On the steps of the nation's capitol and across the country; there is heavy mix of shock and sadness.  Members of Congress from from western Washington and other leaders immediately issued statements denouncing the violence and expressing concern for Gabrielle Giffords.  

Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon has been friends with Giffords for about eleven years.  "This is not just a member of Congress, I know Gabbi as an elected official and she's a friend," Reardon said.  "If you met her, you'd be captivated by her smile and her spirit."

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer was visibly shaken as she spoke with reporters about the attack that also killed a federal judge and a nine year old girl.  "In our worst nightmares this never could have imagined or taken place" Brewer said.  

Rep. Giffords was at a Tucson grocery store for an event called "Congress on Your Corner".  Constituents were invited to come and talk to Giffords face-to-face.  Those who know her including the president say she enjoyed these meetings.  "it's not surprising that today Gabby was doing what she always does listening to the hopes and concerns of her neighbors," President Obama said.  "That is the essence of what our democracy is all about."

Capitol police issued an alert to members of Congress asking them to vigilant about their security.  Giffords is a three term democrat who narrowly won re-election in hotly contested race.  Both Democrats and Republicans denounced the violence, but Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik questioned whether the shooting was the result of divisive politics.  "That may be free speech but it's not without consequences," he said at a news conference.  

There are concerns the shooting could discourage elected leaders from holding these face-to-face meetings.  For now, the focus is on Giffords, her family and others hurt in the attacks.

"She's a very spirited lady, just wonderful to be around; she's a fighter," Reardon said.

Several other local leaders released the following statements today after news that Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and others were shot at an event in Tucson, AZ this morning.

Today, U.S. Senator Maria Cantwell (D-WA) released the following statement on the shooting at Democratic Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' event in Tucson, Arizona:

"I am shocked and saddened by the news of the shooting of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

"An unthinkable tragedy has occurred injuring this bright, talented Congresswoman.

"She is an incredible leader on important 21st century issues of clean energy, border security, and the innovation economy.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with her family, friends, and Congressional staff. And our prayers also go out to all those who lost their lives or have been injured by this senseless shooting."


Statement by King County Executive Dow Constantine on shooting of Arizona Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords

"My thoughts are for the speedy recovery of Congresswoman Giffords and the others wounded in this unspeakable assault on one of our nation's elected leaders. My deepest condolences go to the families of all those wounded or killed. The victims of this senseless attack were Americans taking time to participate in our democracy."   

"We don't know yet whether the politically-charged use of gun imagery targeting the Congresswoman contributed to this despicable shooting, but the Congresswoman herself warned that such language and actions can have consequences. We as a community must condemn those who exploit the language of violence, and demand a more civil discourse in the public and political arena."


Rep. Jay Inslee Statement Arizona Shooting this Morning

Washington, DC - This afternoon Rep. Jay Inslee (WA-01) released the following statement regarding the tragic shooting in Arizona this morning involving Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, her staff and others:

"My thoughts are with Gabrielle Giffords, her staff, the other victims and their families and I send my heartfelt condolences to those families who suffered an unbearable loss this morning.  I grew to know Gabby through our work on clean energy issues from which I experienced first-hand her dedication and vision.  I wish for her full and speedy recovery and in the meantime I ask all Washingtonians to join me in supporting the victims and their families."


U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen (WA-02) released the following statement in response to news reports that Representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot while at a public event in Arizona.

"I am shocked to hear of this tragedy. This is an unforgivable, monstrous act that has no excuse.

"My wife Tiia and I are keeping Representative Giffords and her family in our thoughts and prayers.  I serve with Gabby on the House Armed Services Committee. She is a dedicated public servant."


Senator Patty Murray Statement on Today's Shooting in Arizona

"My thoughts and prayers are with all of the victims and families affected by this horrific tragedy. All Americans understand that this kind of senseless violence has no place in our society and I join with them in condemning this act and hoping for the very best for all those who are fighting to survive."


Statement from Snohomish County Executive Aaron Reardon on the shooting of U.S. Rep Gabrielle Giffords and others this morning.

"This morning's shooting in Tucson, Arizona, of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others is nothing more than a despicable act of cowardice and nothing less than an assault on the very fabric of our representative form of democracy. I have known Rep. Giffords for more than 10 years. We each served in our respective state legislatures and met through our work with the Democratic Leadership Council.  She's a friend that I have enjoyed working with and have been proud to watch grow on the national stage.

"Rep. Giffords has always focused first on the needs of her constituents in Arizona and strived to be approachable and accessible to all for whom she worked. Our form of government allows for openness and direct dialogue between the people and their elected office holders. Rep. Giffords embraces this facet of our system and always made the effort to listen and communicate directly with her constituents on the important issues affecting their lives.  It is through this open and unguarded door that she and others were heinously attacked.  

"My thoughts and prayers are with Gabbie and her husband, Mark, and all the families impacted by this despicable act of cowardice. I respectfully ask that others pray for them as well, and that as a nation, we condemn the violent ignorance and hate that does nothing to further the lives of the people in this country but only serves to undermine the integrity of our Republic."


Congressman Dave Reichert (WA-08) today released this statement following the shooting of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Arizona

"I am shocked and saddened to learn of today's vicious, violent attack on Rep. Giffords and others in Tucson this morning. My thoughts and prayers are with her and her loved ones at this tragic time, and we are holding all of those injured in this attack in our hearts and prayers for a speedy recovery. We must remember them, and keep strong for them at this difficult and tenuous time.  "Events such as these shake us to our core; they make us feel vulnerable and remind us that each life is precious. We as Americans must stand tall in the face of such despicable, horrifying acts. We must not - we will not - tolerate such violence in this country, a country that was founded on the ideals of tolerance and respect of the views and rights of all Americans. Rep. Giffords serves the citizens of this country, and we must stand strong together on her behalf, and on behalf of all of those affected by today's tragedy."


Congressman Adam Smith (WA-09), Ranking Member of the House Armed Services Committee, released the following statement in reaction to the shooting in Tucson, Arizona:

"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."