U.S. Congressman Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) issued a statement Saturday afternoon describing House of Representatives colleague Gabrielle Giffords, a victim in a mass shooting earlier during the day, as “humble, friendly, capable and down to earth.”
Giffords, an Arizona Democrat beginning her third term in Congress, was speaking at a Safeway in Tucson when a gunman identified as Jared Loughner opened fire. She is listed in critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound to the head. Reports indicate the bullet passed through her brain.
“Gabby Giffords is one of the nicest people I've ever met,” Cooper said. “I always worried about her husband, [astronaut] Capt. Mark Kelly, when he was up in space or piloting a Navy plane. It turned out that the real threat was in Arizona."
Cooper, who represents Tennessee’s 5th Congressional District, has enjoyed a close working relationship with Giffords since she began her work in Congress after first being elected in 2006.
“There is no finer person than Gabby Giffords,” Cooper said. “Please pray for her and all the other victims of the shooting.”
Reports indicate 19 people were shot at Giffords’ “Congress on Your Corner” event. Three of those shot include members of the congresswoman's Arizona-based staff. Six have died, including one of Giffords’ aides, while nine are in critical condition at the University of Arizona Medical Center.
U.S. District Judge John Roll and a 9-year-old child were among those killed in the attack.