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Monday
Jan102011

Rep. Giffords' Intern: 'Congresswoman Was Alert'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Daniel Hernandez, the intern described by some as the hero who assisted Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords immediately after Saturday's shooting, provided a first-hand account of the attack in Tucson, Ariz.

"When I heard gunshots, my first instinct was to head toward the congresswoman to make sure that she was okay," Hernandez told ABC News.  "Once I saw that she was down, and there were more than one victim, I went ahead and started doing the limited triage that I could with what I had."

Hernendez had volunteered to assist Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her staff at a meet-and-greet event designed to put the congresswoman in contact with her constituents.  The event took a tragic turn when Jared Loughner opened fire on the congresswoman, her staff and the participating constituents.

"When this happened, I kind of just shut off all emotion because I knew I wouldn't be any good to anyone if I had a breakdown," Hernendez remembered.  "I had to lift up the congresswoman because she was severely injured, and I wanted to make sure that she was able to breathe okay because there was so much blood."

Hernendez used smocks from the grocery store to bandage the wounded victims.

"The congresswoman was alert.  She was able to hold my hand when I asked her if she could hear me," said Hernandez.  "I wasn't able to get any words from her.  She may have been trying, but because of the way that I was having to hold her it was a lot easier to just 'if you can hear me Gabby just grab my hand to let me know that you're okay.'"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan102011

9/11 Baby Among Those Killed in Tucson

John and Roxanna Green are mourning the death of their 9-year-old daughter Christina-Taylor. Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- At just 9 years old, Christina-Taylor Green already had big plans to one day serve her country.

Christina-Taylor, who was the youngest of the six victims shot and killed Saturday during the shooting spree outside a Tucson, Ariz., grocery store, had gone to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' political event to "learn more about politics," according to her mother, Roxanna Green.

"As young as she was, Christina-Taylor talked about getting all the parties to come together so we could live in a better country," Green told ABC News.  "She was going to Giffords' event to ask questions about how she could help and to learn more about politics in our country."

Christina-Taylor, the granddaughter of former Phillies manager Dallas Green, was taken to Giffords' informal town hall meeting by a neighbor who was considered her pseudo-aunt, said her mother.

She died on the scene from a single bullet wound to her chest when alleged gunman Jared Loughner opened fire, shooting a total of 20 people.

Christina-Taylor was born on September 11th, 2001 had used her birthdate as a source of inspiration during her short life.  She was featured in a book about babies born on 9/11 called "Faces of Hope."

"She was very interested in politics since she was a little girl," Green said.  "I think that being born on 9/11 had a lot to do with that."

"She always thought about how she was born on 9/11, and she saw the positive in it," Green said.  "She thought of it as a day of hope and change, a chance for the country to come together to be united."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan092011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Responds to Commands Following Shooting

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is responding to simple commands but is still in critical condition after suffering a gunshot wound to the head Saturday, according to her doctors.

"She is able to communicate through simple commands," said Dr. Michael Lemole, a surgeon at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., who treated Giffords. "And we're very encouraged by that."

"But she's still in critical condition and brain swelling can occur at any point, but I'm cautiously optimistic," he added. "We don't know what her deficits will be in the future."

Giffords is currently in a medically induced coma that doctors say will help her brain rest. Doctors also had to decompress her eyes. Eyelids often swell when there is trauma to the brain.

Giffords, 40, was shot in the back of her head, the bullet crossing the left side of her brain and exiting just above her left eye, said Dr. Peter Rhee, the director of Trauma and Critical Care at the University Medical Center.

Fourteen other people were wounded and six killed during the assassination attempt on Giffords at a political event outside a Tucson grocery store Saturday morning.

The alleged gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, is in the custody of the Pima County Sheriff's Office. A criminal complaint filed in federal court Sunday afternoon charges Loughner with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the United States and two counts of intent to kill employees of the United States.

Giffords is unable to open her eyes and cannot speak because she is hooked up to a ventilator according to Rhee, but is able to respond when asked to squeeze her hand or hold up her fingers.

The dead have been identified as the 63-year-old Roll, 30-year-old Gabriel Zimmerman (Giffords' director of community outreach), 76-year-old Dorthy Morris, 76-year-old Dorwin Stoddard, 79-year-old Phyllis Scheck, and 9-year-old Christina Green, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Loughner legally purchased a Glock 19- 9mm gun at Sportsman's Warehouse in Tucson on Nov. 30, law enforcement officials said. It's unclear if he bought the extended clips used with the gun during the mass shooting. An extended clip holds 30 rounds, officials said.

Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik described the alleged shooter as "mentally unstable."

Giffords, a representative for Arizona's 8th District who just won reelection to a third term, has been the target of conservative political opponents in recent months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan092011

Person of Interest in Arizona Shooting Is Cab Driver

Photo Courtesy - Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- The person of interest sought for questioning in the shooting of Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is a cab driver who says he drove suspect Jared Lee Loughner to the site, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Authorities released a photo of a middle-aged white male possibly connected with the suspect in Saturday's mass shooting that killed six people, wounded 14 others and left an Arizona congresswoman in critical condition at a town hall event in Tucson, Ariz.

The Pima County Sheriff's Department said the man drove Loughner to the Safeway, and then followed him inside to question him about payment.

At a press conference in Tucson Sunday, FBI Director Robert Mueller said the individual was being sought for questioning because he was seen entering a grocery store near the event with Loughner, who has been arrested for the shooting of Rep. Giffords and 19 others, but authorities did not believe that the second individual was also a shooter. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan092011

Facebook Shutting Down Shop, Abandoning Users?

Photo Courtesy - NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Rumors that Facebook will be shutting down on March 15 have gone viral across the web, causing users to question what will happen to their photos and other content that they have shared on the world's largest social networking site.

The flurry of online chatter that the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company would shut down its servers comes just days after it had been valued at $50 billion after a $500 million infusion of cash by investment bank Goldman-Sachs.

The story seems to have been perpetuated by supermarket tabloid the Weekly World News, which Saturday published an article headlined "Facebook Will End March 15th!"

The Weekly World News, which is known for stories on alien abductions and the infamous "bat boy," also reported that Facebook indicated that users should remove all of their personal information and content from the site by March 15. According to the article, after that all photos, notes, links, and videos would be removed.

Facebook has yet to officially respond to the article. 

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan092011

Bomb Threat at Fort Lauderdale Airport

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla.) -- A Spirit Airlines jet from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Atlanta returned to the gate before takeoff Saturday evening after someone found a threatening note in a seatpocket.

The note apparently claimed there was a bomb on board the plane.  None was found after crews searched the aircraft.

The flight ultimately made its way to its intended destination.  It is not known who wrote the note or how it came to be in the seat pocket.

Copyright 2011 ABC News radio

Sunday
Jan092011

Two Dead in Baltimore Nightclub Shooting

Image Courtesy - Getty Images(BALTIMORE) -- No arrests have been made in the deadly shooting early Sunday morning outside a Baltimore nightclub.  A 33-year-old Baltimore police officer and an unidentified man are dead and three women are injured.

Police were called out to a fight that started around 1 a.m. inside "Club Select" and spilled outside.  The officers who arrived first called for backup.

Police say officers fired their weapons but it is not yet clear whether any civilians used firearms.  There were dozens of witnesses and many of them were being questioned early Sunday morning.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan092011

Major Ice Storm Zeroes In on South, Snow in the West

File photo. Photo Courtesy - ABC News(ATLANTA) -- A huge, ugly ice storm is targeting much of the southern United States with heavy weather expected to hit beginning late Sunday.  Ten states, from Texas to the Carolinas were under winter weather watches or advisories from Sunday into Monday.  Drivers can expect some treacherous conditions and air travelers might want to be prepared for some delays.

Three to six inches of snow plus heavy icing is forecast for many areas.  In Atlanta the snow was predicted to hit at about midnight and leave a three-to-four inch coating of snow, to then be covered by ice.  Memphis can expect five to seven inches of snow and the area stretching from Texarkana, Texas, to El Dorado, Arkansas, will be the hardest-hit.  Forecasters are expecting seven inches of snow by Sunday night.

The storm will not spend all its capital in the southland, heading up the coast to hit northeastern states by mid-week.  Forecasters expect up to one foot of snow from Philadelphia to New York City to Boston.

There's already plenty of snow on the ground in a lot of U.S. cities.  From Friday morning to Saturday evening, three feet of snow fell on South Bend, Indiana, with a little more than two feet falling in an 18-hour period.  Denver can look forward to up to ten inches of snow Sunday and then the west is likely to be hit by an arctic blast of cold.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan092011

Jared Lee Loughner: School Wanted Mental Evaluation

Photo Courtesy - MySpace(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect in custody following the murder of six people in an apparent assassination attempt on Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, purchased a semi-automatic handgun two months after his college said he would have to undergo a mental evaluation before returning from suspension, sources told ABC News.

The gun, a Glock 19 9mm, was purchased legally from a sports store in Tucson on Nov. 30, 2010, federal law enforcement officials told ABC News. Two months before, on Oct. 7, Pima Community College sent a letter to Loughner's parents stating that if Loughner wished to return to the school, he would have to "obtain a mental health clearance indicating, in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the College does not present a danger to himself or others," the school said in a statement.

The school said Loughner had as many as five run-ins with campus police for "classroom and library disruptions," and was suspended after college police discovered a YouTube video apparently created by Loughner in which he claimed the college is "illegal." Rather than return to school, Loughner dropped out, the statement said.

Prima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who only identified the shooter as a 22-year-old white male, said the evidence online and information they've received from two schools that Loughner attended led him to believe the gunman was "unstable."

Despite being shot in the head, Congresswoman Giffords survived the attack and doctors said Saturday they were "optimistic" about her recovery. Federal judge John Roll, a 9-year-old girl, and a member of Giffords' staff were killed in the attack. The staff member, Gabe Zimmerman, was Giffords' director of community outreach.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Jan092011

Federal Judge Among Victims in Arizona Shooting

Photo Courtesy - Roll Call/Getty Images (WASHINGTON) -- One of the victims in Saturday's deadly shooting in Tucson, Ariz., was Judge John Roll, 63, who had served on the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona since 1991.

U.S. District Judge Roll was nominated to the bench by President George H.W. Bush, after being recommended by Sen. John McCain. Before that, Roll served on the Arizona Court of Appeals, where he was appointed in 1987 after a stint as the assistant U.S. attorney in Arizona. In 2006 he had become the chief judge for the District of Arizona.

Roll was familiar with the hostility and controversy that could surround political issues in the state of Arizona. In 2009, Roll and his wife received protection from the U.S. Marshall's Service after he began receiving death threats. At the time he was presiding over a controversial civil rights lawsuit filed by illegal immigrants against an Arizona rancher. Roll told one Arizona paper that it was an "unnerving and invasive" experience.

Before taking his seat on the bench, Roll was considered to be a Republican, but his friends insist his politics never played a role in his decisions once he was on the bench.

While Roll made his career in Arizona, he grew up in Pittsburgh, moving west to attend the University of Arizona, where he would go on to receive both his bachelor's and law degree.

Roll is survived by his wife and three children.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio