UPDATE (3:35): Shock in California, too. Gov. Jerry Brown and LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa also issued statements.
“I am deeply saddened to learn of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson this morning. My thoughts and prayers go out to the friends and families of those impacted by this terrible tragedy.”
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa:
“Today is a very sad day for all those who have devoted their lives to public service, regardless of affiliation or ideology. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a tenacious fighter who has served the 8th District of Arizona with the same courage and strength she is demonstrating today.
My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords’ family and staff members and I wish her a speedy and full recovery. My heart goes out to the families of all the victims of this senseless act of violence.”
UPDATE: (2:09) Arizona Gov. Brewer just held a news conference. She said that all of Arizona is shocked and saddened by the shootings and she said that Giffords is a personal friend from Giffords’ time in the state legislature. While this might not have been the right time, I hope someone will ask the governor about what a columnist for a local newspaper told CNN was hate-filled environment that lead to these shootings “inevitable” in this “gun-happy state.”
Also – this statement was just released by the LGBT Congressional Staff Association:
It has been reported that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), an active Member of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus was shot this morning while hosting a “Congress on your Corner” event in her Tucson district. She is currently in an intensive care unit following surgery.
Ed Espinoza, who served as the Democratic National Committee’s Western States political director, wrote on Twitter that Giffords’ district director and press secretary have also been shot.
“Congresswoman Giffords’ support for our LGBT family has never faltered. After coming off of one of the closest races in the most recent election cycle, one in which she was criticized for her support of equality issues, she didn’t hesitate for a moment to support the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’. She has stood with us unrelentingly and in this sad time we stand with her. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Congresswoman, her staff and their families,” said LGBT Congressional Staff Association President, Chris Crowe.
UPDATE: (1:53) President Obama just spoke from the White House about the shootings. He talked about the six people killed – including a 9 year old child – and 18 wounded in the shooting, including federal Judge John Roll – who the New York Times reported “had been involved in immigration cases and had previously received death threats.”
He said he has dispateched FBI Director Mueller to Arizona. “We are going to get to the bottom of this,” President Obama said.
Meanwhile, the Huffington Post has identified the alleged gunman:
“Jared Lee Loughner has been identified as the man suspected of shooting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.).
Loughner was described by eyewitnesses at the Arizona shooting as a young white man who looked like a “fringe character,” in his mid-to-late 20s, clean-shaven with short hair and wearing dark clothing.
Loughner shot Giffords and some 12 others at a public event at a Safeway grocery store in Tucscon. He reportedly shot the congresswoman “point blank” in the head and may have come from inside the store. He attempted to flee after running out of ammunition and was tackled by one of Giffords’ staffers.
UPDATE (1:18): Doctors report Giffords out of surgery; they are “optimistic” about her recovery.
UPDATE (12:32) Fox News has this statement from House Speaker John Boehner:
“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.”
UPDATE (12:18) President Obama just issued this 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 (11:56): Hospital spokesperson tells CNN that Gifford is in surgery. News conference in about 40 minutes.
UPDATE (11:37): CNN, which had also confirmed that Rep. Gifords was killed, is now backing off that report. Reuters is reporting that Giffords is alive and in surgery.
UPDATE: NPR reporting that Rep. Giffords and six others have died from the shooting.
Police report that Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot point blank in the head during a constituent meeting at Tucson grocery store in a public mall area Saturday morning. Giffords and two of her staff were among 12 who were shot “rapid-fire” style, according to an eyewitness. Reports indicate that to people are dead. Giffords was rushed to the hospital – no word on her condition yet. The shooter was apprehended though there is no motive reported yet.
GIFFORD TALKS ABOUT BEING TARGETED:
Giffords was just re-elected to her third-term and is part of the LGBT Caucus. It was not an easy campaign.
This blogger notes that Gifford was on Sarah Palin’s political hit list for her support of healthcare reform. The blogger agrees and says: “I intend to do my part to help make her pay.”
“As those of us who follow Sarah Palin’s political activity are aware, the former Governor of Alaska has strongly recommended that We the People Take Back the 20 in the November elections. The 20 under discussion are legitimately vulnerable Democrats up for reelection to Congress this fall and who also live in voting districts that went for McCain/Palin in 2008. One of those Democrats is Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona’s District 8.
Gaby Giffords is also on my personal political hit list, primarily because Pam and I live in Cochise County, Arizona, which is part of District 8. We don’t appreciate our Representative going against our wishes and voting for Obama’s Health Care Deformed…and I intend to do my part to help make her pay.”
Update (12:14) New reports that the Sarah PalinPAC site with Gifford’s name has been scrubbed (still up on her Facebook page) and that the blogger I cited above also scrubbed that site, both screen captured below. (Please note: I deleted the word “killed” from my first headline after more reports came out saying Gifford was in surgery. I didn’t know how to do a strike-through in the headline. My apologies for any confusion.)