Reactions to Arizona shootings
President Obama makes a statement on Saturday at the White House regarding the shooting in Arizona.
January 8th, 2011
05:03 PM ET

Reactions to Arizona shootings

Reaction to Saturday's shootings at a political event outside a Tucson, Arizona, grocery store that killed several people, including U.S. District Judge John Roll, and wounded a number of others, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Arizona, has come in from around the country. Here are some statements:

President Barack Obama

"This morning, in an unspeakable tragedy, a number of Americans were shot in Tucson, Arizona, at a constituent meeting with Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded.

"We do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers."

Vice President Joe Biden

Giffords is one of the "finest members of Congress I know."

"She has spent her time in office working her heart out to improve the lives of the people she represents. She loves her husband and family above all else."

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer

"All of Arizona is shocked and deeply saddened by the horrific tragedy that transpired this morning in Tucson.

"I have been in contact throughout the morning with law enforcement officials, as well as Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, and just a short while ago I spoke personally with President Obama. The president conveyed his heartfelt sympathies for our state, and our shared determination to ensure that justice is fully served.

"I am just heartbroken. Gabby is more than just a colleague, she is my friend. She has always been a noble public servant. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords and her family, the Congresswoman’s staff and their families, and well as the other victims of this senseless and cruel violence."

John Roberts, chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court

"The violence in Arizona today has senselessly taken … lives and inflicted tragic loss on dedicated public servants and their families. We in the judiciary have suffered the terrible loss of one of our own. Chief Judge John Roll was a wise jurist who selflessly served Arizona and the nation with great distinction, as attorney and judge, for more than 35 years. I express my deepest condolences to his wife Maureen and his children, as well as the other victims and their families. Chief Judge Roll's death is a somber reminder of the importance of the rule of law and the sacrifices of those who work to secure it."

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder

"Today's tragedy in Arizona was a senseless act of violence that has already resulted in devastating loss, including the death of Chief United States District Court Judge John Roll and four other individuals and the wounding of Representative Gabrielle Giffords and a number of others. All of those who were killed or injured and their families are in our thoughts and prayers.

"As the President said, FBI Director Mueller is traveling to Arizona to help coordinate the investigation. The FBI is working jointly with local law enforcement to investigate today’s events, and I have directed Department prosecutors and law enforcement officials to use every resource necessary to investigate this tragedy. I want to assure the people of Arizona and every American that we will hold accountable anyone responsible for these heinous acts."

Defense Secretary Robert Gates

"I am saddened to hear of the attack on Congresswoman Giffords and members of her staff earlier today in Tucson, Arizona. I have had an opportunity to interact with Congresswoman Giffords in her capacity as a member of the House Armed Services Committee, where she served on the Readiness and Air and Land Forces subcommittees. She is a strong supporter of America’s national defense, cares deeply about our men and women in uniform, and has pursued her oversight responsibilities with dedication. Our thoughts are also with her husband, Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, an aviator and astronaut of great distinction, as well as the families of the other victims of this attack. Ms. Giffords represents a new generation of principled and thoughtful political leaders that have come to Washington in recent years. We will miss her strong character and good judgment in the Congress during these important days ahead, and we are praying for her full recovery."

U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi

"It is with the deepest sadness that we have received word of the attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, members of her staff, and her constituents. This terrible act of violence is a national tragedy, and today is a very sad day for our country.

"My prayers, and the prayers of all members of Congress, go out to her husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, their family, and to all of the staff and others who were victims of this horrible attack.

"Congresswoman Giffords is a brilliant and courageous member of Congress, bringing to Washington the views of a new generation of national leaders. It is especially tragic that she was attacked as she was meeting with her constituents whom she serves with such dedication and distinction."

Rep. Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, Democratic House whip

The attacks are "devastating" and "equally devastating to every American – to everyone who cares about our democracy."

"Congresswoman Giffords is a devoted and insightful public servant and a passionate advocate for her constituents-but more than that, she is my dear friend."

House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio

"I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country."

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada

Reid hopes "those responsible will be brought to justice quickly."

"As a representative of a neighboring state, I have watched her career closely and admired her work on behalf of the state of Arizona."

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky

"This senseless attack today in Tucson is a national tragedy, and all America mourns those who lost their lives in the very act of public service. I join the entire Congress in condemning this horrifying act of violence, and on behalf of the entire Senate family, Elaine and I extend our deepest expressions of sympathy and heartfelt prayers to Rep. Giffords and the families of those who have been killed or injured. The U.S. Capitol Police are joining local, state and federal officials in this investigation. We appreciate their quick response and stand ready to assist in their efforts."

Pia Carusone, Giffords' chief of staff

"An unthinkable tragedy occurred at our Congress On Your Corner event today in Tucson. Our community has lost beloved friends and colleagues, and many more are injured. Our hearts and prayers go out to all of them and to those who are suffering the loss of treasured friends and family members.

"Congresswoman Giffords is dedicated to serving the people of Southern Arizona. It was in this spirit that our office organized today's event. We will make further statements as details become available. We offer thanks to the law enforcement, first responders, and medical personnel who work to save lives and mend the injured."

Richard Carmona, former U.S. surgeon general

"I am deeply hurt and disturbed. Some of these people were my friends. The (congresswoman) I knew very well, I worked with her for many years. The judge I knew very well, I worked with him. And so this is a very painful time for all of us. ... Our hearts are bleeding right now, for them and for their families, and for the others that were injured. This is a terrible tragedy and one, in all my years as a trauma surgeon or as a deputy sheriff, I've never seen anything like this in a community like ours."

John Wesley Miller, friend of Giffords' family, at hospital

"She was responding to commands, we're optimistic."

"She's a wonderful, wonderful young lady. I love her like a daughter."

"It's such a shock to think that someone could want to harm such a beautiful person, inside and out. Gabby is just a treasure of Tucson and our community. She's done so much to help us, to help our economy, to help us learn how to utilize solar energy. She's pro-business, (and) I'm a Republican for Gabby Giffords, so I just love her."

"We're all praying for her. She won't give up; she's a fighter. She's a wonderful woman.

Dr. Matt Heinz, friend of Giffords, at the hospital

"I, along with, I think, all of Tucson and my state, we're all thinking and praying for Gabby right now. There are a lot of close friends and of closer family here, and we're hoping and we're praying."

U.S. Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona

“I am horrified by the violent attack on Representative Gabrielle Giffords and many other innocent people by a wicked person who has no sense of justice or compassion. I pray for Gabby and the other victims, and for the repose of the souls of the dead and comfort for their families. I beg our loving Creator to spare the lives of those who are still alive, heal them in body and spirit, and return them to their loved ones.

"Whoever did this, whatever their reason, they are a disgrace to Arizona, this country and the human race, and they deserve and will receive the contempt of all decent people and the strongest punishment of the law."

McCain, on the death of Judge John Roll:

"I am deeply saddened to hear that Chief Judge John Roll was killed today during the senseless act of violence against Congresswoman Giffords and other Arizonans. Words are inadequate to express such a profound loss to his family, friends, state and country, but it is appropriate to note that a man of great qualities and character was struck down today, and the wickedness of this atrocity, which included the murder of a small child, has broken the hearts of many and will be mourned for years to come. I am proud to have recommended Judge Roll to President Bush for the federal bench in 1991 and have been extremely proud of his work on the bench since then. I am most proud to have called him a friend. Judge Roll dedicated his life to public service and was admired by many for his integrity, kindness and love for the law, for the state of Arizona and our country. He began his career as a bailiff in the Pima County Superior Court and was at his death the Chief Judge for the District of Arizona since 2006. He distinguished himself in every office he held. He will be missed very much. Cindy and I are praying for his soul and for his beloved wife and children and the families of all the victims in this terrible moment of sorrow. Our state has lost a good man, a true and able advocate for justice for all and a great Arizonan. May God grant him perpetual peace.”

U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Arizona

Kyl called for "justice to be served fully and swiftly."

"I find it especially saddening that such a heinous crime would occur while she was fulfilling her congressional responsibilities."

Tea Party Express Chairman Amy Kremer

"We at the Tea Party Express are shocked and saddened to hear about the terrible tragedy that took place in Tucson today. It is appalling that anyone would commit such unthinkable violence against Congresswoman Gabrielle Gifford, her staff, a sitting federal judge and the many other victims and families impacted.

"These heinous crimes have no place in America, and they are especially grievous when committed against our elected officials. Spirited debate is desirable in our country, but it only should be the clash of ideas. An attack on anyone for political purposes, if that was a factor in this shooting, is an attack on the democratic process. We join with everyone in vociferously condemning it.

"Our thoughts and prayers will be with all those affected today as the details unfold.”

U.S. Rep. Howard "Buck" McKeon, R-California, chairman of the House Armed Services Committee

"I join the entire House Armed Service family in my shock and sadness at the tragic shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Just before the holidays, Gabby asked me to visit Fort Huachuca in her district, an example of both her bipartisan spirit and a reminder of her unwavering support for our men and women in uniform.

"We offer her, her family, her staff and the victims of this heinous crime our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time."

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Washington, House Armed Services Committee ranking member

"I am deeply saddened by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Giffords, her staff and others victims of the shooting.

"I have served with Congresswoman Giffords on the House Armed Services Committee for years, and she is a dear personal friend. She is an extraordinary member of Congress and an outstanding member of the House Armed Services Committee.

"Her commitment to her family, our nation and our troops is unparalleled. I have never served with a more principled, dedicated member of Congress.

"Her family, as well as the families of everyone involved in this tragedy, will be in my thoughts and prayers."

Arizona state House Democratic Leader Chad Campbell

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her staffers, others and their families. This is a horrific and senseless act, and we are all praying and sending out our thoughts for the victims today."

Arizona state House Assistant Democratic Leader Steve Farley, written statement

"I am honored to count Gabby as a close friend and I know she has always fought for Arizonans and is beloved by her constituents and the people of Tucson. She is one of the brightest and best and we all know through our hopes and prayers that she will fight through this. This is a human tragedy and we are praying for all the other victims who are here with her."

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

"Today's senseless and savage attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, and her constituents is an American tragedy. Congresswoman Giffords is known throughout Tucson and our nation's capital for her kindness, her considerable intellect, and her zest for life. Rep. Giffords is a trailblazer as the youngest woman ever elected to Congress. I am praying for her healthy and speedy recovery and the recovery of all those who are fighting for their lives. My thoughts are with her husband Mark and their family and all of the families of the men and women who were abhorrently attacked today as they were exercising democracy. The individual who perpetrated these attacks must face swift and certain justice."

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y.

"This hateful crime is a tragedy beyond words. I had the privilege of first getting to know Gabrielle Giffords when we served together on the House Armed Services Committee. More than just a rising political star and phenomenal talent, she is an incredible person. It is an honor to be able to call her a close personal friend. My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and their families."

U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg, D-New Jersey

“We are all shocked and saddened by the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and other innocent people today. Rep. Giffords was innocently pursuing her interest in serving the public when she was shot in this maniacal act. America must not tolerate violence or inflammatory rhetoric that incites political violence.”

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont

"This senseless and cowardly shooting occurred as the congresswoman and her constituents were engaged in the kind of event that makes our democracy work and represents America at its best. Anti-government sentiment carried to a violent and deadly extreme is a sad reflection of America at its worst. America is better than this."

U.S. Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, D-Missouri, chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus

"I am shocked and devastated by the tragic events of this day. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is not only a colleague but a good friend, and the Congressional Black Caucus' thoughts and prayers are with her staff and her family during this horrific time.

"Even though we do not have all the answers yet, we are all too familiar with the violent and polarizing climate in which we live. There is no place in American society for such senseless and terrible acts of extreme violence. Those of us in leadership must be overly cautious of fanning the flames of extremism in hopes to prevent another horrendous tragedy such as this.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and loved ones of all those injured today.”

U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minnesota

"My tears are flowing, and I am stunned and angered that Gabby Giffords was savagely gunned down while performing her congressional duties. I am praying for Gabby, and my thoughts, prayers, and deepest sympathy go out to her family, as well as the families of each of the victims.

"Gabby Giffords governed with integrity and wisdom. We came to Congress together and I had the privilege of knowing her as a friend and colleague.

"It is my hope and expectation that the coward who carried out this horrific act of violence will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. I extend my hand of friendship to her family and staff and will keep them in my prayers."

U.S. Rep. Mike Ross, co-chairman of the Blue Dog Coalition

"It is with profound sadness that the members of the Blue Dog Coalition received the news of this terrible act of violence against Congresswoman and fellow Blue Dog Coalition member Giffords and members of her staff. She is not only an exceptional member of Congress who has dedicated her life to serving the people of Arizona, but a true friend to all of us who have the privilege of serving with her.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Gabby, her family and the members of her staff."

John Morton, Director of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement

"On behalf of the men and women of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), I was deeply saddened to learn of the shooting attack that gravely injured Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and took the life of Chief Judge John Roll earlier today in Tucson, Arizona.

"Congresswoman Giffords has always been a valuable partner to ICE in our shared effort to serve the nation and we pray for her recovery. All of us at ICE condemn this senseless act of violence and join the American people in seeking justice for the victims of this horrific act."

Michael Steele, chairman of the Republican National Committee

"Today's senseless act of violence is an attack on the American ideal and goes against our country's deeply held democratic values."

Randy Pullen, Arizona GOP chairman

"Arizona's Republicans are deeply saddened and mortified by the horrific shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and the other 11 victims at an event this morning in Tucson.

"Senseless acts of violence like these are shocking, disturbing and have no place in our country. The thoughts and prayers of all Arizonans are with the victims and families during this terrible tragedy in our state's history. We sincerely hope that the responsible party is prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law."

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin

"My sincere condolences are offered to the family of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the other victims of today's tragic shooting in Arizona.

"On behalf of Todd and my family, we all pray for the victims and their families, and for peace and justice.

"I am deeply saddened by reports that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Chief Judge John Roll and others were attacked this afternoon in Tucson, Arizona. There is no place in our society or discourse for such senseless and unconscionable acts of violence. Gabby is a steadfast representative for southern Arizona and both she and John are dedicated public servants.

"The Department of Homeland Security has offered all possible assistance to the FBI and the Pima County Sheriff’s Office, who are leading the investigation. My thoughts and prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her family and staff, and all those who were injured in this difficult time."

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich

"Please join us in praying for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and everyone shot in this tragic attack, as well as for their families."

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (via Twitter)

"Please join Janet and me in praying for Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and all the victims of the tragic shooting in Arizona."

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (via Twitter)

"Today's horrifying shooting in Tucson shocks the conscience of decent Americans everywhere."
Rahm Emanuel, former White House chief of staff under President Obama
"What occurred today in Arizona is a senseless and horrific tragedy. Gabby is a friend, a former colleague, and a respected public servant who was doing what she loved most: meeting her constituents. She will be in Amy and my thoughts and prayers as she fights for her life, as will all of the victims."

The Rev. Al Sharpton

He called on churches to pray for the congresswoman and the families of those who were wounded or killed.
"In church services tomorrow, clergymen ought to address the senseless violence that has too often raised its head of late in the social and political discourse of this country."

Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Politics
soundoff (402 Responses)
  1. Heywood

    The link that brought me here from CNNs home page is; "Reactions: Obama, Pelosi, Boehner"

    Did CNN list minority lead Pelosi before majority leader Boehner because they're not aware of the outcome of the Nov.2 election or they're biased in favor of Democrats?

    January 8, 2011 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kevin

      Or another possibility is that they might be posting them in order they are received.

      January 8, 2011 at 7:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • aokguy

      Really, that is what you think about after reading or hearing this story????? Moron

      January 8, 2011 at 7:45 pm | Report abuse |
  2. iShane

    Less sensationalizing will do. We get it. Oh right, product to pimp.

    January 8, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Christie

    This is a tragedy for each and every one of us. I would like to know what politicians and pundits who have recently encouraged 2nd Amendment rights, display of guns, targeting the opposition and using violence, have to say now. Where do you think all of this starts? How sad! How sick! How nuts!

    January 8, 2011 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. GenericCereal

    Wasn't this the exact plot-line of the movie Machete?

    January 8, 2011 at 7:33 pm | Report abuse |
  5. laurien

    Someone tell Palin that's enough out of her. It's enough.

    January 8, 2011 at 7:37 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heywood

      Laurien... Other than in your mind, explain to us what the connection is. This is a non sequitur to most thinking people. Is this lucid thought by any stretch of your imagination?

      January 8, 2011 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Francesco

    Any other Americans want to give blind promotion to the tea party? Or, was this not enough for you?

    January 8, 2011 at 7:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heywood

      Francesco... You're projecting, man. The shooter is a typical left wing loon who loved the books Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto and Animal Farm. Check out his YouTube channel in the name Jared Lee Loughner.

      January 8, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Report abuse |
  7. kim

    I haven't followed politics for some time now and had no idea that Palin had a list.I can say that I'm not at all surprised to read of her list.
    She had no problem trying to incite the crowds against then Sen.Obama while running for vice president.It was to the point that some in the crowd were yelling for him to harmed.
    This isn't to say that she is the cause of this most recent tragic event.....but I hope she will consider that there are those among us that are unstable and shouldn't be encouraged by those in positions of power.
    My thoughts are with all the victims.

    January 8, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heywood

      Kim?... Palin has a "hit list"? Please expound.

      January 8, 2011 at 8:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Kimber67

    Let's sell more guns so another psychopath can buy one and take out more innocent people! I'm so tired of hearing about more shootings EVERY day. A school shooting isn't even front-page news anymore. Wake up, America!!! It's time to stop this insanity.

    January 8, 2011 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heywood

      Millions of guns register to law abiding citizens all over this great country. One very tragic, senseless, mass murder by a psychopath.

      Left or right, black or white, I think we can all agree that this is a horrific crime perpetrated by a deranged criminal. Someone do the math for Kimber

      Explain to us all why there aren't millions of senseless shootings.

      January 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  9. The Suspect Should Pay

    The 22 year old suspect shout get abused daily by his cell mates in jails, and we hear he is found dead. This would be justice for the 9 year old he killed.

    January 8, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Death Panel Sarah

    How many other tea-baggers with guns are out there?
    Maybe Faux will tone down the lies and retoric now!

    January 8, 2011 at 7:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heywood

      He's a left wing loon DPS. I know that this square peg doesn't fit into your round hole, but there it is anyway. Read his reading list on his YouTube channel. It's a veritable smörgåsbord of writings that are sacred to the left. Mein Kampf, The Communist Manifesto... etc. But thanks for playing...

      January 8, 2011 at 8:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      Hey stupid.....Mein Kampf is right wing and The communist Manifesto is left wing.....what's your point....You aren't one of those stupid idiots that don't know the difference between Nazis and communists, are you?

      January 8, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  11. spleeba-sigh

    not-a-nut is right, the judge that was killed was appointed by bush 41 , a republican, was he in Palin's cross-hairs? was he on her list?

    January 8, 2011 at 8:07 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      Collateral damage?

      January 8, 2011 at 9:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      Who knew a republican would be at a democratic meeting?
      He was obviously after democrats.

      January 8, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • sudable

      We don't even have the facts yet on this guy, or his motives...I can't stand Palin or Bachman and I am a hard core liberal. But to point fingers at the conservatives and the conservatives to point the finger at us liberals is wrong by all means..

      January 8, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gordon

      Thank-You for understanding the nature of his horror! (I tried in my post as well.)
      One more thing, Even though murderers don't deserve the spotlight, the main reason he attacked That rally is, he lived there.
      Regards again from Gord in Canada

      January 9, 2011 at 12:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. Ashamed

    I am saddened by today's events and appalled by the partisan rhetoric by too many posters on this article.

    January 8, 2011 at 8:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Heywood

      You're absolutely right 'Ashamed". I'm guilty as charged and will stop now. Thanks for pointing that out.

      January 8, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • Gordon

      Dear Ashamed,
      I'm sorry to you and the other person.
      I was replying to Your post. ----– Gordon from Canada

      January 9, 2011 at 12:30 am | Report abuse |
  13. Marty

    Where was the condemnation from the Republicans leaders when members of their party were making incendiary remarks about certain Democratic leaders? For example Sarah Palin posting on her web sites of political leaders with cross hair over their pictures. The imply threat of violence this past year happen to often as we observed right wing nuts appearing at political rallies strapped with their weapons. There are just too many code phrases out lately, for example we are going to take our country back implies that some sort of violence reaction is needed too back something that was taken from me. There is just too much paranoia today fuel by the Tea Party and the race baiting Republicans.

    January 8, 2011 at 8:12 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Worc.

    Rush & his crew will have no problem sleeping 2nite.

    God is standing with the familys.

    January 8, 2011 at 8:14 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Phil

    What's the over/under on Pelosi, Biden and Obama insinuating this was orchestrated by Republicans or Tea Partiers? I can just see these idiots now exploiting this tradgedy as a political platform: " saw what happened in Arizona...we can't let them stop us...we need your votes!"

    January 8, 2011 at 8:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Death Panel Sarah

      No, Phil.....that's is how the Republicans think.....(didn't YOU think of it?)

      January 8, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
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