Federal Judge, 5 Others Shot And Killed In Arizona; Suspect Lamented About ‘Gold Standard’ And ‘Currency’; Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Shot At Close Range, Survives Emergency Surgery
A federal judge was shot and killed in Arizona yesterday in an attack apparently aimed at a member of Congress who was holding a constituent event outside a supermarket in Tucson, an official said.
Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at close range. President Obama said she was battling for her life after undergoing emergency surgery. The president announced the death of U.S. District Judge John Roll in a special statement at the White House.
Roll had just attended Mass and had stopped by the supermarket on his way home. The Wall Street Journal reported that he stopped at the event to thank Giffords for signing a letter to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that a judicial emergency existed in Arizona because of a high number of immigration cases and a lack of judges to hear them.
Also killed in the attack were a nine-year-old girl, three senior citizens in their seventies and a 30-year-old Congressional aide engaged to be married.
In 2009, Roll was under the 24-hour protection of the U.S. Marshals Service for about a month because of threats made against him, the Washington Post reported.
The alleged shooter used a semiautomatic handgun, authorities said. He was identified as Jared Loughner, 22, of the Tucson region. This is believed to be his YouTube site.
Obama dispatched FBI Director Robert Mueller to Arizona to coordinate the investigation.
“We are going to get to the bottom of this,” the President pledged.
Judge Roll was appointed to the federal bench by President George H.W. Bush in 1991.
Giffords, a Democrat, was serving as the host of the constituent event, which was dubbed “Congress On Your Corner.”
She is the wife of Capt. Mark Kelly, a naval officer, U.S. astronaut and Space Shuttle commander. Kelly’s brother, Scott Kelly, also is an astronaut. He is currently aboard the International Space Station in a mission that began in October.
A disturbing portrait of Loughner was emerging in the early hours. The YouTube site and remarks attributed to him elsewhere suggest he was a burgeoning conspiracy theorist who authored or uttered incoherent ramblings on subjects such as the gold standard, government trickery and how one properly defines terrorism.
“If I define terrorist then a terrorist is a person who employs terror or terrorism, especially as a political weapon. I define terrorist,” Loughner appears to have written. “If you call me a terrorist then the argument to call me a terrorist is ad hominem. You call me a terrorist.”
Loughner also appears to have pondered the fractured thoughts that college was “illegal” under the U.S. Constitution and that people should be provided “accurate information of a new currency.”