California's officials deplore congresswoman shooting

12:41, January 09, 2011      

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U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ), who was shot during an appearance in Tucson, Arizona is seen in an undated handout photo provided by her Congressional office in Washington, January 8, 2011. Giffords was shot in the head while holding a public event in Tucson, Arizona on January 8, 2011. Giffords, 40, a Democrat, is married to U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly. She took office in January 2007, emphasizing issues such as immigration reform, embryonic stem-cell research, alternative energy sources and a higher minimum wage. (Xinhua/Reuters Photo)

Newly sworn-in California Governor Jerry Brown, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other local officials expressed sadness and anger over the attempted assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday morning in Tucson, Arizona.

Gov. Brown said he was "deeply saddened to learn of the shooting of congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others in Tucson this morning."

"Today is a very sad day for all those who have devoted their lives to public service, regardless of affiliation or ideology," Mayor Villaraigosa said in a statement.

"The vicious attack on Gabby and her constituents is nothing less than a despicable attack on all of us and our democracy," Rep. Xavier Becerra(D-Los Angeles) said.

Rep. Judy Chu (D-El Monte) said, "No matter one's political leanings, attacks on public officials and citizens based on differences of opinion are unconscionable and go against everything our great nations stands for."

Neurosurgeons at the University Medical Center in Tucson who operated on Giffords were all hopeful she would recover, Dr. Peter Rhee said during a news briefing at the hospital.

Giffords was following commands, a good sign, he said.

The bullet entered one side of Gifford's head and exited the other after passing through her brain. "She was shot one time in the head through and through," Rhee said.

Giffords, 40, was shot at close range by the shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner when she was participating in her first public event after being narrowly re-elected to a third term over a candidate backed by the Tea Party.

Six people, including U.S. District Judge John Roll, a Giffords aide and a 9-year-old girl were killed and 12 others were wounded during the shooting spree.

The suspect is said to be a military veteran and used a pistol with "an extended clip." He was shot at by a man among the crowd and was taken into custody, the U.S. Capitol Police said.

The shooter had reportedly posted rambling "convoluted observations about government" on the Internet, according to cable news network CNN.

A moderate Democrat, Giffords serves the Eighth Congressional District, which includes a 114-mile (182 km) stretch of the U.S. border with Mexico.

Last year, Giffords had been harassed over her support for healthcare reform, but a motive for the attack has not been revealed.

She was re-elected to her third term last November. During last year's campaign, Giffords touted her efforts to push the Obama administration to deploy National Guard troops to the border and for playing an instrumental role in securing 600 million U.S. dollars in funding to add more technology and Border Patrol agents.

Giffords opposed SB 1070, the state's new controversial immigration law which makes it illegal for aliens being in the United States without proper papers, calling it "divisive" and supported instead comprehensive immigration reform at the national level, local newspaper Arizona Republic reported.

Giffords was a member of the Arizona House and Senate before coming to Washington.

Source: Xinhua
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