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Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is not dead, according to Reuters. There are now conflicting reports as to Giffords’ status. We’ve tried to reach the University Medical Center in Tucson and will update if we get through.
UPDATE 3:03 p.m.: MSNBC is reporting that a federal judge was shot at the event and that “at best, Giffords is in surgery battling for her life.”
UPDATE 3:06 p.m.: Sarah Palin, whose “Take Back the 20” initiative identified Giffords as a Democrat to be unseated, has released a statement on her Facebook page.
UPDATE 3:19 p.m.: President Obama has issued the following statement, reports MSNBC:
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.
UPDATE 3:42 p.m.: Arizona State Senator told Fox that Giffords made it through surgery.
UPDATE 3:50 p.m.: Pima County Sheriff’s Office is currently holding a press conference. The suspect had only one minor “run-in” with the law before this. The weapon in question was a pistol. Confirmed: a federal employee was also shot; “several prominent individuals” were in the crowd. Gunman named as Jared Laughner, age 22. Giffords is expected to survive.
UPDATE 4:01 p.m.: Peter Rhee, the Trauma Director at the University Medical Center in Tucson is “very optimistic” about Giffords’ recovery. He reports that 10 people were admitted; five were in surgery in critical condition, and one person died. That person was a young child, about 9 years old.
Tucson Police Chief: “We had no information that there was any threat.”