Another shocking tragedy for the history books

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Shooting rampage in Arizona leaves six dead, a congresswoman and several others injured


What a tragedy! A 22-year-old gunman on a shooting rampage in Tucson, Arizona killed six people, injured 13 others, and left a congresswoman – now in intensive care – fighting for her life in Tucson’s University Medical Center.

Jared Loughner, described as a troubled individual, a social outcast and loner, shot Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the head at close range at a “meet and greet” where a crowd had gathered to meet the congresswoman. Although doctors are optimistic about Giffords’ recovery, she remains in critical condition.

Among the dead were a federal judge (U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63; Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, a congressional aide to Giffords, and a nine-year-old girl (Christina Taylor Green), a third grader and the daughter of John Green, a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the granddaughter of former big league Pitcher Dallas Green.    

After hearing of the shootings in Arizona and on Congresswoman Giffords, President Barack Obama stated: “We are going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to get through this.” He assigned FBI Director Robert S. Mueller, III to investigate the shootings.

In a statement on the FBI web site, Mueller expressed his “condolences to the families and friends of Representative Gabrielle Giffords, Judge John Roll, and the other victims of this senseless tragedy.

“This was an attack not only against dedicated public servants, but against our fellow citizens…one being a child who was there to learn more about how our government works…and other members of the community who were meeting with their elected officials for the first time, or who were simply running errands on what otherwise would have been an ordinary weekend. This was an attack on our institutions and our way of life.”


What President Obama said (full transcript):

As many of you are aware, earlier today a number of people were shot in Tucson, Arizona, including several who were meeting at a supermarket with their congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords.  We are still assembling all the facts, but we know that Representative Giffords was one of the victims.  She is currently at a hospital in the area, and she is battling for her life.

We also know that at least five people lost their lives in this tragedy.  Among them were a federal judge, John Roll, who has served America’s legal system for almost 40 years; and a young girl who was barely nine years old.

I’ve spoken to Arizona governor Jan Brewer and offered the full resources of the federal government.  A suspect is currently in custody, but we don’t yet know what provoked this unspeakable act.  A comprehensive investigation is currently underway, and at my direction, Director Bob Mueller is en route to Arizona to help coordinate these efforts.  I’ve also spoken to the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House.

Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine.  She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring.  She is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her constituents.  Her husband, Mark Kelly, is a Navy captain and one of America’s valiant astronauts. 

It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does — listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors.  That is the essence of what our democracy is all about.  That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved.  It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.

What Americans do at times of tragedy is to come together and support each other.  So at this time I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping all the victims and their families, including Gabby, in our thoughts and prayers.  Those who have been injured, we are rooting for them.  And I know Gabby is as tough as they come, and I am hopeful that she’s going to pull through.

Obviously our hearts go out to the family members of those who have been slain.  We are going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to get through this.  But in the meantime, I think all of us need to make sure that we’re offering our thoughts and prayers to those concerned.


Vice President Joseph Biden’s statement on the shooting rampage:

“…The horrific attack in Tucson, Arizona, this morning has taken the lives of at least five people, including a federal judge and a young girl, and left many others wounded, among them a dear friend, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Gabby is one of the finest members of Congress I know. She is a principled leader and a consensus-builder. She has spent her time in office working her heart out to improve the lives of the people she represents. And she loves her husband and family above all else. On this tragic day, Jill and I are praying for Gabby’s recovery, and we hold her family in our hearts.

Chief Judge John Roll was a dedicated jurist whose death is a terrible loss to Arizona and to the country.

We do not yet know the motivation behind these shootings. But what we do know is that there is simply no justification, no rationale for such senseless and appalling violence in our society.

Please join Jill and me in praying for each of today’s victims and for their families and loved ones.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s statement: 

“Today’s tragedy in Arizona was a senseless act of violence that has already resulted in devastating loss, including the death of Chief United States District Court Judge John Roll and four other individuals and the wounding of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and a number of others.  All of those who were killed or injured and their families are in our thoughts and prayers.

“As the President said, FBI Director Mueller is traveling to Arizona to help coordinate the investigation.  The FBI is working jointly with local law enforcement to investigate today’s events, and I have directed Department prosecutors and law enforcement officials to use every resource necessary to investigate this tragedy.  I want to assure the people of Arizona and every American that we will hold accountable anyone responsible for these heinous acts.”

Statement of U.S. Senator Mark Kirk (R-IL) on the Arizona Shooting 

“This shooting was a senseless attack on a Congresswoman I know well, Gabby Giffords.  She is a fellow alumni of Cornell University, married a Navy astronaut and inherited my Longworth Building House office after I left for the Senate. We worked together on US-China relations as part of the U.S.-China Working Group and she is a thoughtful, effective legislator who I enjoy working with in Congress. We take this attack on the Congresswoman very seriously and will work with Capitol Police federal law enforcement to contemplate security measures which ensure that decisions made by Americans through elections cannot be changed or threatened by violence.

I commend the heroes who tackled the gunman and pray for the victims and loved ones suffering as a result of this despicable act.”

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