According to multiple reports, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot in the head by an unidentified gunman while at a public speaking event in Tucson, Arizona.
At least six people are reported dead, along with many others wounded. According to the press, an unnamed federal judge was among the wounded and has died.
Early reports indicated that Rep. Giffords had also died but those reports were apparently in error; she is now reported to be alive but in critical condition. The gunman is reportedly in custody.
Rep. Giffords is a member of the House Armed Services Committee and the only member of Congress married to an active-duty servicemember: her husband, Navy Captain Mark Kelly, has piloted space shuttles Endeavor and Discovery.
UPDATE: An NBC affiliate has identified Chief Judge John M. Roll as the assassinated federal judge. Chief Judge Roll was appointed to the federal bench in 1991 by former President George H.W. Bush. Roll received death threats last year when he allowed a civil rights lawsuit filed by illegal immigrants to proceed against an Arizona rancher.
UPDATE: Further press reports have identified the shooter as Jared Laughner, who is reportedly in his early 20s and an Afghan war vet. Other reports have spelled the shooter’s name as “Loughner.”
UPDATE: According to CNN, Rep. Giffords’ doctor says she remains in critical condition following surgery, but he is “very optimistic” about her eventual recovery.
UPDATE: Local media reports say Rep. Giffords was shot “through and through” with a 9mm Glock pistol. She apparently regained consciousness following surgery and was able to recognize her husband, Navy CAPT Mark Kelly, and to speak to people in her hospital room. Former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona, now a professor at the University of Arizona in Tucson, described her head wound as “devastating,” but would not elaborate.
In addition to Chief Judge Roll, five other people were killed: 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, who was born on 11 Sept 2001; Gabe Zimmerman, 30; Dorothy Murray, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Schneck, 79.