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Saturday, January 08, 2011

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Shot in Tucson - NYTimes.com

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords Shot in Tucson - NYTimes.com
Gabrielle Giffords, a congresswoman from Arizona, was shot in the head on Saturday at a public event held at a grocery store in Tucson, her spokesman, C. J. Karamargin, said. Others at the event, including members of her staff, were among the injured.

Her condition was unknown. She was taken to University Medical Center in Tucson, the trauma center for the area, about 10 miles away. Even though NPR and CNN reported that she had been killed, Darci Slater, a hospital spokeswoman, said that Ms. Giffords was in surgery.

CNN quoted a public information officer for the sheriff’s office as saying that 12 people had been injured in all and that the shooting had occurred around 10 a.m. local time.

Dr. Steven Rayle, a former emergency room doctor who now works in a hospice, said that he had witnessed the shootings. He said the congresswoman was standing behind a table outside the Safeway greeting passersby when the gunman approached her from behind, held a gun about a foot from her head and began firing.

. “He must have got off 20 rounds,” he said. Ms. Giffords slumped to the ground and staff members immediately rushed to her aid, Dr. Rayle said.

Dr. Rayle said he performed CPR on some of the victims. He said one of the victims was a young child and appeared to be in critical condition with a gunshot wound.

He said that one of the staffers tackled the gunman and that he and others helped detain the suspect. The doctor described the gunman as a white male in his mid-20s with short hair and “dressed in a shabby manner.”

An employee at a nearby store told CNN that he heard a steady stream of gun fire that appeared sustained and “random.” Shortly after, emergency vehicles filled the parking lot around the grocery story and cordoned off the area.

The shooting occurred at a Safeway supermarket in northwest Tucson as Ms. Giffords hosted an event, called “Congress on Your Corner, to allow members of the 8th Congressional District to meet her individually. She has held several events since first taking office in January 2007. At one such event in 2009, a protester was removed by police when his pistol fell on the supermarket floor.

Last March, her Tucson office was vandalized a few hours after the House vote overhauling the nation’s health care system, the authorities said. Earlier events in Tucson, Oro Valley, Green Valley, Sierra Vista, and Douglas had attracted between 75 and 150 people, according to a statement announcing the event. This was her first event since her re-election to a third term in November.

Ms. Giffords, 40, was interviewed on Fox news on Friday to talk about a bill to cut to congressional salaries by 5 percent.

She married Cmdr. Mark E. Kelly, 46, a NASA astronaut and Navy pilot from New Jersey, in December 2007 at a wedding attended by Robert B. Reich, the former Labor secretary.

Marc Lacey contributed reporting from Tucson.

This article has been revised to reflect the following correction:

Correction: January 8, 2011


An earlier version of this article misstated Gabrielle Giffords's condition. While several news reports had said she had died on the scene, a hospital spokeswoman said that the congresswoman was undergoing surgery.

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