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Home / Tucson shooting / Giffords expected to survive, State of the State security to be re-examined

Giffords expected to survive, State of the State security to be re-examined

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (File Photo)

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (File Photo)

Calling a southern Arizona shooting that left six people dead and District 8 U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition “senseless and cruel violence,” Gov. Jan Brewer on Saturday asked the state and nation to pray for victims of the deadly shooting.

Giffords was one of 18 people wounded in the Saturday morning attack at a Pima County grocery store. The alleged shooter, a 22-year-old man, was reportedly tackled by bystanders. The attack, which interrupted a scheduled public event by Giffords, claimed the life of U.S. District Court Presiding Judge John Roll.

By mid-afternoon, surgeons at Tucson University Medical Center had operated on Giffords, who suffered a gunshot wound to her head that Dr. Peter Rhee described as “through and through,” meaning the bullet passed through her head and exited the other side. Some early accounts of the attack had said Giffords was killed after being shot at point blank range.

“She is in critical condition,” Rhee said. “I’m about as optimistic as you can be, given the situation.”

Brewer, in a hastily called Capitol press conference Saturday afternoon, praised Giffords, a Democrat, as a genuine and thoughtful representative who placed the concerns of her district above political pressures and gamesmanship.

“She’s always been a noble public servant, and my thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and her family, the congresswoman’s staff and their families, as well as other victims of this senseless and cruel violence,” Brewer, a Republican, said.

Rhee, speaking on behalf of University Medical Center, said 10 people were brought to hospital. Five were in critical condition. A girl, described by Rhee as being 9 years old, was among those killed.

Despite the severity of the wound suffered by Giffords, Rhee said he was encouraged by the fact that the congresswoman was able to respond to commands by physicians, though he said he could not give definitive statements or details about Giffords’ recovery.

A man sits near the scene of a shooting that involved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday, Jan. 8 in Tucson. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Kelly Presnell)

A man sits near the scene of a shooting that involved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday, Jan. 8 in Tucson. (AP Photo/Arizona Daily Star, Kelly Presnell)

The Arizona Daily Star reported late this afternoon that Ron Barber, Giffords’ district director, was wounded during the shooting, as was Pam Simon, a community outreach director present at the congresswoman’s “Congress on Your Corner” event. Both were expected to recover from their injuries. Giffords’ Director of Community Outreach, Gabe Zimmerman, was killed.

Authorities identified the suspect as Jared Lee Loughner, who was reported by various media outlets to have left a chilling message that read “goodbye friends” on a Myspace account that is not visible to the general public. Other social networking activity by the man revealed a fascination with literacy and grammar, as well as currency.

Brewer’s press conference was delayed for several minutes to allow President Barack Obama to deliver a nationwide statement on the attack. Brewer said she spoke with the president by phone and was encouraged by his pledge to assist in any way possible.

Brewer said she viewed the attack as a random irrational event that should not be taken as reason to skew national attitudes about Arizona.

“Tragedies happen, and we know that people need to be held accountable and responsible for their actions,” she said. “It certainly doesn’t favor on the state of Arizona, but we have a lot of good, decent people here. This is one of those horrible tragedies that we face.”

Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said the governor was in the House of Representatives rehearsing for her Monday State of the State address when she heard of the attack.

House spokesman Daniel Scarpinato said security measures at the Capitol will be reassessed before the event, and that visitors to the House should expect delays.

- Reporter Jim Small contributed to this report.

8 comments

  1. I am very upset that this has happened. It seems that the right to bear arms in the state of AZ is a “right” with a lot of responsibility and unfortunately there are too many misguided and mentally unfit individuals who can carry “heat” as well as your law-abiding citizen. Where is this country going — are we back to the Wild Wild West??!!!

  2. My prayers goes out to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her family. Although Americans disagree with one another, newly elected House Speaker John Boehner is correct when he said. “An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve.” Guns are for defense, not for attack. Acts of violence creates more acts of violence and this is evident from the news from other country. We must not allow the US to go down a similar path.

  3. Our governor and state representatives should be hanging their heads pretty low after passing and allowing the carrying of cancelled weapons.

    Those in the old west had more since than those in our state government by man dating that fire arms be left at the edge of town. What did these nuts in our state government think would happen? Only nuts will carry cancelled weapons and our state has given the nuts that right. Shame on those in our state government.

    My wife and I had a garage sell a few weeks back and here comes this nut on to our property with a six gun strapped on. Made everyone there feel very uncomfortable as no telling what this nut would do. It is far past time for common since and this state should start by doing away with some nut laws.

  4. This is the “2nd amendment solutions if Democrats win in November” that Tea Party candidate Sharron Angle loudly called for during her campaign.

    She is as guilty in the murder of that little boy as the shooter is!

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