TUCSON, Ariz. - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with voters, killing a federal judge and five others in a rampage that rattled the country and left Americans questioning whether divisive politics had pushed the suspect over the edge.
Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Giffords was the target of a gunman whom he described as mentally unstable and possibly acting along with an accomplice. He said Giffords was among 13 people wounded in the melee that killed six people, including Arizona's chief federal judge, a 9-year-old girl and an aide for the Democratic lawmaker. He said the rampage ended only after two people tackled the gunman.
Doctors were optimistic about Giffords surviving as she was responding to commands from doctors despite having a bullet pass gothrough her head. "With guarded optimism, I hope she will survive, but this is a very devastating wound," said Dr. Richard Carmona, the former surgeon general who lives in Tucson.
The sheriff pointed to the vitriolic political rhetoric that has consumed the country as he denounced the shooting that claimed several of his friends as victims, including U.S. District Judge John Roll. The judge celebrated Mass on Saturday morning like he does every day before stopping by to say hello to his good friend Giffords.
"When you look at unbalanced people, how they respond to the vitriol that comes