Congresswoman, Twelve Others Shot In Arizona
U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) and twelve other people were shot on Saturday after a gunman opened fire during a campaign event in Tucson, Arizona.
Witnesses say that Giffords was shot at point blank range in the head while holding one of her “Congress on your Corner” events at a local Safeway grocery store.
At least six people were killed in the attack – including a 9-year-old girl. Quoting a local sheriff’s office source, several news outlets including NPR initially reported that Giffords had also expired from her wounds, although her office her spokesman quickly called those reports inaccurate.
Later, it was revealed that Giffords underwent surgery at the hospital where she and other of the victims were rushed.
“The Congresswoman is not deceased,” Dr. Peter Rhee, trauma surgeon at University Medical Center in Tucson told reporters. “She is in critical condition. I am very optimistic about recovery.”
Sources at the scene said that Giffords was speaking with a couple when a man opened fire from about four feet away. As many as twelve people were wounded during the attack.
Moments before she was shot, Giffords sent out this “Tweet” to her network inviting them to attend her event.
The alleged gunman – who has yet to be identified – was taken into custody shortly after the incident. Described as a white male in his late teens or early 20s, he was reportedly tackled by a bystander while attempting to flee the scene.
Giffords, 40, was first elected to the U.S. House in 2006. Prior to being elected to the U.S. Congress she served in the Arizona House and Senate. Giffords narrowly avoided being ousted in November’s GOP wave, however, edging Iraq War veteran Jesse Kelly by less than 2 percent of the vote. Kelly was supported by the Tea Party movement – including former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin.
Described as a “moderate” Democrat, Giffords nonetheless supported President Barack Obama’s bailout and his socialized medicine plan. As a result of her vote in favor of “Obamacare,” her office was vandalized and she reportedly received several threats.
Giffords is married to husband astronaut Mark E. Kelley, a veteran of three space shuttle missions and the scheduled commander for the final space shuttle flight in April.
Obviously our thoughts and prayers go out to him as well as the family and friends of those killed and wounded in this senseless, cowardly attack.