It's a sad day for Arizonans today when Gabrielle Giffords was shot today at a Safeway grocery store on Oracle and Ina in Tucson, Arizona. She was holding a "Congress on Your Corner" at a local Safeway when a gunman came in and shot Gabrielle Giffords point-blank and around 12 others. It is reported that he was calling out names of people and started aiming at targets. The shooter seems to be in custody and is in their late teens or early 20's.
While there is no hard evidence at this point to suggest that the shooting was politically motivated, Matt Yglesias points out that an anti-Giffords event was held in June with the billing: "Get on Target for Victory in November. Help remove Gabrielle Giffords from office. Shoot a fully automatic M16 with Jesse Kelly."
Rep. Giffords was also on Sarah Palin's "target list."
As noted earlier, a gun was dropped at a Giffords event in 2009, and her office was vandalized in March.
UPDATE 12:30pm: MSNBC says a surgeon on the scene claims that Giffords is still alive, in critical condition.
UPDATE 12:45pm: A hospital spokeswoman tells MSNBC that Giffords is alive, still in surgery. CNN, Reuters & NPR no longer report that Giffords is dead.
UPDATE: 12:50pm: Sarah Palin just took down her website that had gun cross hairs on Rep Gabrielle Giffords.
Speaker of the House John Boehner issued the following statement about today's shooting:
“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."
UPDATE: 12:50pm: At least one Giffords staffer has been killed.
UPDATE: 1:00pm: Sarah Palin has issued a brief statement on the shooting:
My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona.
On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.
Update: 1:05pm: MSNBC reports that a federal judge was shot at the scene, and may have been killed, but the latter is unconfirmed.
UPDATE 1:13pm: A close friend of Gabrielle Giffords reported that she was still talking when taken to the hospital and there was still fragments of the bullet in her head. She is still in surgery.
UPDATE 1:15pm: President Obama's statement
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.
UPDATE 1:20pm: Congressman Raul Grijalva says government officials and politicians have to be aware of how they act and what they say because people look up to them and follow their example.
UPDATE 1:30pm: Thomas V. Fuentes reports for CNN that "the FBI will have the lead jurisdiction because it's an attack on a member of Congress."
Meanwhile, Capitol Hill Police have advised members and staff to "take reasonable and prudent precautions regarding their personal security."
UPDATE: 1:40pm: Richard J. Kastigar, the bureau chief for the Pima County Sheriff's Department, tells CNN that 18 individuals were shot and six are dead. He adds that Giffords is "gravely" wounded.
UPDATE 1:50pm: Via Brian Stelter, state senator Linda Lopez tells Fox, "We just heard that [Giffords] is responding to commands. She made it through surgery." Shooter was confirmed to be a 22 year old man. Weapon was a pistol.
UPDATE 1:55pm: Gunman was Jared Loughner.
UPDATE: 2:00pm: Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition but doctors are optimistic. The judge who was killed at today's shooting has been identified as John Roll. A young child (9 years old) also died at the hospital.
UPDATE: 2:03pm: "Police arrest man near Thornydale and Magee Roads who is suspected of being connected to the shooting of Giffords and others. A third man is being sought."
UPDATE: 4:45pm: Picture of Jared Loughner from his High School Yearbook in 2006.
UPDATE 5:10pm: HuffPost's Howard Fineman looks at how today's shooting could permanently change the way members of Congress interact with their constituents:
UPDATE 5:35pm: According to Politico, one of the victims killed today was Gabe Zimmerman, Rep. Giffords' director of community outreach.
UPDATE 6:25pm: House Majority Leader Eric Cantor released a statement saying that all House legislative activity will be postponed one week, including efforts to repeal President Obama's health care reform.
CURRENT UPDATE AS OF 1/11/11 st 12:00pm MST
As reported by the Huffington Post:
TPM notes that Dr. Peter Rhee told Britain's Channel 4 News that Rep. Giffords' "prognosis for survival is 100 percent." Rhee, who has treated Giffords, said:
"Well, I would say -- you know, as a physician I am going to get in a lot of trouble for this -- but her prognosis for survival is 100 percent, as far as it being short term. I mean, hopefully she'll live to be 95 years old. Longer -- what her recovery is going to do, I really don't know. I am very optimistic, however, that she's not going to be in a vegetative type of state. I think she's going to make a fair amount of recovery. And what kind of deficits that she'll have in the future, I really can't say at this point, but I am still very optimistic."
Doctors treating Gabrielle Giffords report that the congresswoman is now breathing on her own.
At a press conference at Tucson's University Medical Center, Dr. Peter Rhee said Tuesday that the Giffords is "progressing as expected" with "no issues or problems," although neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole stressed that her condition remains very serious.
"She has no right to look this good, and she does," Lemole said. "We're hopeful." Giffords is expected to remain in the intensive care unit for another week.
I'm very thankful that Gabrielle Giffords survived this and pray for the families that lost their loves ones during this day. I will not be updating this post again since I want to end on a good note, so please go to Huffington Post for updates since they have a live feed on the latest development on this.
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