Obama calls Arizona shooting national tragedy, sends FBI chief

12:28, January 09, 2011      

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U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday condemned the mass shooting in the southwest state of Arizona, calling it a "tragedy for our entire country."

He said he has sent FBI chief Robert Mueller to coordinate the investigation.

In a three-minute statement delivered in the state dining room in the White House, Obama said U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in the attack, was still battling for her life, and the motive of the attack remained unknown. He said he's hopeful that Giffords will "pull through."

He said five people have been confirmed dead in the incident, including a girl barely 9 years old and Federal Judge John Roll.

Obama said a "comprehensive investigation" is currently underway, and he has ordered FBI Director Robert Mueller to go to Arizona and coordinate the investigation.

According to the White House, Obama learned of the shooting from Homeland Security Advisor John Brennan a little after 1:20 p. m. Eastern time.

The president was then briefed by Mueller, Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, Attorney General Eric Holder, and a number of senior White House officials. Obama asked Mueller to travel to Arizona to personally oversee the coordination of the investigation.

Obama then made a number of phone calls regarding the incident. He called Giffords' husband Mark Kelly, whom he left a message for. The others he called include Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, House Speaker John Boehner, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi and Steny Hoyer. He expressed his deep concern and updated all of them on the latest information.

The shooting took place in Tucson, Arizona. A 22-year-old man, identified as Jared Loughner, opened fire at a meeting the three- term U.S. Representative was holding. Giffords, who was shot in the head point blank, is a moderate Democrat who is outspoken on immigration issues.

Source: Xinhua
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