Moments from now, the hospital where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was taken after a point-blank shooting to the head this morning will hold a press conference on the status of the incident. As many as 12 people, perhaps more, have been taken to the hospital. The reports are sketchy and conflicting, but it seems that at least four people have died at the scene, including a federal judge, John McCarthy Roll. Giffords, according to a hospital official, is still alive and in surgery. A local television station reported that Giffords was talking on her way to surgery. Other staffers have been wounded in the attack.
The gunman is in custody after being tackled by a Giffords staffer. He reportedly opened fire with a 9MM Glock.
I’ll give you information from the press conference as I get it.
…I was just at a Democratic event in the Southern California area when I heard about this. Janice Hahn, an LA City Council member who ran for Lt. Governor of California earlier this year, was about 10 feet from me. These officials, from local city councilmembers on up to Congress, basically every political figure below the President and his cabinet, don’t have large security details. They don’t have a security apparatus. And now we’ve seen how vulnerable they are.
…via Judgepedia, Judge Roll, a George H.W. Bush appointee, experienced death threats after a civil rights case in Arizona:
Judge Roll in 2009, faced death threats after presiding over a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit. The lawsuit was filed by illegal immigrants against an Arizona rancher. After Judge Roll ruled the case would be certified, threats came from talk-radio shows which fueled controversy and spurred audiences into making threats against the judge.
The threats materialized after one show, Judge Roll’s name logged more than 200 phone calls as some callers threatened the judge and his family.
This resulted in the judge and his wife were under a protection detail for one month as Judge Roll was given twenty four hours a day, seven days a week security by the US Marshals Service. An US Attorney’s investigation ruled that four men were identified as threat makers, but no charges were filed.
I don’t think that Roll was necessarily the target in this incident, but the context seems worth noting.
…according to MSNBC, Rep. Giffords is “expected to pull through” after surgery.
…Giffords’ district director has died, per CNN.
…Giffords’ office was vandalized during the health care debate. She ended up voting for the bill.
…The press conference is beginning now at the hospital. They’ve received 10 patients, 1 of the ten died, 5 in critical condition, 5 in stable condition. (that’s 11)
The Congresswoman is not deceased, she is in critical condition. Doctor said “I am very optimistic about recovery.” She was shot in the head.
…”I’m about as optimistic as I can get in this situation,” said the doctor. Giffords is out of surgery and under anaesthesia. Would have much more information in the next 24 hours. The dead patient was a 9 year-old child.
…Mayor of Tuscon and Chief of Police now speaking at the press event. Police Chief says that the investigation is ongoing with the Pima County Sheriff Department.
..That’s it for the press conference. The suspect has been identified as Jared Laughner, born 1988.
…The President will come out and speak in about 10 minutes.
…This is apparently a video created by Jared Loughner (that’s the spelling). It’s quite strange.
…several videos from Jared Loughner here.
…President’s address will come up here.
…A picture of the shooter.
…The President is up. “We are still assembling all the facts.” Rep. Giffords “is battling for her life.” At least 5 lost their lives in this tragedy, including John Roll and a young girl who was barely 9 years old. Suspect currently in custody, but we don’t yet know what provoked this unspeakable act. Spoke to Democratic and Republican leaders. Says Gaby Giffords “was a friend of mine,” then changed tense for the rest of the sentence. Not surprising that Gaby was today doing what she always does. This is more than a tragedy for those involved, a tragedy for our country. I ask all Americans to come together and keep all the victims in our thoughts and prayers. I know Gaby is as tough as they come. Hopeful she is going to pull through. We are going to get to the bottom of this.