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Congresswoman still sedated after gunman’s attack

Congresswoman still sedated after gunman’s attack

People gather outside University Medical Center for a prayer vigil for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011, in Tucson, Arizona.

By PAULINE ARRILLAGA, Associated Press – 1 hr 18 mins ago

TUCSON, Ariz. – Rep. Gabrielle Giffords remained heavily sedated and in critical condition Sunday as investigators sought to understand what motivated a gunman to carry out an assassination attempt on the Democratic lawmaker in a rampage that killed six people.

University Medical Center spokeswoman Darci Slaten told The Associated Press that Giffords underwent a two-hour surgery Saturday and has not been conscious since the shooting. She said more information will be released at a news conference in which one of the doctors who operated on Giffords plans to speak.

Outside the hospital, candles flickered at a makeshift memorial. Signs read “Peace + love are stronger,” “God bless America and “We love you, Gabrielle.” People also laid down bouquets of flowers, American flags and pictures of Giffords.

Authorities said Giffords, 40, was targeted at a public gathering by a man with a semiautomatic weapon around 10 a.m. Saturday outside a busy Tucson supermarket. Arizona’s chief federal judge and five others were killed and 14 people were injured, including the Democrat lawmaker.

He also fired at her district director and shot indiscriminately at staffers and others standing in line to talk to the congresswoman, said Mark Kimble, a communications staffer for Giffords.

“He was not more than three or four feet from the congresswoman and the district director,” Kimble said, describing the scene as “just complete chaos, people screaming, crying.”

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said the rampage ended only after two people tackled the gunman.

“He was definitely on a mission,” according to event volunteer Alex Villeca, former Giffords intern.

Police say the shooter was in custody, and was identified by people familiar with the investigation as Jared Loughner, 22. U.S. officials who provided his name to the AP spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release it publicly.

His motivation was not immediately known, but Dupnik described him as mentally unstable and possibly acting with an accomplice.

His office said a man possibly associated with the suspect who was near the scene was being sought. The man, who was photographed by a security camera, was described as white with dark hair and 40-45 years old.

The assassination attempt left Americans questioning whether divisive politics had pushed the suspect over the edge.

A shaken President Barack Obama called the attack “a tragedy for our entire country.”

Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement Sunday that FBI Director Robert Mueller was traveling to Arizona to help coordinate the investigation.

In a brief statement Sunday morning, House Speaker John Boehner said flags on the House side of the Capitol in Washington will be flown at half staff to honor Giffords’ slain aide, Gabe Zimmerman. Boehner says normal House business this week is postponed to focus on any necessary actions in the shooting aftermath.

Strong reaction came from overseas, as well.

British Prime Minister David Cameron expressed shock at the shooting, and added that he shared President Barack Obama’s belief that “we must never allow violence and hate to extinguish the open political discourse which is our surest protection.”

Fidel Castro also denounced the attack as atrocious. “Even those of us who don’t share at all the politics and philosophies (of the Obama administration) sincerely desire that no children, judges, legislators or citizens of the United States die in such an absurd and unjustifiable way,” Castro said in an opinion piece titled “An Atrocious Act,” published in Cuban state-controlled media.

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http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110109/ap_on_re_us/us_congresswoman_shot

QUESTIONS:

Who did it?  Who was the gunman?

What was the gunman’s possible motivation to attempt this assassination?

Where did this event take place?

When was the Congresswoman targeted at a public gathering?

CHALLENGE:

Notice/list all verbs ending in the past-tense form of “ed.”  Discuss the differences in the pronunciation of the verb root + the “ed” ending.

VOCABULARY:

sought

assassination

surgery

conscious

peace

bouquet

indiscriminately

staffers

screaming, crying

Jared Loughner

anonymity

publicly

accomplice

divisive

atrocious

absurd

unjustifiable

piece

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