Around 1:30pmET, the cable news channels began continuing coverage of a shooting spree at an event sponsored by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) outside a Safeway store in Tucson this morning. The shooting occurred around 11amMT (1pmET.) At 2:09pmET Fox News reported, sourcing NPR, that Giffords has died. CNN and MSNBC would also report that Giffords had died, sourcing NPR. FNC’s Bret Baier, joining the coverage of Kelly Wright and Jamie Colby reports “multiple fatalities.”
Giffords, a moderate Blue Dog democrat who was just beginning her third term, was a guest on Fox News Channel just yesterday with Bill Hemmer. Hemmer joined FNC’s coverage around 2:10pm to talk about his interview. “She was proud of the fiscal discipline that she was bringing back to Congress and how important this was,” Hemmer said of Giffords who was proposing a congressional pay cut bill. Hemmer shared that during the commercial break he’d asked her about whether things in Washington were really going to change in the new Congress. Giffords told Hemmer that she was optimistic. “She was filled with vigor and enthusiasm,” he added.
The suspect is in custody. > New: Gunman identified as Jared Lee Loughner, who posted an eery video titled “My Final Thoughts.” We’ve included it after the jump. Also, his YouTube channel is written in the past tense: “My favorite interest was….” “I had favorite books…”
> Update: Fox News’ Peter Doocy reports that in addition to Giffords, four others have died, including a child.
> Update: On CNN, Sylvia Lee, a friend of Giffords talked about how there had been threats against Giffords’ office and that of Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-AZ).
> More: On MSNBC, Rep. Kent Franks (R-AZ): “I am mortified beyond words. Gabrielle Giffords and I are on different ends of the political spectrum, but there has never been one unkind or cross communication between us.”
> More: Pima County, AZ Sheriff Clarence Dupnick talking with MSNBC’s Alex Witt: “I think it’s time that we as a country take look at what kind of hatred we inflame with all the crap that goes on … I think it’s time that this country take a look at … the inflammatory crap that comes out out of some of the radio and TV.”
> Update: By 2:30pmET CNN, MSNBC and FNC had reported, through various sources, that Giffords had died. But those reports would soon be corrected. Around 2:50pmET Bret Baier explained the conflicting reports of Giffords’ death and her condition being critical:
We had three sources, one very reputable source on Capitol Hill, one federal official, law enforcement official on the ground in Arizona, and one federal law enforcement official in D.C monitoring the situation. Three different sources tell us that the Congresswoman had been killed in this shooting. Now, it appears according to her office and the hospital, that she is in surgery, and that the hospital has told the AP and Reuters that she is still in surgery and in critical condition.
> More: Shepard Smith took over anchoring on FNC at 3pmET.
CBS’s Russ Mitchell anchored special reports at 2pmET and again at 2:30pm. ABC’s David Muir anchored specials at 1:37pm and 2:37pm. MSNBC’s Alex Witt interrupted her own coverage on the cable network to anchor an NBC network special at 2:25pmET.
> Condition Update, 4pmET: Doctors are “very optimistic” about Giffords’ recovery. She was shot one time, “in the head, through-and-through.” The bullet, “went through her brain,” said a spokesperson in a news conference carried on the newschannels.
> Update: Fox News, MSNBC programming changes after the jump…