NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday by a gunman who opened fire outside a Tucson grocery store during a meeting with voters, killing a federal judge and four others.

Giffords was among at least 10 people wounded, and the hospital said her outlook was optimistic as she was responding to commands from doctors despite having a bullet go through her head.

The death toll included a 9-year-old girl, a federal judge, and a staffer for the Democratic congresswoman.

LISTEN: 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan reports

Long Island Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy said she’s been looking over her shoulder for years, checking out the crowds at rallies and public events for anyone suspicious.

“There have been events where I have been notified, where the police were there and even took me to the event,” Rep. McCarthy said.

LISTEN: WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reports

However, McCarthy told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall that it’s a part of her job as a politician.

“The Capitol Hill police and the Nassau County police, they’re on top of everything,” she said. “They certainly are looking out for us, but we can’t change our lives – what are we supposed to do as members of Congress, or any politician?

“It’s part of my job. I want to hear from the people – whether it’s anger or not, I want to hear from them,” she said.

Bronx Congressman Eliot Engel said there are far-reaching implications of the attack.

“In this country, we conduct our elections with ballots, not bullets, and I think that this was not only an attack on her, but really an attack on America,” Rep. Engel told 1010 WINS’ Terry Sheridan.

Both Reps. McCarthy and Engel were shocked that such a heinous attack would be aimed at someone they consider a friend.

“She’s a wonderful, wonderful young lady,” McCarthy said. “She has a wonderful family…She’s just a wonderful person, and there’s no reason for that.”

“I’m shocked and saddened. Gabby Giffords is one of my closest friends in Congress,” Engel said. “She is a wonderful congresswoman, and a really nice, sweet, hardworking person, and I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to harm her. It’s just such a shock.”

For Rep. McCarthy, the tragedy served as a terrible reminder of the day that her husband was killed, and her son critically injured, during a shooting on a Long Island Rail Road train in 1993.

“They said, ‘oh my God, she probably won’t make it,’ and I said, ‘wait a minute, my son made it.’ I said, ‘you can’t give up hope until we know for sure what exactly is going on,’ but certainly my prayers go to the families.”

Congresswoman McCarthy has long been one of the nation’s most vocal advocates for gun control. She said attacks like this show the importance of fighting against gun violence.

“I wish I could say it’s better, [but] the assault weapons ban has expired,” she said. “When they were banned, they were expensive for gangs, and now we are seeing them again.”

Comments (12)
  1. aldous huxley says:

    No disrespect for Rep. Giffords, but I am significantly more saddened by the death of the 9 year old girl.

    And any elected official who uses this tragedy to push their agenda for stronger gun control is a piece of human garbage. This is NOT a gun control issue. Anyone who thinks that gun control would have prevented this has no clue as to what is happening in society today.

  2. Larry Schwarz says:

    If there is any case that warrants the death penalty,this is it.I doubt the shooter insane,he knew where she was,sounds like he knew what he was doing and planned this.

  3. androshi says:

    i really hate to say this but perhaps if we have the death penalty and show it on tv people would think more than once about doing stupid things.

    maybe if we stop the lawyers from painting a sad picture of the criminals and just accept the evil that they do we could truly punish them.

    this guy may not have acted alone. he needs a beat down ,let him spill his guts-he doesnt have the same rights as we do and give him the max sentence.

    he needs the death penalty and we the people need to see it.

    and those who didnt get a death sentence but did horrific crimes needs to get lobotomized.

  4. rodin says:

    In Tea Party Amerikkka, in Sarah Palin’s “crosshairs”, on Sarah Palin’s conscience.

    1. DanTe says:

      Considering the shooter was a long haired hippie. I would say it’s more of someone from your fascist libturd camp. You know, if people don’t agree with you, you take them out every way possible.

      A Republican would have just shot back, and not child would have been killed.

      1. Rodin says:

        Take a look at a current photo. INFORM YOURSELF before you froth.

        So, it’s Republicans who carry guns?

  5. Carlos Layentier says:

    Responding to the question about the “possible motivation” of the shooter in Arizona, I though of responding with a question of my own. In Mrs. Palin famous map of the US published by her a few weeks before the last congressional election, (remember) the map was populated with telescopic targets viewers. One of the “marks” depicted by Mrs. Palin’ creative map was aiming at the Congress Lady who got shop in the head by the killer.
    I wonder if the Federal Judge assassinated in the same incident, was also in Mrs. Palin list.
    Can anybody answer my curiosity? Of course, we’ll all know that if the Judge was also in Mrs. Palin list of targets it will be just pure coincidence.

  6. steve says:

    everyone IS allowed to own a gun. The problem is in NYC that doesn’t allow residents to. In other jurisdictions you are allowed to carry firearms.

  7. Wesson says:

    And do what? So people with emotional or psychological problem can have their guns ready to be whip out when they want want to get their emotion out? Should a judge carry a gun too?

  8. James says:

    Look, we are losing the war on gun control. It is time to allow all New Yorkers to carry guns in order to protect themselves and their families. Too many people are murdered in this city because only the lawless criminals carry guns and the innocent average citizens can’t. It’s time for a change! Allow everyone to arm themselves!

    1. Kras says:

      If everyone is allow to have gun, carry gun, to so called “protect themselves,” why bother with having an air force, navy, army, or police? Would some kook use their militant power to overthrow the US government, hold the law maker and judges in hostage, and start their own whatever-ism-party?

      It’s just madness. In places where everyone have and carry guns and weapons, such as post-war Iraq, some remote tribal area in Afghanistan, or former Yugoslavia, one would wonder how to govern these places with law and order, and enforce any law.

    2. WOODSIDE MIKEY says:


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