Federal murder charges filed in Giffords shooting case

McClatchy NewspapersJanuary 9, 2011 

A 22-year-old man was formally charged Sunday with two counts of murder and three counts of attempted murder in a shooting rampage that killed six people and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Jared Lee Loughner, of Tucson, Ariz., is in federal custody. He'll go before a federal magistrate on Monday and could face additional state and federal charges, including domestic terrorism.

Loughner came to a meet-and-greet event Giffords was hosting at a local supermarket on Saturday morning and shot her at close range through her left temple. He then began firing indiscriminately into the crowd.

Five victims died at the scene, including 63-year-old Chief Judge John Roll of the U.S. District Court for Arizona and 30-year-old Gabe Zimmerman, who worked for Giffords. Dorothy Morris, 76 and Phyllis Scheck, 79, were also killed along with 76-year-old Dorwin Stoddard, who was shot in the head while protecting his wife.

The final victim, 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green, died later at the hospital. She was born on Sept. 11, 2001.

A search of Loughner's home turned up a letter that Giffords wrote to Loughner in 2007 thanking him for attending a similar meet-and-greet.

Giffords, who underwent surgery on Saturday, remains in critical condition and communicates with doctors by responding to simple commands, said Dr. Michael Lemole Jr., the chief of neurosurgery at University Medical Center in Tuscon.

He's "cautiously optimistic" about Giffords's chances of survival. President Barack Obama asked the to country take a moment of silence at 11 a.m. Monday to honor victims of the shooting, and the House of Representatives plans to pay tribute Wednesday to Giffords and the other victims.

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