From MSNBCÂ News ServicesÂ â€” U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords of ArizonaÂ has been shot,Â and at least six others have died after a gunman sprayed bullets into a public meeting on Saturday, Pima County sheriff’s office in Arizona confirmed to National Public Radio.
UPDATE: (12:16 p.m. PST) Conflictng news reports are indicating the Giffords is still alive and in critical condition undergoing surgery for her wound.
A gunman ran up to Giffords, 40, and shot her in the head as she addressed supporters outside a Safeway grocery store, according to media reports.
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.
The Arizona politician’s office had been vandalized last March just hours after the House vote overhauling the health care system, The New York Times reported.
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Â Statement by the President
This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tucson, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.Â And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded.Â
We do not yet have all the answers.Â What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society.Â I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers.