PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Local members of Congress are speaking out after a tragic shooting in Arizona on Saturday left several people dead and a Congresswoman critically injured.
The incident happened at a Safeway grocery store in Tucson around 10:15 a.m.
United States Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was hosting an event at the supermarket when the shots rang out. She suffered a gunshot wound to the head and was rushed into surgery.
U.S. Rep. Mike Doyle, of Forest Hills, serves on the Steering and Policy Committee with Giffords. He said that he had just sat down with her on Friday.
“That was the last time I saw her and that was just yesterday,” said Doyle. “To see she’s already back in Arizona, setting up shop in a shopping center, basically working on a Saturday to meet constituents and see if she could be helpful to them, and this happens to her. It’s sad.”
According to doctors in Arizona, the bullet that hit Giffords went in one side of her head and out the other.
The victims of the shooting include John Roll who is a federal judge, as well as an aide to Giffords and a 9-year-old girl. Many of those who were wounded remain in critical or serious condition.
KDKA Political Editor Jon Delano reports that Roll was born in Pittsburgh back in 1947 and was appointed in 1991 by President George H.W. Bush to serve as a judge.
“Just a couple years ago, he allowed a lawsuit by illegal immigrants against a rancher in Arizona. He permitted the lawsuit to go ahead, brought by illegals, and that brought the whole talk show-radio community down upon him,” said Delano. “He had to have four marshals protecting him over the last year or so, but those marshals had been withdrawn.”
Authorities say the gunman was captured shortly after the shooting. He is being identified as 22-year-old Jared Loughner, of Tucson.
Giffords often held meetings on Saturday mornings when she was in town to hear concerns of those in her district. The event was called “Congresswoman on Your Corner.”
Giffords had also been the target of anger in the past; her office was vandalized after she voted in favor of the healthcare bill last March.
President Obama has sent the director of the FBI to Arizona to oversee the investigation into the shooting.
Meanwhile, Giffords fellow members of Congress remain in a state of shock following the violent incident.
“There’s a lot of shock and subdued feelings among members and we certainly want to find out… the first thing is to make sure she’s okay and her staff is okay and that her family is okay, and not draw any conclusions about what happened or why it happened,” said U.S. Rep. Tim Murphy, of Upper St. Clair. “Really, at this phase, it’s really all the thoughts are about her and her family and what’s best for them.”