner, who swore in Giffords on Wednesday, condemned the attack in a statement.

“I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country,” Boehner said.

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi has this statement:

It is with the deepest sadness that we have received word of the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, members of her staff, and her constituents. This terrible act of violence is a national tragedy, and today is a very sad day for our country.

My prayers, and the prayers of all Members of Congress, go out to her husband, Captain Mark Kelly, their family, and to all of the staff and others who were victims of this horrible attack.

Giffords, who was elected in 2006 and reelected to a third term in November, represents Arizona’s eighth district. Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media, told NPR that Giffords was shot while attending a “Congress on Your Corner” at a Safeway store in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up to her and started shooting.

The Hill newspaper reports that after Giffords’ staff called police after someone dropped a gun at a similar event in 2009.

At a similar August 2009 event outside a Safeway in Douglas, Ariz., during the heated summer of town hall meetings, Giffords’ aides called police after one attendee dropped a gun.

“We have never felt the need before to notify law enforcement when we hold these events,” said spokesman C.J. Karamargin told Arizona media at the time.

With contributions from David Chalian, Maureen Hoch and Francine Uenuma.