Breaking: Congresswoman, five others shot in Tucson, AZ; Update: NPR reports six dead; Update: Federal judge dead; Update: Gunman identified; Update: Giffords expected to pull through; Update: Gunman may have left video manifesto; Update: “Very disturbed,” says shooter’s classmate

posted at 1:20 pm on January 8, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

This is just awful:

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot outside a grocery store in Tucson while holding a public event, an eyewitness reported Saturday.

Giffords, who was re-elected to her third term in November, was hosting her first “Congress on Your Corner” event at the Safeway in northwest Tucson when a gunman ran up and started shooting. At least five other people, including members of her staff, were hurt, according to Peter Michaels, news director of Arizona Public Media.

Giffords has been taken to a hospital in Tucson, but at least so far her condition is not known.  Bystanders apparently tackled the gunman after he tried to run away, and kudos to their bravery.   There is no word on who the gunman is or why he opened fire on the public event.

Prayers go out for Giffords, the other victims, and their families for a full recovery.  I’ll update as more details are known.

Update: NPR has updated its initial report to say that nine people were injured.  Still no word on Giffords’ condition.

Update II: Same link – NPR now reporting Giffords and six others have died in the attack.  Horrible.

Update (AP): An eyewitness at the scene describes the shooter to Gawker:

The gunman was young, mid-to-late 20s, white, clean-shaven with short hair and wearing dark clothing and said nothing during the shooting or while being held down, although he struggled at first. He didn’t look like a businessman, but more of a “fringe character,” Rayle said. The sheriff’s department arrived, arrested the gunman and cordoned off the parking lot.

Update (Ed): Via Twitter, KOLD reports that Giffords is still in surgery.  Let’s hope she pulls through.

Update (AP): I haven’t seen the report myself, but word on Twitter is that CNN claims the gunman is 21 years old.

Update (AP): Amazingly good news: An Arizona state senator at the hospital tells Fox News that she’s responding to commands and that she was shot in the temple but the bullet exited somehow. Too early to tell on her long-term prognosis, obviously, but she’s made it through surgery.

Update (AP): Federal judge John Roll was at the event and reportedly wounded, but Fox News just broke in to say that he’s been killed. He was appointed by Bush 41.

Update (AP): The gunman has been identified as 22-year-old Jared Laughner.

Update (AP): Wonderful news on a horrible day: Reportedly, doctors are expecting Giffords to “pull through.”

Update (AP): If this is true, the “lone nut” theory is out the window:

UPDATE: Police arrest man near Thornydale and Magee Roads who is suspected of being connected to the shooting of Giffords and others. A third man is being sought.

Update (AP): A surgeon at the hospital is giving a presser now; he says he’s “very optimistic” that Giffords will make it. Five victims are critical (including Giffords) and five are stable. One victim died at the hospital — a nine-year-old child.

Update (AP): Exercise caution since names can be mistaken, but I’m getting multiple tips that this YouTube channel — created by “Jared Lee Loughner” — could be the gunman’s. There are three manifesto-type clips there; the one below is called “Final Thoughts” and was posted last month. As Jon Henke said on Twitter, he sounds like an anarchist, complaining about “currency that’s not backed by gold and silver” and how “you don’t have to accept the federalist laws.”

Here’s a second clip. The guy, unsurprisingly, sounds like a crank. But what of the other suspects?

Here’s the third and last clip, mumbling about being a “mind controller.”

Update (Ed): KOLD identifies the suspect as Jared Lee Loughner, same as the YouTube channel.

A 22-year-old man is in custody in connection with the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Jared Lee Loughner is being held after Giffords was shot Saturday at an event in Tucson.

Multiple search warrants are being served in the investigation, said Pima County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Rick Kastigar.

Not sure whether anyone can determine any sort of political inclinations from the above insanity; sounds like an anti-government, anti-religion nutcase, but even that’s giving the “conscience dreamer” too much credit for coherence.

Update (AP): Here’s a list of favorite books from Loughner’s YouTube profile. One is by Ayn Rand, a few others are even more famous:

I had favorite books: Animal Farm, Brave New World, The Wizard Of OZ, Aesop Fables, The Odyssey, Alice Adventures Into Wonderland, Fahrenheit 451, Peter Pan, To Kill A Mockingbird, We The Living, Phantom Toll Booth, One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest, Pulp,Through The Looking Glass, The Communist Manifesto, Siddhartha, The Old Man And The Sea, Gulliver’s Travels, Mein Kampf, The Republic, and Meno.

Update (AP): There’s one other video on Loughner’s YouTube page — not a clip that he created, but one created by someone else which he “favorited.” It’s of a flag-burning.

Update (Ed): Lots of tweets and a couple of e-mails about testimony from a young woman who claimed to know the suspect and his political leanings, but there’s not much point in pursuing that.  She claims she last saw him in 2007, so the data would be marginal at best even if there was some confirmation of it, which there isn’t.  As I tweeted earlier, assuming that the YouTube channel does belong to the suspect, it would indicate someone from neither Left nor Right but from outer space, and almost undeniably mentally ill.

Update (AP): Loughner has reportedly told police that he acted alone, which is no surprise given the tenor of the YouTube videos. Still no word on what happened to the second (and third?) suspect, though. As for Giffords, while doctors are hopeful she’ll survive, the recovery obviously won’t be easy. The bullet passed through her brain, reportedly entering through the temple and exiting through her forehead.

Update (AP): Looks like the earlier info about a second suspect was bad. From Fox News: “Police reportedly had also arrested a second suspect, however law enforcement official told Fox News they believe Loughner acted alone after a ‘preliminary search’ for a second suspect turned up no one.”

Update (AP): I suspect this story’s going to shift very quickly from an “ideological nutjob” narrative to one about an obviously ill man not getting the help he needed.

A former classmate of Loughner at Pima Community College said he was “obviously very disturbed.”

“He disrupted class frequently with nonsensical outbursts,” said Lynda Sorenson, who took a math class with Loughner last summer at Pima Community College’s Northwest campus.

Sorenson doesn’t recall if he ever made any threats or uttered political statements but he was very disruptive, she said. He was asked to leave the pre-algebra class several times and eventually was barred from class, said Sorenson, a Tucson resident.


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