DEER PARK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork/AP) — A Long Island representative held the first “Congress on Your Corner” event since the tragic shootings in Tuscon that left an Arizona congresswoman fighting for her life.

Before residents even walked into the event at the Deer Park Fire Department, they were greeted by a police officer outside the front door.

Congressman Steve Israel told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall that he felt it was very important to have a “Congress in Your Corner” event to meet the people in his district.

WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

“I reject that a gunman should shut down democracy, and I wanted to be one of the first to say, ‘we are not going to let this person affect our ability to serve you,’” Israel said.

Israel said he was looking into stepping up his own safety in the wake of the Tucson shooting. He told 1010 WINS that he would hold subsequent rallies at local firehouses, rather than outside, in the wake of the shooting rampage in Arizona.

“The Suffolk County Police Department this week came to our district office, took a look around, and made some common sense recommendations,” he said.

Arizona Representative Gabrielle Giffords, who was wounded in last weekend’s attack that killed six people, remains in critical condition at University Medical Center.

Doctors on Saturday removed Giffords’ breathing tube and could soon know if she can speak.

Giffords had an operation Saturday to replace the breathing tube with a tracheotomy tube in her windpipe. That allows her to breathe better and frees her from the ventilator.

Though Giffords had been breathing on her own since she was shot in the head Jan. 8, doctors had left the breathing tube in as a precaution. A feeding tube was also put in to provide nutrition. Those procedures are not out of the ordinary for brain-injured patients.

Giffords’ doctors have said they should be able to evaluate her ability to speak once the breathing tube is out.

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