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Monday
Jan102011

Landslide Forces California Residents from Their Homes

Photo Courtesy - KABC-TV Los Angeles(SAN CLEMENTE, Calif.) -- Several residents of a California town were displaced over the weekend by a landslide that created a 25-50-foot vertical drop outside their homes.

Residents were allowed into their homes on Saturday to pick up personal items, but authorities would not allow them to stay overnight.

One local resident told ABC News affiliate KABC-TV the area is not equipped to handle the unusual amount of rain that fell in recent weeks.

"The pipes that had been carrying the water just don't work,” said Dennis Baldridge, “so the water from the rain had nowhere to go but to soak into the earth."

Geologists are working to determine what caused the landslide.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan102011

Secretary Clinton Calls Tucson Shooter Jared Loughner an 'Extremist'

Photo Courtesy - U.S. State Department(ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates) -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton labeled Jared Loughner, the Tucson shooter, an "extremist" at a town hall meeting Monday at Abu Dhabi's Zayed University for a taped show on MBC television called Sweet Talk.

"Look, we have extremists in my country," she said.  "A wonderful, incredibly brave young woman congressmember, Congresswoman Giffords was just shot in our country.  We have the same kinds of problems.  So rather than standing off from each other, we should work to try to prevent the extremists anywhere from being able to commit violence."

The label "extremist" in that context suggests a political motivation.  President Obama and officials in the law enforcement community have been more circumspect in their public remarks, suggesting it is too early to ascribe motive.

Clinton also said in the town hall, in the context of Mideast peace, "the extremists and their voices, the crazy voices that sometimes get on the TV, that's not who we are, that's not who you are, and what we have to do is get through that and make it clear that that doesn't represent either American or Arab ideas or opinions."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan102011

Moment of Silence to Be Held for Tucson Victims; Flags Lowered

Photo Courtesy - Tom Willett/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama has called on Americans to observe a moment of silence Monday for the victims of the Tucson, Arizona shooting.

Obama made the announcement Sunday, saying, “It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart.”

The moment of silence will be held Jan. 10 at 11 a.m. EST.

The Supreme Court will conduct their opening arguments earler than usual to be able to participate in the moment of silence.

The president also ordered all federal government flags to be flown at half-staff until the sun sets on Jan. 14.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan102011

Alleged Tucson Shooter to Make First Appearance in Federal Court Today

Photo Courtesy - Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- The suspect in Saturday's Tucson, Arizona shooting that left six people dead and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords critically injured is expected to be arraigned in federal court Monday.

The alleged gunman, Jared Loughner, is being tranferred 115 miles away from Tucson to Phoenix, where he will make his initial court appearance.  The 22-year-old will stand before U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence Anderson for the legal formality to make him aware of the five federal charges against him.

Loughner was charged with 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.

Anderson was reappointed to the federal bench in 2006 in an order signed by U.S. District Judge John Roll, Arizona's chief federal judge.  Roll was among those killed in Saturday's shooting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan102011

Tucson Shooting Puts Arizona's Gun Culture in Spotlight

Photo Courtesy - Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- In the aftermath of Saturday's Tucson shooting that has left six dead and Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in critical condition, many are looking at who and what is to blame in the world of Arizona's politics and gun control.

Arizona's gun laws are among the nation's least restrictive, where guns are allowed in several public spaces and buildings and concealed weapons can be carried without a permit by those qualified to own a gun.

"I have never been a proponent of letting everybody in this state carry weapons under any circumstances that they want.  And that's almost where we are," Pico County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik said at a press conference Sunday.

Rep. Emmanuel Cleaver, of Missouri's 5th district, is pointing to heightened language of discourse across the political spectrum, and reminding leaders that words have actions.

"We have a society that is trained to hate their government, and whether Rep. Giffords was shot because of her positions or whatever is irrelevant," Cleaver said.

"There is a great deal of animosity between elected officials and their constituency, we have created a monster," he added.

Congresswoman Giffords had encountered that monster before.  In 2009, someone left a gun at one of her town hall meetings on healthcare reform.  Giffords refused to let the strong feelings of her constituents intimidate her.

"My belief is you've got to do your job, your job is to be a representative, and that's not just a job title, that's a job description.  So if you're gonna represent people, you've got to get out and understand what they're thinking," she said at the time.

Giffords counts herself an opponent of gun control.  In fact, she owns a Glock 9mm handgun, like the weapon used to shoot her.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan102011

Jared Loughner Radically Changed Before Alleged Shooting, Friend Says

Photo Courtesy - Myspace(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- A longtime friend of Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect in custody following the murder of six people in an apparent assassination attempt on Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, said there was a mysterious, significant change in him a year before the shooting.

"He was a good person that just somehow changed so much," former classmate and friend Tong Shan told ABC News in an exclusive interview.  "I don't know what the hell happened to him."

When she heard news reports of Loughner's arrest in connection with the deadly attack, she said, "I was shocked, but I believed it was him."

According to court documents released Sunday, authorities discovered a safe in Loughner's home with a thank-you letter from Giffords for attending a Congress on Your Corner event in 2007 -- the same kind of event Loughner allegedly assaulted Saturday.  Another envelope said "I planned ahead," "My assassination" and "Giffords" and bore what appears to be Loughner's signature, the documents said.

Shan said she became friends with Loughner the day the two graduated from high school and also had class together at Pima Community College in 2007.  She said the two would hang out often after class but lost touch after the semester ended until they reconnected in the summer of 2010 when, Shan said, Loughner acted radically different.

"I don't know what might have caused him to change, but from the way he was talking to me [online]... you can see.  It was just questions and questions and random, weird questions that didn't go together," she said.  "He wanted to know everything... He would just trip out."

Said Shan, "I don't know why it didn't jump out at me, like, 'Hey, something's wrong."

Shan last spoke to Loughner in October, after he was suspended and dropped out of college and before he purchased a semi-automatic handgun from a gun shop in Tucson.  But she said while Loughner was "anti-government," he was never violent and never mentioned plans to buy a gun.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jan102011

Woman Wrestled Fresh Ammo Clip from Tucson Shooter as He Tried to Reload

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Patricia Maisch looks like a grandmother, but she is being hailed as a hero for helping to stop alleged Tucson shooter Jared Loughner by wrestling away a fresh magazine of bullets as he tried to reload.

Maisch, 61, effectively disarmed the shooter as several men pounced on him and threw him to ground. As they struggled to hold him down, Maisch joined the scrum on the ground, clinging to the gunman's ankles.

Maisch and her fellow heroes -- identified as Bill Badger, Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zimudie -- stopped the carnage after 20 people were shot, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Six people died.

"[I] knew right away it was a gun... I heard a continuation of shots," Maisch told a news conference Sunday.
Maisch, who has a crown of snow-white hair, was standing towards the back of the line to greet and snap a photo with Giffords at the "Congress in Your Corner" event at a Safeway grocery store.

Speaking to the press Sunday, Maisch recalled how she stopped Loughner as he tried to reload his Glock 9 mm weapon.

"I could see him coming. [He] shot the lady next to me," Maisch said.

As he was shooting, she said, she was expecting to be hit and she wondered what it would feel like.

There was "lots of blood and confusion," she said.

She considered trying to run away, she said, but thought that would make her more of a target, so she laid down on the ground. But then something unexpected happened.

"Then he was next to me on the ground," she said. "The gentleman knocked him down. I kneeled over him. He was pulling a magazine [to reload] and I grabbed the magazine and secured that. I think the men got the gun, and I was able to get the magazine."

Maisch said Badger and Sulzgeber both sat on the gunman while she held his ankles down. Police said that Zimudie helped by hanging on to Loughner's legs.

Sulzgeber was reportedly standing with his wife, third in line to meet with Giffords, while Zimudie was in the nearby Walgreens and came running out once he heard the shooting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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







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