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Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords shot in the head

By Ron Kampeas, JTA

January 8, 2011 | 2:40 pm

Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

A gunman shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) in the head.

Giffords was shot outside one of her signature “Congress at your corner” events outside a Safeway in Tucson, the district she represented, when a gunman approached and shot her in the head, according to NPR.

The network, quoting its local affiliate, KJZZ, said she and another six other people were killed before the assailant was tackled and arrested. Other news services quoted hospital officials as saying that Giffords was still alive.

Giffords was elected to Congress in the Democratic sweep in 2006. The first Jewish woman elected to Congress from the state, she made her Jewish identity part of her campaign.

“If you want something done, your best bet is to ask a Jewish woman to do it,” said Giffords, a former state senator, said at the time. “Jewish women — by our tradition and by the way we were raised — have an ability to cut through all the reasons why something should, shouldn’t or can’t be done and pull people together to be successful.”

Giffords, 40, was raised “mixed” by a Christian Scientist mother and Jewish father, but said that after a visit to Israel in 2001, she had decided she was Jewish only. She attended services at a local Reform synagogue.

In one of her last photos, she posed with the new U.S. House of Representatives speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) at her swearing in; her hand is on the “Five Books of Moses.”

Giffords fought a hard election this year, against the national anti-incumbent, anti-Democratic mood. She tacked to the right of her party on immigration, saying border security was of primary consideration. The election was called in her favor weeks after the vote.

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