Giffords Sedated, Federal Charges Filed Against Suspect - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

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Giffords Sedated, Federal Charges Filed Against Suspect

TUCSON, Ariz. - Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was in critical condition Sunday as investigators filed five charges against the man suspected in the shooting rampage that killed six and injured 14.

Jared Loughner is charged with one count of attempted assassination of member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to killing a federal employee.

Heather Williams, the first assistant federal public defender in Arizona, says the 22-year-old suspect doesn't yet have a lawyer, but that her office is working to get a lawyer appointed for Loughner.

University Medical Center spokeswoman Darci Slaten told The Associated Press that Giffords remained sedated after undergoing 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 of 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 Gifford, 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 13 people were wounded, 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," said Villec, a former Giffords intern.

Police say the shooter was in custody, and was identified by people familiar with the investigation as Jared Loughner, 22. His motivation was not immediately known, but Dupnik described him as mentally unstable.

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."

"We are in a dark place in this country right now and the atmospheric condition is toxic," Democratic Representative Emanuel Cleaver told NBC's "Meet the Press."

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.

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