Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been shot at a townhall meeting in Tucson, Arizona. Several other attendees, including a federal judge supposedly, were wounded or killed.
Details are still emerging, but it appears that the Congresswoman was shot in the head at close range. She is currently in critical condition at a local hospital and undergoing surgery.
Congresswoman Giffords is a member of the Congressional LGBT Caucus. She had just been re-elected to a third term in a tight race against a teabagger. A former Republican, the Congresswoman is part of the Blue Dog coalition of more conservative Democrats.
She was the frequent target of harassment and intimidation by the right because of her vote in favor of healthcare reform. Sarah Palin has targeted Rep Giffords on a virtual hitlist over her vote; Palin has now removed the graphic of Congresswoman Giffords in Tea Party crosshairs that was published on her Sarah PAC website.
Statement from President Obama after the jump. I'll add others as they come in.
STATEMENT BY THE PRESIDENT
This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tuscon, 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.
Statement by Sarah Palin
My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona.
On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.
Human Rights Campaign
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, today reacted to the tragic shooting involving U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. HRC President Joe Solmonese released the following statement:
"We are shocked and saddened by the events involving Congresswoman Giffords and our hearts go out to her and the other victims of this awful tragedy. Gabby Giffords is a champion for LGBT equality and a principled leader for Arizona. We wish her a speedy recovery as our thoughts and prayers are with her family as well as with the families of all of those touched by today's horrific violence."
The Human Rights Campaign is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
"We at National Stonewall Democrats are shocked at the news of the shooting involving Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (AZ-8)," said NSD Executive Director Michael Mitchell. "We know that an act like this affects an entire community and we are holding all the parties affected in our thoughts and prayers at this incredibly difficult time."
"Many members of the Southern Arizona Stonewall Democrats have worked on Rep. Giffords' campaigns and were close with her and her staff, so this is a horrible day for us, especially considering that today was the Arizona Democratic Party reorganizing meeting and, by law, we had to continue with the meeting after word of the shooting came to us," said Les Krambeal of the SASD. "We're devastated by what happened."
"There's something particularly gut-wrenching when an act of violence like this is committed against public servants, their staff and/or other folks participating in a constituent event," continued Mitchell. "Violence of this type has no place in a civil, democratic society.
"There will be people who try to isolate this deplorable act as a singular incident unconnected to the surge in gun-infused rhetoric we've seen from the Tea Party - from Sarah Palin, no less - and the rest of the far Right in the past few years. But words obviously have power and the Left has been verbally attacked as traitors and worse by our own countrymen quite a bit of late. Of course, the vast majority of people on the Right are not violent; but few on the Right have stood up to the racist, homophobic, radical and destructive language that has sullied the national discourse. It's not much of a leap to make the connection that language like that can be twisted into permission to commit violent acts by those who are already on the edge."