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Arizona Congresswoman Shot, In Critical Condition

GUY RAZ, host:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Guy Raz.

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat, is in critical condition at this moment just hours after she was shot at close range during a public event in Tucson. At least 12 other people were shot, including a federal judge and a member of Giffords' staff when a gunman open fire on a crowd gathered around the congresswoman. She was holding a town hall meeting on a Tucson street corner, an event she regular holds. It's called Congress on the Corner.

Our correspondent in Tucson is Ted Robbins and he's been following this story.

Ted, first, tell us what happened today.

TED ROBBINS: Guy, this was an event called Congress On Your Corner. It was in front of a Safeway market, a grocery store with banners, and congresswoman and several prominent people were sitting at a table and answering questions when a gunman apparently walked up and began firing, we're told, with a pistol and an extended clip.

And the word we have from the Pima County Sheriff's Office is that 18 people were wounded, six people were killed, including one child.

RAZ: What do we know about Congresswoman Giffords' condition at the moment?

ROBBINS: Well, as you mentioned, she was shot in close - at close range and we are - the reports are that it was in the head. And she was in surgery at University Medical Center in trauma. And one report says that she's expected to live, but she clearly - we don't know, you know, what that means at this point.

RAZ: Ted, do we have any information about the gunman?

ROBBINS: The sheriff's department is saying that it was a 22-year-old and - who had one minor run-in with the law between the ages of 18 and 22. The AP is identifying him as Jared Loughner.

He was alone and we don't know - I mean, they were looking for several gunmen as a matter of fact. But now they say that he was the only gunman. But they don't know how he got to the site, which is in northwest Tucson, actually out of city limits, but at a major shopping center. So they're looking for folks who he may have been in conspiracy with or whatever. But he was the only shooter.

RAZ: Ted, what can you tell us about the other victims?

ROBBINS: Well, as I said, one child, a 10-year-old. By the way, I should add the shooter was tackled and he is in custody, tackled by people on the scene. So we want to make sure that people understand he's in custody.

The other report is that, all the sheriff will say that it was a federal employee. But we have reliable reports that say it was John Roll, who is the presiding judge, federal judge for Arizona. And he was with her and along with at least one member of her staff, several people who were prominent there. Now we were - we have reports that he was killed.

RAZ: Mm-hmm. That's NPR's Ted Robbins in Tucson reporting for us.

Ted, thank you.

ROBBINS: Yes, of course. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.