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Horror: Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords shot at Tucson event, 4 5 dead; Update: Reports that Giffords still alive, in surgery; President Obama, Speaker Boehner, Palin, Brewer react; shooter ID’d as Jared Loughner

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By Michelle Malkin  •  January 8, 2011 02:31 PM


Scroll for updates…Conflicting reports on Giffords’ status in post-shooting chaos…latest as of 2:39pm, Giffords still alive and in surgery…continued prayers…4:216pm Easter…shooter ID’s as Jared Loughner…

Terrible, terrible news today out of Tucson, where a gunman shot and killed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) and at least 6 others. Several more were injured in the ambush.

Reuters rounds up breaking news:

Representative Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona died after being shot in the head while meeting constituents at a grocery store in Tucson, NPR reported on Saturday.

Giffords, a 40-year-old Democrat in her third term in Congress, was shot point blank by an unidentified gunman who fired indiscriminately into the crowd, NPR and other U.S. media said.

About a dozen others at the meeting were shot and the gunman was wrestled to the ground and taken into custody, Fox said, citing an eyewitness.

Giffords was married and the mother of two children. She had just returned from Washington after being sworn in for her third term.

NPR:

The 40-year-old Democrat, who was re-elected to her 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.

At least three other people, including members of her staff, were injured. Giffords was transported to University Medical Center in Tucson.

Giffords was talking to a couple when the suspect ran up and fired indiscriminately from about four feet away, Michaels said.

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.

Prayers for all the victims and their families.

More as news develops…

***

Update 2:39pm Eastern: KOLD-TV in Arizona reports that Giffords is still alive and in surgery…

ccording to Darci Slaten, University Medical Center public affairs officer, Gifford’s death has not been confirmed.

“She is alive and in surgery right now,” Slaten said.

Earlier, CNN and Fox News had both confirmed Giffords’ death.
The third-term congresswoman was reportedly shot in the head, according to the “Tuscon Citizen.”

The shooting happened just after 10 a.m. at the Safeway on Ina and Oracle, Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Jason Ogan said.

The injured were taken to University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson.

Darci Slaten confirmed that five to seven patients have been admitted.

Slaten said there were four fatalities, but would not confirm the identities.

***

There is NO indication yet of the gunman’s identity, agenda, or motives, but my Twitter feed is already filled with Tea Party-bashing, Palin-bashing recriminations and accusations that I have “blood on my hands” for advocating border security and 2nd amendment rights.

They never learn.

***

While Republicans are being accused of murder, keep in mind that Giffords provoked the ire of Daily Kos liberals for refusing to vote for Pelosi for House Speaker earlier this week.

(Update: dKos has now yanked the post. Author felt bad about the post.)

***
Livestream of Tuscon Arizona TV station, KOLD here.

An aide to Giffords has reportedly died, pushing the death toll to 5.

Sarah Palin:

On the tragedy in Arizona
by Sarah Palin on Saturday, January 8, 2011 at 1:02pm

My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today’s tragic shooting in Arizona.

On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.

- Sarah Palin

GOP House Speaker John Boehner:

Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) issued the following statement condemning the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and members of her staff today in Tucson, AZ:

“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. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country.”

***

Shameless lefties are making hay out of Sarah Palin’s political target map.

Verum Serum reminds that it’s a bipartisan graphic device:

The one below Palin’s is the target list of the DLC.

And then there’s this one from the left-wing Daily Kos, which “puts a bullseye” on moderate Democrats including…Gabrielle Giffords. So enough already.

Twitter and the left-wing blogs — and now a Fox-bashing Democrat congressman — have gone completely insane trying to politicize the shootings.

Best to tune that all out.

President Obama:

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: 4:16pm ET…shooter ID’d by Capitol police as Jared Loughner, 21.

YouTube videos.

Via Gabriel Malor, screenshot of shooting suspect Loughner’s MySpace page:

***

Federal judge John Roll was among those killed, according to wire reports.

More from DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano:

“I am deeply saddened by reports that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll and others were attacked this afternoon in Tucson, Arizona. There is no place in our society or discourse for such senseless and unconscionable acts of violence. Gabby is a steadfast representative for southern Arizona and both she and John are dedicated public servants.

“The Department of Homeland Security has offered all possible assistance to the FBI and the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, who are leading the investigation. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her family and staff, and all those who were injured in this difficult time.”

A 9-year-old girl is also among the dead.

Good God.

***

Update 4:50pm Eastern President Obama addressed the nation live about the shooting. FBI director Robert Mueller is headed to Tucson. “We are going to get to this bottom of this,” says President Obama. He’s hopeful that Rep. Giffords will pull through.

As are we all.

***

Distraught Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer made a public statement, telling Arizona and the nation she is “heartbroken.” “Gabby is more than a colleague, she’s a friend.”

Arizona flags will be lowered to half-mast.

***

Update 7:08pm Eastern – In one of his YouTube videos, Loughner claimed to be a military recruit. Stars and Stripes reports the Army found no record of any enlistment contract with Loughner.

This is not left or right.

He was a nut:

The man linked to the shooting today of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others is 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, the Associated Press reported.

Police have surrounded a house at 7700 N. Soledad Ave., which is the address listed by a man with the same name on a variety of online accounts and in the volunteer registry for the 2010 Tucson Festival of Books. The home is near West Magee Road and North Thornydale Road on the northwest side, about five miles from the shooting scene.

A former classmate of Loughner at Pima Community College said he was “obviously very disturbed.”

“He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts,” said Lynda Sorenson, who took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College’s Northwest campus.

Sorenson doesn’t recall if he ever made any threats or uttered political statements but he was very disruptive, she said. He was asked to leave the pre-algebra class several times and eventually was barred from class, said Sorenson, a Tucson resident…

…The online accounts also contain bizarre discussions of a new currency and literacy, as well as threatening and despairing messages.

“WOW! I’m glad i didn’t kill myself. I’ll see you on National T.v.! This is foreshadow …. why doesn’t anyone talk to me?..” he posted on MySpace Dec. 14.

On Dec. 13, he wrote: “I don’t feel good: I’m ready to kill a police officer! I can say it.”

In a posting on YouTube, Loughner wrote repeatedly about a new currency.

“I’m thinking of creating a new currency,” he wrote. “Therefore, I’m thinking of a design for my new coins size, shape, color, material, and image to start a new money system.”

He also wrote repeatedly about literacy. In a written message on YouTube, Loughner said: “The majority of people, who reside in District-8 are illiterate — hilarious. I don’t control your English grammar structure, but you control your English grammar structure.”

In a message posted on his MySpace account, titled “Goodbye friends,” Loughner said: “Dear friends…please don’t be mad at me. The literacy rate is below 5%. I haven’t talked to one person who is literate.” It was unclear when it was posted.

In a MySpace profile, Loughner said “My favorite interest was reading, and I studied grammar. Conscience dreams were a great study in college.”

He lists among his favorite books “Mein Kampf” and “The Communist Manifesto”. But he also includes a broad variety of other titles, including: “Animal Farm,” “Brave New World,” “To Kill a Mockingbird,” and “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest”.

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