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At a little before 5 p.m. today, Jan. 8, President Barack Obama addressed the nation regarding today’s shooting of more than a dozen people, including a federal judge, U.S. District Judge John Roll, who was shot and killed and an Arizona congresswoman, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.), who is in critical condition according to the trauma director at the hospital at which she is being treated.
According to a report from Mark Evans at the Tucson Citizen:
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is out of surgery and one of her surgeons said “I’m very optimistic about her recovery.”
“She was shot one time in the head through and through,” Dr. Peter Rhee said at an afternoon news conference at University Medical Center in Tucson.
He said the congresswoman was following commands, a good sign, he said.
Six people, including a girl who was about nine years old, were killed and 18 were injured in the shooting at a Safeway in northwest Tucson at Ina and Oracle roads. The first 911 call came in at 10:11 a.m.
A suspect, identified by the Associated Press as Jared Lee Loughner, is in custody. A YouTube channel was found that matched the information of the shooter and was established well before today’s shooting. It contains three posted videos and one video by another party that was “favorited.”
Obama said that FBI director Robert Mueller was dispatched to Arizona to direct the invistigation, which is underway. He also said that he had spoken with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R-Ariz.) about the shooting.
“We are still assembling all the facts,” Obama said, adding about Giffords: “She is battling for her life.”
Later in his brief address, after which he took no questions, Obama said, “It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does — listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors.
“That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.”
Of Giffords, he added, “Gabby is as tough as they come, and I am hopeful she will pull through.”
Giffords is a member of the House LGBT Equality Caucus who displayed her own pride at the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on Twitter when the Senate passed repeal on Dec. 18, writing, “DADT finally repealed! Celebration across Arizona skies tonight. What a glorious day.” She included a picture of an Arizona sunset in the tweet.
Judge Roll was an appointee of President George H.W. Bush in 1991 and has been the chief judge for the district court since 2006. He had faced threats in 2009 relating to an immagration case that he heard, which resulted in U.S. Marshals protective service being assigned to him and his wife for a period of time while the threats were being investigated.
Obama’s full remarks are below the jump.
* * *
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release January 8, 2011
REMARKS BY THE PRESIDENT
ON THE SHOOTINGS IN TUCSON, ARIZONA
State Dining Room
4:46 P.M. EST
THE PRESIDENT: As many of you are aware, earlier today a number of people were shot in Tucson, Arizona, including several who were meeting at a supermarket with their congresswoman, Gabrielle Giffords. We are still assembling all the facts, but we know that Representative Giffords was one of the victims. She is currently at a hospital in the area, and she is battling for her life.
We also know that at least five people lost their lives in this tragedy. Among them were a federal judge, John Roll, who has served America’s legal system for almost 40 years; and a young girl who was barely nine years old.
I’ve spoken to Arizona governor Jan Brewer and offered the full resources of the federal government. A suspect is currently in custody, but we don’t yet know what provoked this unspeakable act. A comprehensive investigation is currently underway, and at my direction, Director Bob Mueller is en route to Arizona to help coordinate these efforts. I’ve also spoken to the Democratic and Republican leaders in the House.
Gabby Giffords was a friend of mine. She is not only an extraordinary public servant, but she is also somebody who is warm and caring. She is well liked by her colleagues and well liked by her constituents. Her husband, Mark Kelly, is a Navy captain and one of America’s valiant astronauts.
It’s not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does — listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors. That is the essence of what our democracy is all about. That is why this is more than a tragedy for those involved. It is a tragedy for Arizona and a tragedy for our entire country.
What Americans do at times of tragedy is to come together and support each other. So at this time I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping all the victims and their families, including Gabby, in our thoughts and prayers. Those who have been injured, we are rooting for them. And I know Gabby is as tough as they come, and I am hopeful that she’s going to pull through.
Obviously our hearts go out to the family members of those who have been slain. We are going to get to the bottom of this, and we’re going to get through this. But in the meantime, I think all of us need to make sure that we’re offering our thoughts and prayers to those concerned.
END 4:49 P.M. EST