Arizona Rep. Giffords Shot At Public Event In Tucson

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Arizona Rep. Giffords Shot At Public Event In Tucson

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Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) and her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, a Navy pilot. Kelly is an astronaut and also the only active duty spouse of any member of Congress. Giffords was re-elected to a third term in November.

A gunman opened fire Saturday onto a crowd at a public event held by
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., critically injuring the
congresswoman and killing at least five people.

The
dead included U.S. District Judge John Roll, U.S. Marshal for Arizona
David Gonzales told The Associated Press. Giffords, who was shot in the
head, was among at least 13 people injured, according to the Pima
County, Ariz., sheriff's office.

President Obama, in a statement, said "we know that some have passed away" and that Giffords was "gravely wounded."

NPR
and other news organizations reported earlier Saturday that Giffords
had died. NPR member station KJZZ in Phoenix reported the congresswoman
and six others had been killed by the gunman.

Giffords,
who was re-elected to a third term in November, was hosting a
"Congress on Your Corner" event at a Safeway in northwest Tucson when a
gunman ran up and started shooting, according to Peter Michaels, news
director of Arizona Public Media.

The suspect fired indiscriminately from about
four feet away, Michaels said. A congressional official told The
Associated Press on condition of anonymity that the gunman was using an
automatic weapon.

The suspect ran off and
was tackled by a bystander. He was taken into custody. Witnesses
described him as in his late teens or early 20s. Federal, state and
local law enforcement authorities in Arizona are investigating the
shooting.

The congresswoman was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson.

Giffords
was first elected to represent Arizona's 8th District in 2006. The
"Congress on Your Corner" events, which she holds regularly, allow
constituents to present their concerns directly to her.

Giffords'
Tucson office was one of three damaged last March by vandals who
targeted Democrats in advance of the U.S. House vote on the
controversial health care legislation. A glass panel at her office was
shattered, and at the time her staff said that it appeared the window
had been damaged by a pellet gun.

House Speaker John Boehner condemned the attack.

"An
attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve," he said in a
statement. "Acts and threats of violence against public officials have
no place in our society."

Her fellow Arizona congressman, Republican Jeff
Flake, reached Saturday on his way to the hospital recalled that he had
last spoken with Giffords on the House floor during this week's
swearing-in ceremony.

"We have a fairly small
delegation and we've met often," he said of Giffords, who in November
beat back a tough challenge from a Tea Party-endorsed opponent.

"She
got re-elected because she's tenacious," Flake said. "There was a very
strong headwind against all Democrats and people did not expect her to
come back to Congress.

"But she was
tireless," he said. "Others may have held back after things happen -
like the damage to her office. She was fearless."

Flake said emotions have been running high in Arizona over issues, including immigration.

"That's obviously an issue that is a very passionate one for a lot of people," he said.

In
a statement released by his office, House Speaker John Boehner said he
was "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....this is a sad day for our country."

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