Sunday, January 09, 2011

UPDATE: Arizona Shooter Charged With Murder, Police Now Say He 'Acted Alone'

Authorities have now charged Jared Loughner, the man who allegedly shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and 19 others in Tucson Saturday at a political rally at a Safeway market with five federal counts -- two for murder and three for attempted murder.

Six people died in the shootings; Tucson's chief federal judge, John Roll, nine-year-old Christina Green, Dorothy Murray, 76; Dorwin Stoddard, 76, who was killed as he acted as a shield to protect his wife; Phyliss Schneck, 79; and Gabriel Zimmerman, 30, a staff aide to the congresswoman.

"This is an attack on out institutions and our way of life," Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Robert Mueller said Sunday at a news briefing held at the Pima County Sheriff's Department in Tucson.

There had been some speculation earlier that Loughner had an accomplice, but a man had been considered a possible second suspect has now been cleared. Th eman was apparently just the cab driver who had brought Loughner to the scene of the shootings.

Doctors are reportedly optimistic over Giffords' chances of recovery after brain surgery.

"We are all very happy at this stage," said Dr.Peter Rhee, head of the trauma section of the University of Arizona Medical Center, although he cautioned that the consequences of brain swelling could be potentially dangerous. Dr. Rhee said it wasn't uncommon to see people achieve "tremendous types of recovery" from similar wounds after a rehabilitation process. That process could last "weeks or months."

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