U.S. Congress Pays Tribute to Arizona Shooting Victims

12 Jan

Members of Congress and staff members observe a moment of silence for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and other shooting victims, Monday, Jan. 10, 2011, on the East Steps of the Capitol on Capitol Hill in Washington. Giffords was shot Saturday in a Tucson shooting rampage that left six people dead. Pictured from ninth left to right: Wilson Livingood, Sergeant at Arms, U.S. House of Representatives; Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D-D.C.; Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo.; Steve Lawrence, chief of staff to House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi of Calif.; Barry Jackson chief of staff to House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio; Del. Madeleine Bordallo, D-Guam; Rep. Hank Johnson, D-Ga.; and Senate Sergeant at Arms Terry Gainer. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)

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Washington DC, Jan 12 (KATAKAMI / VOA) — Members of the U.S. House of Representatives have strongly condemned a mass shooting in Arizona that killed six people and wounded a U.S. congresswoman.

House Speaker John Boehner submitted a resolution Wednesday honoring those killed and expressing hope for the recovery of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and others who were wounded.

The resolution pays tribute by name to the six people killed in the attack, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge.

Giffords was meeting her constituents outside a grocery store in the city of Tucson when a gunman opened fire. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said it is especially tragic that the shooting took place as people participated in activity that she said “reflects the best of our democratic tradition.”

U.S. President Barack Obama and the first lady travel to Arizona Wednesday to attend a memorial service for the victims.

Twenty-two-year-old Jared Loughner is accused of carrying out the attack.

If convicted he could get life in prison or the death penalty.

Giffords is being treated at an Arizona hospital for a gunshot wound to the head. Doctors say she has shown signs of improvement. She can breathe on her own and continues to respond to simple commands. But they say recovery will take time.

Loughner is charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee.

It was the first deadly attack against a U.S. member of Congress since 1978, when California Representative Leo Ryan was killed in Guyana, while visiting the compound of a U.S.-based cult known as Jonestown.

Loughner’s family released a statement Tuesday expressing deep remorse for the shooting, saying they cannot understand why it happened.

Investigators found handwritten notes at Loughner’s home with Giffords’ name, the words “I planned ahead” and “My assassination.” Some of the writings were scrawled on a letter Giffords’ office sent to the suspect in 2007 after he attended one of her political events.  (*)

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