Former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., says Bill Badger, 1 of the people who helped subdue Jared Loughner in the 2011 Tucson shooting, has died; 'Saddened by the passing of Bill Badger, a great man and hero who ran towards danger on Jan. 8, 2011' - @GabbyGiffords
Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Arizona shooting records release: 'I hope that common sense policies like universal background checks become part of our history, just like the Tucson shootings are' - statement via @NBCNews
On January 8, 2011, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen others were shot during a constituent meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, Arizona, in the Tucson metropolitan area. Six people died, including federal District Court Chief Judge John Roll; Gabe Zimmerman, one of Rep. Giffords' staffers; and a nine-year-old girl, Christina-Taylor Green. Giffords was holding the meeting, called "Congress on Your Corner" in the parking lot of a Safeway store when Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head before proceeding to fire on other people. One additional person was injured in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. News reports identified the target of the attack as Giffords, a Democrat representing Arizona's 8th congressional district. She was shot through the head at point-blank range, and her medical condition was initially described as "critical".
Loughner, a 22-year-old Tucson man who was fixated on Giffords, was arrested at the scene. Federal prosecutors filed five charges against him, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress and the assassination of a federal judge. Loughner previously had been arrested (but not convicted) once on a minor drug charge and had been suspended by his college for disruptive behavior. Court filings include notes handwritten by Loughner indicating he planned to assassinate Giffords. The motive for the shooting remains unclear; Loughner did not cooperate with authorities, invoking his right to remain silent. He was held without bail and indicted on 49 counts. In January 2012, Loughner was found by a federal judge to be incompetent to stand trial based on two medical evaluations, which diagnosed him with paranoid schizophrenia. Judged still incompetent to stand trial on May 25, finally on August 7, Loughner had a hearing at which he was judged competent. He pleaded guilty to 19 counts, and in November 2012 was sentenced to life in prison.
Following the shooting, American and international politicians expressed grief and condemnations. Attention focused on the harsh political rhetoric in the United States. Some commentators blamed members of the political right wing for the shooting; in particular, Sarah Palin was implicated because of gun-related metaphors in her speeches and because of the website of her political action committee which "targeted" the districts of Giffords and others with pictures of crosshairs on an electoral map. Others defended Palin by noting that Loughner hated all politicians regardless of their affiliation. Gun control advocates pushed for increased restrictions on the sale of firearms and ammunition, specifically high-capacity ammunition magazines. President Barack Obama led a nationally televised memorial service on January 12, and other memorials took place.