Arizona shootout: Obama says nation is grieving

"All of us are still grieving and in shock from the tragedy that took place. Gabby Giffords and others are still fighting to recover. Families are still absorbing the enormity of their losses," Obama told reporters at the White House after a meeting with his French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy.

"We have a criminal investigation that is ongoing and charges that no doubt will be brought against the perpetrator of this heinous crime," he said.

"I think it's important for us to also focus, though, on the extraordinary courage that was shown during the course of these events: a 20-year-old college student who ran into the line of fire to rescue his boss; a wounded woman who helped secure the ammunition that might have caused even more damage; the citizens who wrestled down the gunman."

"Part of what I think that speaks to is the best of America, even in the face of such mindless violence," Obama said in his brief opening remarks.
President Sarkozy said the French people were deeply moved and upset at the tragedy.

Meanwhile, the doctors treating Giffords said there was no change in her condition overnight, which is a good sign. "At this phase in the game, no change is good, and we have no change. That is to say, she's still following those basic commands. On top of that, the CAT scans are showing that there is no progression of that swelling. We're not out of the woods yet," Dr Michael Lemole said.

"That swelling can sometimes take three days or five days to maximise. But every day that goes by and we don't see an increase, we're slightly more optimistic," said Dr Lemole, is the section chief, Neurosurgery, at Tucson's University Medical Center, Arizona.

Two other patients, injured during shooting incident continued to remain critical, he said at a news conference. The 40-year-old Congresswoman was shot in the back of her head at a public function held at a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona.

Jared Lee Loughner, the alleged shooter, appeared in a Phoenix courtroom on afternoon amidst tight security. With his head shaved and wearing a prison uniform, the 22-year-old told the court he understood his rights.

Loughner has been charged on five counts – two of murder and three of attempted murder, according to the charge sheet filed by Arizona US Attorney Dennis K Burke.

Federal investigative authorities say Loughner tried to kill Giffords. In an affidavit filed before the court, they alleged the suspect had planned the attack in advance. A search warrant was executed at Loughner's home wherein the authorities found a letter inside a safe that Giffords wrote to Loughner on August 30, 2007, thanking him for attending a 'Congress on Your Corner' event, according to an FBI agent's affidavit filed with a five-count criminal complaint.

"Also recovered in the safe was an envelope with handwriting on the envelope stating "I planned ahead" and "My assassination" and the name "Giffords," along with what appears to be LOUGHNER's signature," the criminal complaint reads.

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