MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is showing positive signs in her fight to survive. Giffords was shot in the head outside a “Congress on The Corner” gathering outside a Tucson grocery store on Saturday.
In all, 20 people were shot — six were killed. Among the dead is 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. Her neighbor took her to meet the congresswoman because of Green’s interest in politics.
Arizona’s Chief Federal Judge John Roll had just stopped by to see his friend, Giffords, after attending Mass.
One of Giffords aides also died. As did three constituents in their 70s.
Police believe 22-year-old Jared Loughner acted alone when he opened fire on the crowd waiting to hear from Giffords.
Doctors say Giffords remains heavily sedated. Although she is in intensive care and on a ventilator, they are encouraged by her ability to follow simple commands.
Four people are credited with saving dozens of people outside the Safeway grocery store. The shooter tried to reload his weapon while struggling with two men who tackled him. A 61-year-old Tucson woman grabbed the magazine of ammo.
Giffords’ 20-year-old intern Daniel Hernandez used his hands to apply pressure to the gunshot wound to Giffords’ head while holding her in his lap.
“She wasn’t talking to me at the time, however, she was communicating by squeezing my hand when I would ask her a question,” Hernandez said.
Mourners continue to pile flowers, signs, candles and stuffed animals in front of the Tucson hospital where many of those injured in the shooting are recovering.
Loughner was charged on Sunday with five federal crimes including attempted assassination of a congressperson and two counts of first degree murder.
A second man who police had called a “person of interest” was cleared after it was determined he was the cab driver who drove Loughner to the grocery store where the town hall meeting was taking place.
Investigators searched the home where Loughner lived with his parents. Inside a safe they found a letter Giffords sent Loughner in 2007 thanking him for attending an event.
They also discovered an envelope apparently signed by Loughner that had the phrases: “I planned ahead,” “my assassination” and “Giffords” on it.
Members of a Tucson congregation began mourning 9-year-old Green who was killed in the attack. She was born on 9/11 and wanted to meet Giffords after she was elected to the student council.
Her father told CBS News he is angry but leaving it in God’s hands.
“She was born and she left us in very tragic moments in United States history. Her life wasn’t all like that,” said John Green.
Loughner’s first court appearance is set for Monday afternoon. The FBI is going through Loughner’s computer looking for signs of a possible motive.
Right now, investigators do not have a motive for the shooting. Loughner could face the death penalty if found guilty.