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Judge Killed, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Wounded in Arizona Rampage

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The placid routines of a morning trip to the supermarket were shredded by gunfire in Tucson, Arizona Saturday, leaving Judge John Roll and five others dead and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically wounded, law enforcement officials said.

At the White House, President Obama promised "to get to the bottom of this" and said, "It's not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does -- listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country."

In an emotional news conference this evening, Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of Pima County said the number of dead, including 63-year-old Judge Roll, was six.

Among those killed in the attack was a member of Giffords' staff, 30-year-old Gabe Zimmerman, director of community outreach, C.J. Karamargin, the congresswoman's press secretary, said Saturday evening in an interview with CNN. Also killed in the rampage were 9-year-old Christina Greene, 76-year-old Dorthy Murray, 76-year-old Dorwin Stoddard and 79-year-old Phyllis Scheck, the sheriff's office said.

Officials at University Medical Center in Tucson said that the Giffords remained in critical condition on Sunday and has not been conscious since the shooting.

Giffords, who represents Arizona's 8th Congressional District, was holding a public meet-and-greet event outside of a Safeway. Judge Roll was at the event because he had attended Mass nearby, as is his custom on Saturday mornings, and had decided to stop by and see Giffords, Dupnik said.

"There was no indication of any problems," he said. "At about 10 minutes after 10, a gunman approached and started shooting." Dupnik said Giffords appeared to be the intended target.

"Two brave individuals at this crime scene tackled the suspect," the sheriff said.

Giffords, who was struck once in the head, was taken to University Medical Center in Tucson, where she was listed in critical condition after undergoing surgery. Several news outlets had reported earlier in the day that she had died.

Giffords now is in University Medical Center in Tucson and underwent two hours of surgery. Doctors there said Sunday she can hear and follow "simple commands" but is unable to speak, in part because she is on a ventilator.

Dr. Peter Rhee said she had been struck by one bullet, in the head, and that the bullet had passed through her brain. Dr. Rhee also said the medical center was treating five people who were in critical condition and five people who were in surgery. Other victims were being treated at other hospitals in the area.

At a Sunday briefing, Rhee said he was "cautiously optimistic" about her condition.

In a brief statement just before the hospital news conference, a spokesman for the Pima County Sheriff's Department said that six people had been killed and 12 wounded when a gunman opened fire about 10:15 a.m. Giffords, a 40-year-old Democrat, was reportedly talking to a couple when a man ran up, began shooting, then fled on foot before being tackled by a bystander and taken into custody.

Sheriff Dupnik said that a 22-year-old suspect was being held Saturday in connection with the shooting and that a semiautomatic pistol had been recovered at the scene. He described the suspect as a troubled person who was known to law enforcement authorities.

"We're not convinced that he acted alone," Dupnik said of the suspect, who has been identified in news reports as Jared Loughner. "There's some reason to believe that he came to this location with another individual. And there's reason to believe that the other individual might in some way be involved."

The sheriff described the other individual as a white man who appeared to be in his 50s. "Don't know where he's headed; don't know who he is," Dupnik said.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Arizona DemocratThe U.S. Army issued a statement saying that Loughner had tried to enlist but that he had been rejected. The Army did not specify the reason for his rejection, citing privacy issues.

The wide-ranging investigation is being conducted jointly by the Pima County Sheriff's Department and the FBI. And other agencies, including the Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms Bureau, are cooperating. The U.S. Capitol Police said that it was helping with the investigation and had advised House members "to take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal safety and security."

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said all legislation scheduled for consideration in the coming week has been postponed "so that we can take whatever actions may be necessary in light of today's tragedy." Among the measures that were to be considered was the repeal of the health care overhaul.

The scene of the shooting Saturday was chaotic and the shopping center was shut down as law enforcement authorities investigated. Giffords' banner still hung between two pillars, even after the parking area was set off behind yellow crime scene tape.

Ken Penner, who works in the area, told KOLD television that he had seen Giffords speaking to an elderly couple Saturday morning shortly after 10 a.m. and that about 15 or 20 people had been waiting to speak with her. He had just entered the Safeway store when the shooting started, he said, and customers began running toward the back of the store. When he looked out after the shooting stopped, he said he saw Gifford lying on the ground, motionless.

Speaker John Boehner released a statement saying he was horrified about the shooting. "An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve," Boehner said, adding, "This is a sad day for our country."

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi called the attack a "national tragedy and a very sad day for our country." Giffords, Pelosi said, is a "brilliant and courageous member of Congress."

Senator John McCain, Republican of Arizona, issued a statement saying, "Whoever did this; whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race, and they deserve and will receive the contempt of all decent people and the strongest punishment of the law."

Giffords' rabbi, Stephanie Aaron, told KOLD in a telephone interview, "I don't understand how something like this can happen in our town, in our state and in our country."

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence issued a statement that said in part: "We find it unacceptable that when Americans and our elected leaders are assembling in public places, their lives are at risk from gun violence. We also are deeply concerned about the heated political rhetoric that escalates debates and controversies, and sometimes makes it seem as if violence is an acceptable response to honest disagreements."

Giffords, who was elected in November to a third term, was holding an event called "Congress on Your Corner." The congresswoman routinely makes herself available for one-on-one conversations with constituents, typically in front of supermarkets on Saturday mornings. But this was the first she had held since her re-election.

Giffords, generally regarded as a centrist on Capitol Hill, was criticized by some in Arizona for her support of the health care reform law. A few hours after the House vote on the health care bill, her office in Tucson was vandalized. She has called Arizona's tough anti-illegal immigration law "divisive" and said it did not make her district safer. But Giffords did not back the boycott of Arizona businesses that was supported by some opponents of the law.

Earlier this week, Giffords participated in the reading of the Constitution on the floor of the House of Representatives. She read the First Amendment, according to The New York Times.

"I wanted to be here, I think it's important," The Times quoted Giffords as saying. "Reflecting on the Constitution in a bipartisan way is a good way to start the year."

KOLD reported that Giffords is a gun owner and a supporter of gun rights. The station also said she was known for riding her Harley Davidson motorcycle to events.

Giffords, who has served in Congress since January 2007, is an Arizona native and a graduate of Cornell University. She married Cmdr. Mark E. Kelly, a NASA astronaut who is based in Houston, on Nov. 10, 2007.

Judge Roll was the chief judge of the U.S. District Court for Arizona, a post he had held since 2006. He was at the center of Arizona's immigration debate, according to The Washington Post, and faced death threats in 2009 after he allowed a lawsuit by illegal immigrants against a rancher to move forward. He had also been an Arizona state appeals court judge and a former assistant U.S. attorney in Arizona.

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Comments

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queenofsafety

Three American soldiers killed today and barely a word about it.

January 15 2011 at 4:56 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to queenofsafety's comment
grfx1269

I know--members of the senate and congress will now pass a law to protect them from guns--bad speech and they will need more special protections against you and me if we dissagree with them

January 25 2011 at 4:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rich7tj

May God come in with Healing hands and heal her as soon as possible and completely. Our prayers for all the families involved and also for our nation!
We need to pull together and love one another and stop hating and bring our jobs back from overseas and these people will not be idle to do these things. America start loving America! God Bless America!

January 11 2011 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gdgerry3

these is very sad day in americA NEED PRAYER

January 10 2011 at 7:08 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
legimpresn

We need to emphasize, that if you have a disagreement with someone in their philosophy or anything....YOU DO NOT SHOOT THEM. You vote, you run for office, you discuss with them, any lawful way you can. Shooting them is wrong. Killing them is wrong. We need to encourage more thoughtful conversations. Arguments there will be. But we need to act civilly, and just because someone disagrees with you, does not mean they are a bad person and deserve to die. Both democrats and republicans in their rhetoric, need to also find something good to say about the person they're disagreeing with as well. Please advocate for conversation, not violence.

January 10 2011 at 1:32 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
Stevie B.

Wow, I cannot believe some of the comments from our citizens, answer me this question, why is this not considered a terroist act? A member of our Government was a target for this person, can someone answer this for me. I already know the answer.

January 10 2011 at 10:57 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Elsa

Parents of this kid should be on trial and he should get immediate medical treatment for obvious mental health problems. This kid cant help it, and I utterly detest his parents for not taking action. They are the ones that now have blood on their hands. In Oct 2010 they got a letter from his college about his disturbing behaviour and it spelled out the disaster that actually happened (being a threat to himself and others). I hope there is a law that considers their negligence an act of aiding manslaughter. I am very curious to find out what their reasons were for not getting this child evaluated. Furthermore, when do Americans realize that guns should not be a commercial commodity? Guns belong only in the hands of law enforcement - I realize there will always be criminals that will get them illegally but now every idiot that can fill out a piece of paper can own one. What goes around, comes around! I wish the families of the victims strength and courage in these horrible times, my thoughts are with you.

January 10 2011 at 6:10 AM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply
Jean Robinson

The Gov. of AZ., ask for and was denied, getting help from the Law to help protect the people of AZ. from criminal acts..illegals or other wise, and was sued by the Federal Government Justice Dept. with the blessings of our Pres. Where can they get help when they are turned down. When people think they can do whatever they want to do, and not get punished for it, they will try. Just wondering!!

January 10 2011 at 1:51 AM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply
imlwrthnu

What happened here is sad....very sad.It makes me sick to think that a 22 year old could somehow be so distressed that he would even think about comitting a crime like this.I'm 29 and i will admit that i try to be as politically educated as i can be....its tough trying to make a living when unemployment is this high and it consumes alot me my time. It made Headlines everywhere. What about the poor soldiers and their families that die every day and wind up on page 9 or further back in the daily newspaper....99 percent of them dont want to be involved in this sick war and their young lives are taken every day and barely recognized because america is more involved in "store that closed" that made the main headlines. Dont get me wrong...failing business' is also another sad story, however, the true fact is that americans are losing their lives every day due to political stupidity. Democrat or Replublican....we all need to admit that America is in distress. Keep driving your imported cars and complaining you dont have a job......
Also my hat is off to the men that had the guts to tackle the man who ,insted of using his words to voice his opinion, decided to use a gun and make all the legal gun bearing americans need to fight harder to keep their REGISTERED guns in their posession....Another sad day in america

January 10 2011 at 1:44 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
Steve

What the hell is wrong with people? I just do not understand people's thinking. We just had a female deputy shot in the head and killed down the road. The maniac (he was killed too) opened the door shot her in the head with a shotgun and then closed the door like it was no big deal and now this story. Has our society degraded to such a level, that people simple do not care and think of no one but themselves? I could not take a life like that. Personally I do believe in God and I am already in trouble when I die, so I do not need to make Him more angry/disappointed in me. For the Christians we do not behave like this out of love for God and if that does not work...I would follow His law out of fear. For those that do not believe...I would hope that you would think about your neighbor and fellow man and not behave this way. Simply because it is the right thing to do for our society. Who knows, if 2012 does happen maybe it will give those that survive a fresh start and rebuild our society for the good. As humans....we can be a pathetic species.

January 10 2011 at 12:37 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Steve

What the heck is wrong with people? I just do not understand people's thinking. We just had a female deputy shot in the head and killed down the road. The maniac opened the door shot her in the head with a shotgun and then closed the door like it was no big deal and now this story. Has our society degraded to such a level, that people simple do not care and think of no one but themselves? I could not take a life like that. Personally I do believe in God and I am already in trouble when I die, so I do not need to make Him more angry/disappointed in me. For the Christians we do not behave like this out of love for God and if that does not work...I would follow His law out of fear. For those that do not believe...I would hope that you would think about your neighbor and fellow man and not behave this way. Simply because it is the right thing to do for our society. Who knows, if 2012 does happen maybe it will give those that survive a fresh start and rebuild our society for the good. As humans....we can be a pathetic species.

January 10 2011 at 12:14 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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