January 8, 2011 by USA Post
Mark Kelly, (AFP) – A member of the Congress of the United States was in critical condition after being shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fire on a public event in Tucson, Arizona, killing six people, have announced authorities.
Published media reports have suggested that the Democrat Gabrielle Giffords was dead after the shooting in a Safeway grocery store in which a U.S. federal judge has also been affected.
Giffords hosted a congress on your corner “event with constituents in a mall when the gunman attacked, killing six people and wounding 12, police spokesman Rick Kastigar.
“Ms. Giffords is alive. She is currently in surgery. There are nine other victims of shooting at the hospital,” spokesman Darci Slaten University Medical Center told AFP.
Witnesses said the legislator was shot point blank in the shooting, for which no motive was immediately known.
National Public Radio, the suspect fled and was approached by a passerby, before being detained, and that witnesses have described as being in his late teens or early 20s.
Andrea Gooden, a witness who was in an office down the street, told Fox News she heard a burst of gunfire and “immediately after there were people running through the parking lot.”
Another witness told CNN he heard 15-20 shots and saw people running and screaming from the scene before police trucks and fire arrived about two minutes later.
Images of the scene showed paramedics rushing stretchers for helicopters.
The incident occurred after packages turned into a post office in Washington, DC on Friday and two government buildings in neighboring Maryland, on Thursday.
Giffords, 40, became the first Jewish woman to be elected to Congress from Arizona in 2006 and is married to Mark Kelly, a NASA astronaut.
She was a member of the centrist and so-called Blue Dog Coalition of fiscally conservative Democrats who support the pro-business policies.
She pushed for more troops to guard the US-Mexico border and close for a path to legalization that would require illegal immigrants to criminal background checks, pay back taxes and learning English.
U.S. Federal Judge John Roll of Arizona has also been affected, according to the Department of Homeland Security.
President Barack Obama has condemned the attack as an “unspeakable tragedy”, adding: “Such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.”
House Republican John Boehner Speaker said he was “horrified” by the attack.
“Acts of violence and threats against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with the Congress Giffords, its staff, all who were injured and their families. It is a day sad for our country, “he said in a statement.
Senior Democratic Representative Nancy Pelosi condemned the attack.
“It is with deep sadness that we received word of the attack on Congress Gabrielle Giffords, members of his staff and his constituents,” she said in a statement.
“This terrible act of violence is a national tragedy, and today is a very sad day for our country.”
The shooting took place less than a week after Congress reconvened with Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and with a strengthened minority in the Senate after their term of Democrats to Obama in the November elections.
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