Update: Rep. Giffords "holding her own," but critical

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

/ Credit: AP Photo

LAST UPDATED January 10 at 10:03 a.m.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was "holding her own" Monday morning after being shot through the head at an outdoor event to meet constituents two days earlier, but doctors - while optimistic - warn she is still in critical condition and her road to recovery will be long.Giffords, 40, remained in intensive care at a Tucson hospital.


UPDATED January 9 at 11:38 p.m.

The city of Tucson is in mourning....with businesses flying their flags at half staff to remember the victims of Saturday's deadly shooting spree.

Representative Gabrielle Giffords may have been among the dead....if not for the quick thinking of her Congressional intern Daniel Hernandez.

"The first thing I did was to sit her up so she wasn't slumped over in any danger of breathing in her own blood. The next thing I did was to apply pressure to her wound to stem the flow of blood," said Hernandez.

Giffords is in intensive care on a ventilator-- and has responded to commands from doctors.

"We are still, still in critical condition. Brain swelling at any time can take a turn for the worse. But I am cautiously optimistic," said Chief of Neurosugery Michael Lamol.

The suspect- identified as 22 year old Jared Loughner- faces five federal charges....including attempted assasination of a Congressperson and two counts of first degree murder.

He's in FBI custody, and could face the death penalty for the attack that terrorized a Tucson grocery store.

Outside the hospital where victims are recovering.....a memorial is growing. People are leaving candles, flowers and signs.

The congregation at the church attended by 9 year old Christina Green remembered her Sunday morning.

She was born on 9/11....and wanted to meet Giffords after she was elected to the student council.

"We're at a loss for words, you can never prepare yourself for losing a child," John Green

Investigators say Loughner targeted a safe at his home, they found a letter the Congresswoman sent him in 2007, thanking him for attending an event.

And an envelope...that had the phrases "I planned ahead", "my assasination" and "Giffords" written on it.

Loughner makes his first court appearance Monday afternoon in Phoenix.

Investigators have cleared a second man who was called a person of interest.

He turned out to be cab driver who dropped off Loughner at the grocery store.


UPDATED January 9 at 2:00 p.m.

In Tucson, Arizona, Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) remains heavily sedated and in critical condition at the UMC University Hospital, Sunday (1/9).Dr. Michael Lemole Chief of Neurosurgery stated that he is very encouraged that Giffords is able to respond to commands given by the doctors.The accused gunman, identified as 22 - year old Jared Loughner, is in custody.Six people died and 13 others were injured when Loughner allegedly opened fire as Giffords held a meet and greet with constituents outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Saturday (1/8).Among the dead are an aide to the Congresswoman, a nine-year-old girl and U.S. District Judge John Roll.

As Giffords fights for her life at University Medical Center in Tucson, supporters continue to drop by to show their support.There are flowers, candles, photographs on the lawn outside of the hospital - and the display keeps growing.


UPDATED January 8 at 11:00 p.m.

U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was in critical condition Saturday after being shot in the head during a shooting rampage in Tucson, but hospital officials were cautiously optimistic about her chances for survival.Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head during a meeting with constituents. Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said authorities believe she was the target and that there was no security at the event. One suspect, a 22-year-old man, was in custody and Arizona authorities are seeking a "person of interest" that may have been involved in the attack.The shooting rampage claimed six lives, including a 9-year-old child and U.S. District Judge John Roll, officials said. Thirteen more were wounded at the scene, including Giffords. Five were listed in critical condition and five were in serious condition. All had come out of surgery by Saturday evening.Giffords was one of those in critical condition, but Dr. Peter Rhee, trauma director at the University of Arizona, said he was "about as optimistic as I can get in this situation" that she will recover.Dr. Richard Carmona, a former U.S. surgeon general who lives in Tucson and knows Giffords, said she suffered a "very devastating wound.""The surgeons I spoke to are cautiously optimistic. I looked at the CT and MRI and know the surgery done," he said. "We are guardedly optimisim. I hope she will survive."


UPDATED January 8 at 5:22 p.m. ET

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., was shot in the head and an aide was killed Saturday when an assailant opened fire in an area where the lawmaker was meeting with constituents, officials said.

Also killed in the shooting rampage was U.S. District Judge John Roll, the U.S. Marshal for Arizona David Gonzales confirmed.

A young child approximately 9-years-old was also killed, according to a hospital spokesperson.

Giffords is in critical condition from a gunshot to the head, but the spokesperson said he was "about as optimistic as I can get in this situation" that she will recover.

Initial reports by CBS Affiliate KOLD that the Congresswoman was among the fatalities were corrected by her press people, who told KOLD that she is alive but in emergency surgery.

"She is currently in surgery. She is still alive," said Darcy Slaten, Public Affairs, University Medical Center in Tucson.

Hospital spokespeople said Giffords is in critical condition. Eight other patients also at hospital are in critical or serious condition.

The assailant sprayed bullets into an area where the Democratic lawmaker was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a Safeway supermarket.

Police said the suspect, Jared Loughner, 22, has had one minor run-in with the law. Little information is known immediately about Laughner - such as his background or a possible motive in the attack.

Police said a pistol with an extended magazine was used.

A law enforcement source told CBS News that a man apparently stood up in the crowd during the town hall meeting, shouted something and then opened fire. Someone - possibly police or security - then shot at the gunman.

The gunman has been apprehended but it is unknown if he was wounded.

A Federal law enforcement source tells CBS News that the suspect was born in 1988. No name yet being released. He is talking to authorities, but there is no evidence at this point that there is any other shooter involved.

The FBI and local law enforcement are investigating the attack.

Members of Congress do not have Secret Service protection. They are protected by U.S. Capitol Police on the Hill, but they have to provide their own security - if any - in their home districts.

President Obama said this afternoon that the shooting was "a tragedy for Arizona, and a tragedy for our entire country."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., released a statement saying he was "horrified by the violent attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and many other innocent people by a wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion. I pray for Gabby and the other victims, and for the repose of the souls of the dead and comfort for their families.

"Whoever did this, whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race, and they deserve and will receive the contempt of all decent people and the strongest punishment of the law," he said.

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer described herself as "heartbroken," and called the congresswoman a "noble public servant."

She also ordered state flags be lowered to half-staff to honor those killed.

Giffords, 40, who just started her third term in Congress, was reelected in November after defeating Republican and Tea Party favorite Jesse Kelly by a margin 49 percent to 47 percent.

A moderate Democrat, Giffords has drawn the ire of the right, especially for her support of the health care bill. Shortly following her vote in favor of the health care reform law last March, her office in Tucson was vandalized, leaving the front door smashed.

Giffords was also in news this year for being one of three Democrats who received a donation from liberal MSNBC host Keith Olbermann , which led to a short suspension for the host from the cable channel.

Following her swearing-in on Wednesday, the congresswoman introduced a bill to cut congressional salaries by five percent. Giffords was also among 19 Democrats who voted for someone other than Nancy Pelosi in Wednesday's vote for House Speaker. (She voted for Georgia Democrat John Lewis.)

She also participated in Thursday's reading of the Constitution on the House floor . She read the First Amendment, saying: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof, or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or of the of the people peacably to assemble, and to petition the government for the redress of grievances."

According to her office, the "Congress on Your Corner" events allows residents of her district "to meet their congresswoman one-on-one and discuss with her any issue, concern or problem involving the federal government." Her office says she has hosted "numerous" events since taking office in 2007.

Giffords' husband is Mark Kelly, an astronaut who is scheduled to command the Shuttle Endeavor when it launches in April. Her brother-in-law, Scott Kelly, is in charge of and currently aboard the International Space Station.

This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tucson, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded.

We do not yet have all the answers. 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.

- Washington (AP) -- President Barack Obama's statement


"When public servants and innocent civilians are struck down at a public event, a shudder goes through the hearts of all Americans. This news is nothing short of a tragedy. My thoughts are with Congresswoman Giffords and all of the families affected by this terrible turn of events."

- Statement from Senator Tom Harkin (D-IA)


"This shooting was a senseless attack on a Congresswoman I know well, Gabby Giffords. She is a fellow alumni of Cornell University, married a Navy astronaut and inherited my Longworth Building House office after I left for the Senate. We worked together on US-China relations as part of the U.S.-China Working Group and she is a thoughtful, effective legislator who I enjoy working with in Congress. We take this attack on the Congresswoman very seriously and will work with Capitol Police federal law enforcement to contemplate security measures which ensure that decisions made by Americans through elections cannot be changed or threatened by violence.

I commend the heroes who tackled the gunman and pray for the victims and loved ones suffering as a result of this despicable act."

- Statement from Senator Mark Kirk


While we still don TMt have all the details, Carolyn and I are praying for Gabby. Our thoughts go out to her husband Mark, her family, her staff and all who know and love her. And I add my deepest condolences to the families of the other victims of this morning's tragic, senseless shooting.

I also should note that Gabby's brother, Alex Giffords, was a placekicker for the Iowa State football team. She gave me a print of Beardshear Hall at Iowa State that I have in my office, which she got from her brother."

- Statement from Congressman Bruce Braley (IA-01)


My thoughts and prayers are with Representative Gabrielle Giffords, her family, her staff and her constituents. I am deeply troubled by this senseless attack on a member of Congress, her staff and the folks in Tucson, Arizona. Violence like this should not and will not be tolerated in our country.

- Statement from U.S. Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer (MO-9)