Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is in critical condition this morning after yesterday’s attack in Tucson. Six people died, including a 9-year-old girl and a federal judge, and 13 were wounded. In a press conference last night, Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described Arizona as a “mecca for prejudice and bigotry” and told the media that the gunman may have not acted alone. The police are pursuing a possible accomplice, who Dupnik said was a white male in his 50s – they’ve even released a picture.
UPDATE: According to her doctors, Giffords has been able to follow simple commands.The medical team is “cautiously optimistic” about her recovery, which could take months. [NYT] [Politico]
More details have begun to emerge about the shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner. According to the New York Times, Loughner’s behavior had grown weirder recently, and he had dropped out of college in October after the school suspended him. Loughner has a criminal record, police say, but no details yet on that. Apparently he had enlisted for Army service but was rejected. The Times reports that on Saturday, Loughner posted a goodbye message on his MySpace. We’ll continue to update this story as it develops. [NYT]
In other news: the Jets beat the Colts last night 17-16. They’ll play the Patriots next Sunday in the divisional playoffs. [NYDN]
Research based on declining smoking statistics in Britain says that in 30 to 50 years, there could be no smokers left at all in developed countries. [NYP]
Southern Sudan is expected to secede from the north today. A national anthem and flag for the new country have already been chosen, but no name as of yet. [BBC]
More information today about the stove fire that killed 72-year-old Claudette Rivera in her Lower East Side apartment yesterday. Apparently Rivera had lived in that same building, 124 Ludlow, for 50 years. [The Lo-Down]