Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Wounded in Shooting Spree, Doctor Optimistic About Recovery

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) was shot today during a public appearance at a shopping center in Tucson. The Congresswoman underwent surgery for her wounds, and her surgeon said he was “very optimistic” that she will recover.

MSNBC reports that at least three five people were killed, including U.S. District Court Judge John M. Roll, an aide to Giffords, and a 9-year-old child. An unknown number of wounded people are being treated for injuries at local hospitals. Police have a suspect, Jared Lee Loughner, in custody.

Media reports indicate that Giffords was having a pre-announced meet-and-greet session with constituents outside of a Safeway when the gunman walked up and shot the Congresswoman in the head. Chaos ensued as the gunman continued to shoot others at the gathering. He was reportedly tackled and disarmed by a bystander.

Giffords, 40, was sworn in earlier this week to her third term representing Arizona’s 8th District. She has served on the House Subcommittee on Space and Aeronautics, and she was deeply involved in debates last year over President Obama’s new direction for NASA. Giffords is married to NASA astronaut Mike Kelly, whose twin brother Scott is currently serving as commander of the International Space Station.

My deepest sympathies go out to the families, friends and colleagues of those killed and wounded in this senseless attack. This is a very sad day.

Update: NASA Administrator Charles Bolden issued the following statement Saturday:

“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: The suspect in custody, Jared Lee Loughner, has a YouTube channel with some very odd videos:

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