Giffords shooting: Moment of silence, suspect in court

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ/8th)

Led by President Obama, the nation on Monday prepared to mourn officially the deadly events over the weekend in Arizona
and awaited the first public glimpse of the man accused of murder and
attempted murder in the shooting rampage that left six dead and 14
injured, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Accompanied by White House staffers, Obama is
scheduled to lead a national moment of silence on the South Lawn of the
White House, a symbol of the outpouring of grief and shock as the
political world reels from an attack on one of its own. The House has
delayed much of its usual business, including a proposed repeal of the
healthcare overhaul but will consider special resolutions this week
honoring the critically injured Giffords and other victims.

Jared Lee Loughner, who has been in custody since the Saturday morning shooting outside a Tucson
supermarket where Giffords was greeting constituents, is scheduled to
appear in federal court in the early afternoon. Loughner, 22, faces
five counts of murder and attempted murder of federal employees.

Loughner is expected to be represented by attorney Judy Clark who defended Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma bombing case and “Unabomber” Ted Kaczynski. Both of those cases are similar to the Arizona
case where extreme violence took place against a background of some
form of politics. But Clark also has defended non-political cases
including Susan Smith, a South Carolina woman who drowned her two sons in 1994.

Investigators has painted a picture of Loughner as
an outcast who mistrusted government. In the papers released over the
weekend, an FBI agent described a search of Loughner’s home where an
envelope with the phrases, “I planned ahead” and “My assassination,”
along with the name “Giffords” were scrawled. The envelope also has
what appeared to be Loughner’s signature on it.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said Loughner was being uncommunicative with investigators.

Over the weekend, officials said they were
continuing to look for any connections between Loughner and hate groups
as part of their background check on the suspect. But Dupnik told ABC’s “Good Morning America” that it was doubtful that Loughner was part of any conspiracy.

“He’s a typical troubled individual who’s a loner,” the sheriff said.

Meanwhile, Giffords, 40, remains in intensive care
after surgery to deal with her head wound. Doctors remained guardedly
optimistic in appearances on the morning news shows and were scheduled
to give a formal briefing later.

“The best way to describe her this morning is that she’s holding her own,” neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole of Tucson’s University Medical Center, said on CBS’
“The Early Show.” Lemole described how a portion of Giffords’ skull was
removed during treatment to help prevent brain swelling.

“We don’t close the book on recovery for years,” he
said, “so it’ll take as long as it takes. I think the real question
will be how long it will take before she’s out of the woods.”

Giffords, a moderate Democrat, had faced threats before for her positions in favor of President Obama‘s healthcare overhaul and for her support of immigration reform, a touchy issue in Arizona. But she continued to meet constituents in open settings like the one Saturday.

Authorities said that Loughner had legally purchased a semiautomatic pistol, which he allegedly fired at Giffords and the crowd.

Those killed included U.S. District Judge John M. Roll, 63; and 9-year-old Christina Green, born on Sept. 11, 2001. Green’s parents have repeatedly called for end to the type of violence that killed their 9-year-old daughter.

Others killed were Giffords’ aide Gabe Zimmerman, 30; Dorothy Morris, 76; Dorwan Stoddard, 76; and Phyllis Schneck, 79.


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