Gabrielle Giffords, Congresswoman, Staunch Space-Supporter Shot

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been shot.

Congresswoman and wife of STS-134 commander Mark Kelly Gabrielle Giffords was, along with several others, shot and injured today at an event outside of a grocery store in Tucson called ‘Congress on Your Corner.’ She was the intended target; a gunman ran up and shot her in the head and then began shooting indiscriminately into the crowd. Several people have been reported as killed, one of whom was said to be a child. As of 3:19 p.m. CST EDT Giffords has been ‘gravely wounded’ and some erroneous reports have stated that she has already died from her wounds.

President Obama was quoted on CNN as to the status of the Congresswoman after many reports had stated that she had died. Six people are currently being listed as killed – but Giffords has not been listed among them.

Giffords has been a staunch supporter of space flight, not only distancing herself from plans for NASA proposed by President Obama, but during the previous Congress as Chairwoman of the House Science & Technology Space Subcommittee she worked in a bipartisan manner with current Space Subcommittee Chairman Olson to defeat the President’s proposal to outsource human space flight to commercial launchers. Giffords has fought strongly to ensure that the U.S. has a strong manned space flight program.

After the shooting a bystander tackled the gunman. This story is ongoing, currently astronaut Mark Kelly is on his way to his Tucson. Kelly was more than likely training for his upcoming flight (Kelly is the commander of STS-134, the final flight of the space shuttle Endeavour scheduled to launch this April).

Giffords had received death threats regarding her stance on health care reform, but it is unknown if this was related to that. On AmericaSpace itself, the vitriol exuded in comments by those resulted in such being deleted.

AmericaSpace Note: Our prayers go out to Rep. Giffords and her husband for her speedy recovery. She is a valued part of the community who keeps a watchful eye to ensure that our nation maintains its leadership in space and elsewhere.

Update 3:25 PM CST:

According to KGUN9,

“Officials at University Medical Center have confirmed that U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords is alive. She is out of surgery. Doctors are optimistic about her chances of recovery.

Dr. Peter Rhee of University of Medical center told reporters at 2:00 PM Saturday that ten patients have been brought to the hospital. Of those, one is dead, five are in surgery and the rest are in recovery. The five in surgery are in critical condition.”

Update 3:45 PM CST: According to KVOA, the suspect in the Giffords’ shooting is 22-year old Jared Laughner. According to the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein, Laughner is an anti-government zealot One young girl and U.S. District Judge John Roll are among the dead from today’s attack. According to Huff Post, President Obama said that FBI Director Mueller is en route to Arizona to coordinate the investigation into Giffords’ shooting.

Update 4:02 PM CST: According to Huff Post, the suspected shooter’s name is Jared Lee Loughner, not Laughner. According to the Tuscson Citizen, a second man has been arrested and a third is sought.

Update 4:20 PM CST: azcentral.com and the Arizona Republic have a Twitter stream, azcentral, that is keeping up solid updates on the Giffords’ shooting.

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