Gabrielle Giffords speaks at the SpaceVision 2009 conference in Tucson in November 2009 with her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly.
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) was shot this morning outside a grocery store in Tucson, according to multiple media reports. Giffords was hosting an event outside the store when she and a number of other people, including several staff members, were shot by a single assailant. Giffords’s condition is currently unknown, but some reports indicate she was shot in the head. Giffords served as chair of the space subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee in the last Congress and was likely to be the ranking member of the same subcommittee or have a similar role in the new Congress. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is a NASA astronaut.
Update 4:05pm EST: At a press conference at the University Medical Center in Tucson, a surgeon says Giffords is out of surgery and he is “very optimistic” about the prospects for her recovery.
Update 5:20pm EST: NASA administrator Charles Bolden issued the following statement about today’s tragedy, also available on the NASA web site:
> We at NASA are deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless shooting of Representative Giffords and others at Saturday’s public event in Tucson. As a long-time supporter of NASA, Representative Giffords not only has made lasting contributions to our country, but is a strong advocate for the nation’s space program and a member of the NASA family. She also is a personal friend with whom I have had the great honor of working. We at NASA mourn this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her husband Mark Kelly, their family, and the families and friends of all who perished or were injured in this terrible tragedy.
Update 5:40pm EST: Rep. Ralph Hall (R-TX), chair of the House Science, Space and Technology Committee, released this statement through the committee:
> I am shocked and saddened by this terrible news, and my prayers are with Gabrielle, her husband Astronaut Mark Kelly, her family, her staff, and all those who were injured and lost their lives and their families. Gabrielle has so many friends in Congress and is an outstanding Congresswoman for her district and for the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. I have been to her district with her to support solar energy and to the Cape with her to support the Shuttle flights. She is a wonderful person, and our prayers are with her, Captain Kelly, and the families of all the victims of this tragedy.