America is in shock after the tragic shooting attack on US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, a Jew. Giffords was shot in the head at point-blank range during a ‘Congress on the Corner’ event at a local grocery store in Tucson, Arizona.
Six people were killed including Federal District Judge John M. Roll during the town-hall style event. Eighteen others were injured. “Their conditions range from serious to critical,” University Medical Centre spokeswoman Darci Slater said.
Fox News confirmed that a 22-year-old white male named Jared Loughner was taken into custody as the alleged shooter. Police reportedly had also arrested a second suspect.
Congresswoman Giffords was shot in the temple. Her surgeons said they were ‘optimistic’ she would recover but the long-term effect remains to be seen. She is married to U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly, and is known to be a friend of Israel.
Giffords is the grandchild of Akiba Hornstein, the son of a Lithuanian rabbi. Her grandfather changed the family name to Giffords ‘for reasons of anti-Semitism.’
In an article for the Arizona Jewish Post, Congresswoman Giffords wrote, ‘like my grandmother, I am a lifetime member of Hadassah and now a member of the Congregation Chaverim.’
She was a strong advocate for direct talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. She visited Jerusalem, a trip she described as ‘one of the most memorable experiences of my life.’
A Democrat, Giffords is in her third term in office.
President Obama issued a statement, calling the shooting “an unspeakable tragedy.” “We do not yet have all the answers,” he said. “What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers.”
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said, “I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country.”