Arizona congresswoman shot, several killed in Tucson

(AP) - Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords ofArizona was shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fireoutside a grocery store during a meeting

TUCSON, Arizona - (AP) - Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords ofArizona was shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fireoutside a grocery store during a meeting with voters, killing afederal judge and five others in a rampage that rattled the countryand left Americans questioning whether divisive politics had pushedthe suspect over the edge.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Giffords was the targetof a gunman whom he described as mentally unstable and possiblyacting along with an accomplice. He said Giffords was among 13people wounded in the melee that killed six people, includingArizona's chief federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and an aide forthe Democratic lawmaker. He said the rampage ended only after twopeople tackled the gunman.

The sheriff pointed to the vitriolic political rhetoric that hasconsumed the country as he denounced the shooting that claimedseveral of his friends as victims, including U.S. District JudgeJohn Roll. The judge celebrated Mass on Saturday morning like hedoes every day before stopping by to say hello to his good friendGiffords.

"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to thevitriol that comes out of certain mouths about tearing down thegovernment. The anger, the hatred, the bigotry that goes on in thiscountry is getting to be outrageous," the sheriff said. "Andunfortunately, Arizona I think has become the capital. We havebecome the mecca for prejudice and bigotry."

The reaction to the shooting rippled across the country asAmericans were aghast at the sight of such a violent attack on asitting member of Congress. The shooting cast a pall overWashington as politicians of all stripes denounced the shooting asa horrific and senseless act of violence. Capitol police askedmembers of Congress to be more vigilant about security in the wakeof the shooting, and some politicians expressed hope that thekilling spree serves as a wakeup call at a time when the politicalclimate has become so emotionally charged.

"It is a tragedy for Arizona, and a tragedy for our entirecountry," President Barack Obama declared.

Giffords, 40, is a three-term moderate Democrat who narrowly wonre-election in November against a tea party candidate asconservatives across the country sought to throw her from officeover her support of the health care law. Her office in Tucson wasvandalized in the hours after the House passed the overhaul lastMarch as anger over the law spread across the country.

Police say the shooter was in custody, and was identified bypeople familiar with the investigation as Jared Laugher, 22. PimaCounty Sheriff's officials said he used a 9 mm pistol to carry outthe attack. U.S. officials who provided his name to the AP spoke oncondition of anonymity because they were not authorized to releaseit publicly.

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Top 5 Must See

Police say Jeustin David Maldonado, 17, of Uniondale, 1 Teen charged in connection to Uniondale fatal shooting
Southampton High School is proposing to bump the 2 East End high school proposes later school start
New Cassel's Joshua Golson-Orelus is charged with about 3 Trial begins for man accused in deadly robbery spree
Although Obama had long intended to take one 4 Obama defends decision to commute Chelsea Manning's sentence
Students from Babylon, Three Village and Smithtown school 5 31 LI students to attend Donald Trump inauguration

advertisement | advertise on News 12

Features

Each week, News 12's Doug Geed explores the Check out fun things to do on the East End!

Explore the Twin Forks with News 12's Doug Geed.

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Dog Day Fridays Series

Each week a different shelter visits News 12 Long Island with pets up for adoption.

News 12 digs deep to find Long Island's Discover Long Island's Hidden Past

News 12's Danielle Campbell digs into Long Island's roots.

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long On The Spot

News 12's Lily Stolzberg sees how much Long Islanders know about everything and anything.

Sorry to interrupt...

Your first 5 are free

Access to News12 is free for Optimum, Comcast®, Time Warner® and Service Electric℠ video customers.

Please enjoy 5 complimentary views to articles, photos, and videos during the next 30 days.

LOGIN SUBSCRIBE