Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot “point blank” in the head today during a public event at a Tucson, Arizona Safeway, and currently in critical condition after surgery.
Giffords, representative for Arizona’s 8th district, was rushed to the hospital after an unidentified man stormed the crowd and “began shooting indiscriminately,” according to some witnesses, while others have said the man was going straight for Giffords. Doctors say that though the bullet went through her head, they are optimistic about her recovery.
The shooter has been described as a man in his late-teens or early twenties, and reports say about 15-20 shots were fired into the crowd. Sixteen other people, including some of Giffords’ staff, were shot, and officials confirmed six fatalities, including federal judge John M. Roll and a 9-year old child. The gunman, identified as Jared Loughner, has been detained.
The 40-year old Congresswoman, recently reelected for a third term in a very tight race, was one of the Democrats’ more moderate members, supporting secure borders and gun rights, but also backing green energy and LGBT equality. She was hosting her first “Congress on Your Corner” event, which was something of a town hall for the lawmaker to connect with voters, of the year.
Giffords’ shooting comes just one day after she predicted “cooperation” between Republicans and Democrats.
Though it’s unclear whether the shooter was motivated by political concerns, Giffords’ shooting will no doubt complicate matters for Sarah Palin, who included Giffords on her infamous “target list” during last year’s election, only a few months before a gun was found at a Giffords reelection event.
Palin has since pulled that “target list” from her website, and offered her prayers via Facebook.
Another Republican leader, new House Speaker John Boehner, has released a statement on the shooting. “I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff,” he said.
“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.”
President Obama also issued a statement: “This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tucson, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.”
The commander-in-chief continued, “Such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.”
This is indeed a stunning, horrible event that, one hopes, will shake the States to its core and bring us back from the brink, because this cannot happen again.
Here, via Gawker, is an image of Palin’s pulled “target” list, which includes Giffords.