Six Dead, 13 Wounded in Arizona Shooting; Congresswoman Griffords Shot in Head; Surgeons Optimistic

by Tony Rutherford HuntingtonNews.Net Reporter
TUSCON, ARIZ (HNN) - A troubled 22-year-old man has been arrested in connection with the Saturday morning shooting rampage at a Tuscon, Ariz. Safeway grocery store. Fox News and MSNBC have stated law enforcement officers are also searching for a second suspect. National Public Radio stated the suspect is a 50-year-old man

As of 1:10 a.m. Sunday morning, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords clings to life after she was shot point blank in the head. Saturday afternoon following surgery, physicians were “optimistic” about her recovery. At that time she was reported as “responsive.” Following surgery, media outlets have reported her as in critical condition, unconscious and with brain swelling.

Also killed in the volley of shots at the Griffords constituent meeting was Federal Judge John Roll. Judge Roll had presided over a $32 million civil rights suit filed by illegal immigrants. Roll ruled the suit against an Arizona rancher could go forward in federal court. Others who died included Gabriel Zimmerman (30), community outreach director for the Congresswoman; Dorothy Murray (76); Dorwin Stoddard (76); Phyllis Schneck (79) and Christina Greene (9).

Thirteen people were wounded when the shots rang out. The suspect was tackled by two bystanders which stopped the fire from his automatic weapon.

Pima County, Ariz. Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described the suspect in custody as mentally unstable and susceptible to divisive political rhetoric of prejudice and bigotry . The suspect had previously posted You Tube videos in which he stated, "I can't trust the current government because of fabrications. The government is implying mind control and brainwash on the people by controlling grammar."

Prior to last year’s health care vote, the Congresswoman’s office had been vandalized. Ironically, during her re-election, the blue dog Democrat’s opponent, Republican Jesse Kelly (a former Marine who served in Iraq) held fundraisers in which he urged the Congresswoman’s removal holding a loaded M-16.

During an interview with MSNBC after her office was vandalized, Giffords noted that her district was on Sarah Palin's "crosshairs" list of targeted congressional races. MSNBC reported that in 2009, Judge Roll and his wife received 24-hour protection for at least a month after receiving death threats after certifying a multimillion-dollar lawsuit illegal immigrants had filed against an Arizona rancher.

President Barrack Obama issued the following statement Saturday afternoon:

This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tucson, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.  And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded.

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.