I woke up this morning to disturbing news: Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (CD-8) was shot today at a "Congress On Your Corner" event today at the Safeway at Ina and Oracle just after 10AM local time this morning. On her Twitter feed, the Congresswoman (@Rep_Giffords) publicized this event in a Tweet that published just moments before she was shot.
Police are reporting that up to 12 people, including the Congresswoman, were injured after a single gunman ran up to Congresswoman Giffords as she spoke to constituents and fired into the crowd. It's currently unknown what Congresswoman Giffords' status is, but she it has been confirmed that she was medically evacuated to the University Medical Center trauma center.
The gunman was apparently apprehended at the scene by bystanders after up to 15 shots were fired.
Rumours (that I've heard but which I must stress are unconfirmed) from local Democrats and staffers are that Congresswoman Giffords' injuries are very severe, and possibly life-threatening.
As a local Democrat living in Tucson, this event strikes close to home. The Safeway at which Congresswoman Giffords was shot is a mere ten minutes from my house, and I work at the UMC medical center where Giffords is currently being treated. Democrats in Pima County face a near-constant uphill struggle, in a state where Republican vehemence is particularly divisive. Arizona is a conceal-and-carry state. Offices of sitting Democratic politicians — including Giffords' office – have been targeted by vandalism and other acts of violence.
But, frankly, I don't think any Democrat woke up this morning thinking that being left-of-the-aisle in Arizona is grounds for being shot.
Please stay tuned to this post for updates as they roll in.
Update: MSNBC is speaking with an eyewitness who says that there are three bodies on the sidewalk, suggesting at least three fatalities in the shooting.
Update: Sherriff Clarence Dupnik just told MSNBC that five people were killed and six were wounded, and that Congresswoman Giffords was medically evacuated to UMC.
Update: Mainstream media now confirming that Congresswoman Giffords has died following injuries sustained in the shooting this morning at a local townhall.
Update: Dupnik, who is in contact with doctors on scene, is saying that Giffords is still alive, but in critical condition.
Update: Hospital spokesman is saying that Congresswoman Giffords is currently in surgery.
The gunman was young, mid-to-late 20s, white, clean-shaven with short hair and wearing dark clothing and said nothing during the shooting or while being held down, although he struggled at first. He was "not particularly well-dressed"; he didn't look like a businessman, but more of a "fringe character," Rayle said. The sheriff's department arrived, arrested the gunman and cordoned off the parking lot.
Update: Press conference scheduled for today at 1:30 at UMC to update media on the Congresswoman's status.
Update: Media confirming that a Giffords aide was killed this morning. Since I have so many friends and acquantainces in the Pima County Democratic party and circles, this strikes too close to home. I'm terrified of this senseless violence.
Update: The President releases a statement regarding the shooting, saying that this sort of senseless violence has no place in our society. Currently searching for a web-based full text of the statement.
Update: MSNBC just reported that Honorable John Roll, Chief Judge atthe U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona was killed this morning at the Giffords townhall this morning. Judge Roll made headlines earlier this week asking for a delay in bringing felons to trial. I make no speculation about whether these two events are related, or whether Judge Roll was a target in the shooting or a bystander.
Update: MSNBC summarizing press conference findings: Giffords is currently listed in critical condition, and "expected to pull through" according to Tucson's deputy city manager. Total of 18 injuries this morning including one child. Source pending.
Update: Press conference officials say the shooter is 22, and was shooting a pistol with an extended magazine. Name of shooter was released: Jared Laughner.
Update: Press conference officials say the first 911 call was received at 10:11 this morning.
Update: Next press conference is scheduled for 6pm local time.
Update: Hospital press conference has just begun. Asian-spotting: Dr. Peter Rhee is currently speaking at the UMC press conference on the status of Congresswoman Giffords. Ten patients were received. There are 5 patients in critical condition, and 5 patients undergoing surgery, one patient at UMC has died. The Congresswoman is not deceased, and neurosurgeons have finished operating on her. Dr. Rhee is optimistic about her outlook. She was shot in the head. The person who died at the hospital was a young child, a young girl of about nine years old.
Congresswoman Giffords was shot through-and-through in the head, one time, and went through her brain. She will go to intensive care. She is under anesthesia right now.
Update: The shooter has been identified as Tucsonan Jared Lee Laughner Loughner, 22yo, graduate of Mountain View High and currently a student at PCC. He remains in custody.
Update: Channel 4 coverage of Dr. Rhee's press conference regarding the condition of Giffords and 9 other victims under care at UMC:
Update 5:26pm: Channel 13 News is reporting that Giffords' midtown offices have been evacuated because of a suspicious device found. Ordinance Officers are investigating.
Update 5:40pm: PCSO confirms 18 19 wounded, 6 of them have died. Identity of 4 of the deceased as yet unreleased.
Update 5:57: Police closing at least a portion of Pima/Swan intersection because of investigation of a suspicious device at Giffords' midtown district office.
Update 6:01: Gabe Zimmerman, Congressional Aide to Giffords, is reported dead by national news networks.
Update: Sheriff Clarence Dupnik comments in 6pm press conference: "Arizona has become a mecca for prejudice and bigotry." He urges an end to divisive political rhetoric and hate radio.
Update 7:10: Giffords' Staffers Pam Simon and District Director Ron Barner were also shot in the attack, but their injuries are not life-threatening.
Update 7:18: 9yo Christina Taylor Green has been identified by authorities as one of the deceased victims. Christina was born on 9/11/01.
Update 8:02: TPD has detonated the suspicious device at Giffords' district office. The device was described as "coffee can shaped" and having "odd writings" on it. The office remains quarantined.
Update 8:27: TW's The Range has some very graphic photos of the shooting scene.
Update 8:54: The names of the final three victims have been released. The complete list of fatalities is: Judge John Roll, 63; Dorthy Murray, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; Christina Greene, 9; Phyllis Scheck, 79; and Gabe Zimmerman, 30.
Update 9:00: TPD sources say that examination of the remains of the suspicious device at Giffords' district office, which was destroyed by high-pressure water hammer, indicates that it was probably not an explosive device.