US shooting: Girl, 9, among 6 dead

2011-01-09 00:38

Arizona - A US congresswoman from Arizona was shot and seriously wounded and six other people were killed by a man who opened fire at a meeting the politician was holding in Tucson on Saturday, officials said.

Gabrielle Giffords, a 40-year-old Democrat in her third term in the House of Representatives, was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson after being shot in the head at point-blank range outside a Safeway supermarket in the Arizona city.

Six people were killed, and a "number of individuals" were wounded including Giffords in the attack, in which a total of 18 people were shot, Rick Kastigar, an official from the Pima County Sheriff's Department, told CNN.

He said the suspected gunman was in custody. NBC News said the suspected gunman was Jared Laughner, 22, of Arizona.

Judge killed

NBC cited officials as saying one of the dead was federal judge John Roll.

President Barack Obama deplored the attack as an "unspeakable tragedy", saying in a statement that "while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded".

A spokesperson at the hospital Giffords was taken to said she was out of surgery and it looked as if she would recover.

One of the victims was a 9-year-old girl.

Giffords was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event - public gatherings to give her constituents a chance to talk directly with her - when she was attacked from about 1.2m away, NPR said.

It said the suspect tried to run away but was tackled by a bystander.

15 shots heard

"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," Obama said.

Andrea Gooden, an eyewitness who was working across the street from the event, told Fox News she heard about 15 consecutive gunshots during the shooting.

Representative Jerrold Nadler, a New York Democrat, told CNN that Giffords' office had been shot at before and she had received death threats in the past.
House Speaker John Boehner said in statement he was horrified by the attack on 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," Boehner said.


Boehner took over the top position in the House of Representatives after his Republican Party won control of the House in elections on November 2. The new Congress convened this week.

Giffords, who was re-elected in November, has focused on immigration reform, military issues, stem cell research and alternative energy while serving in Congress. She is married to US astronaut Mark Kelly.

She served on the House Armed Services, Science and Technology committees.

Before going to Washington, Giffords served in the Arizona Legislature from 2000 to 2005 and ran her family's tire and automotive business.

  • Ginseng - 2011-01-09 02:17

    I guess he was a Republican.

  • Alfred - 2011-01-09 06:42

    I wonder who gets more death threats democrats or republicans?

  • frankvroy - 2011-01-09 07:12

    Yip, and the vast majority of American citizens continue, shooting after shooting, to support their inalienable 'right to bear arms'. They cause their own mayhem. Vociferous gun control should be introduced

      Willem G - 2011-01-09 08:05

      Yesss, and then guys like you can protect the unarmed citizens when they are attacked by gun- and knife wielding criminals. Catch a wake-up. This man is a criminal. He could have done the same thing with a Spyderco knife. Would you then have called for "vociferous" knife control ?

      lmduplessis - 2011-01-09 10:57

      If weapons were banned in america, you think that would have stopped him? No, he'd STILL be comitting a crime. If guns are illegal, it's only criminals that have them, and how is this bad for the actual criminals?

      position08 - 2011-01-09 12:35

      Agree with the 2 follow up comments here. Gun control only controls those in society who are law abiding already...gun control does nothing to stop criminals & nutters (call them what you like) who are hell bent on getting their hands on a gun, from doing so. Doesn't matter what type of gun control exists (just look at the UK - super strict gun control but a couple kids got shot a few days/week ago), if one doesn't care for the gun control laws, they mean nothing.

  • - 2011-01-09 07:35

    There's an interesting article in today's NY Times about this, the most telling paragraph being: "It is fair to say — in today’s political climate, and given today’s political rhetoric — that many have contributed to the building levels of vitriol in our political discourse that have surely contributed to the atmosphere in which this event transpired", with Sarah Palin & the Tea Party at the forefront of this questionable behaviour...

      Willem G - 2011-01-09 08:09

      Perhaps the problem does not lie with "Sarah Palin & the Tea Party" but with leftwing politicians and the liberal rubbish they spew?

      james4usa - 2011-01-09 20:18

      Had nothing to do with Sarah Palin or Tea party. The shooter is anti Govt. Anti Semetic , Giffords is Jewish. The Holy Talmud forbids Jews to get into host country Govt.

  • Reon - 2011-01-09 07:36

    If you hear the gun shots, but you dont see it, are you still an "eyewitness"?

      lmduplessis - 2011-01-09 10:57

      Yes, because "earwitness" sounds ridiculous

  • DaveD - 2011-01-09 07:40

    If someone there was armed, the attack could have been stopped before it started

      position08 - 2011-01-09 12:38

      Yes Dave, if a legally armed citizen was there, the bloodshed could have been stopped early!!!! Private gun ownership in the US has soared over the last couple of years and their violent crime stats are at a record low...arm the law abiding citizen and the criminals will become less brazen & wild.

  • IREEN - 2011-01-09 08:30


  • Emile - 2011-01-09 08:46

    What is wrong with the Americans. All these mass shootings is becoming quite a trend in America. A real sick society.

      Lionel - 2011-01-09 09:45

      Catch a wake up Emile; We are the ones living in a real sick society.

      cosmic_99 - 2011-01-09 16:54

      Yes, Emile, how would you then describe SA?

  • goyougoodthing - 2011-01-09 13:34

    America. What a balls up.

  • venn.cannon - 2011-01-09 15:41

    Tire business, they sell mattresses to tired people? Why is the spelling and grammar on this site so bad ..........?

  • KanaMay - 2011-01-09 17:25

    What on Earth was the Special Police (or whatever the guards are called) doing, letting a gunman shoot 7 ~ 10 people near a politician who had received regular death threats? They are supposed to have portable metal detectors in USA now. No wonder so many terrorists try their luck against US interests.

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