[DEVELOPING COVERAGE. LATEST UPDATES ADDED AT BOTTOM OF ITEM.]
Three-term Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot "point blank" in the head at a town hall event in Tucson, along with
11 17 18 19 others according to news report. The "Congress on Your Corner" event was at a Safeway grocery store.
After initial reports that Giffords had been killed, a hospital spokesman confirmed that she is alive, and that he was "optimistic" that Giffords would recover following surgery. He said she was shot "through and through...from one side of the head through the other, through the brain." [See below for updated reports as they are occurring.]
Late reports now have six dead, including federal judge John M. Roll and a 9-year old girl.
12 13 14 others were injured, many faced emergency surgery and are were in both critical and serious condition.
The alleged shooter is now been reported as 22-year old Jared Lee Loughner. He was wrestled to the ground by two people during the incident and is now in police custody. More on him, including his bizarre Youtube page, below.
Giffords' husband is NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, set to command the Shuttle Endeavor scheduled for launch on April 1. His twin brother, Scott, also an astronaut, is currently on the International Space Station.
Giffords had reportedly been threatened after the health care vote last year, and had seen shots fired at her office. She also appeared as one of a number of Congressmembers "targeted" for replacement on Sarah Palin's map, where districts were highlighted with a gun sight.
On March 25, 2010, after Gifford --- a former Republican, now a Blue Dog Democrat --- was placed on Palin's target list, she had this to say about the increasing rise in violent political rhetoric:
Many more details, updated throughout the day, follow below. LATEST REPORTS AT BOTTOM...