UPDATE: Congresswoman in critical condition, suspect in custody
By Joe Terrell| January 8, 2011 at 6:08 PM CST - Updated June 23 at 5:22 AM
TUCSON, AZ (RNN) - U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, D-AZ, remains in critical condition after being shot at point-blank range at a public event in Tucson, AZ.
In a press conference, the University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson confirmed that Giffords remains alive.
"At the current time, I'm very optimistic about her recovery," said Dr. Peter Rhee, trauma director.
The surgeon said that she was shot "through and through" in the head.
Giffords' surgery is now over. It is too early to know if she is responsive, as she remains under anesthesia. She will be transferred to the hospital's intensive care unit.
Rhee would not speculate on Giffords' overall recovery, as it remains too early to tell. But the outlook on the next 24 hours remains positive.
The UMC received 11 people. Five patients are currently in the operating room, five are in critical condition and one, a child, is dead.
"She is alive and in surgery right now," Slaten said.
Earlier, CNN and Fox News had both confirmed Giffords' death.
Authorities have one suspect, 22-year-old Jared Loughner of Tucson, in custody. Reports indicate that a bystander was able to apprehend him.
The shooting happened just after 10 a.m. at the Safeway on Ina and Oracle, Pima County Sheriff's Department spokesman Jason Ogan said.
Giffords, 40, was hosting a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a local Safeway grocery store.
The injured were taken to University Medical Center (UMC) in Tucson. Slaten confirmed that five to seven patients have been admitted.
Slaten said there were initially four fatalities, but would not confirm the identities.
Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-OH, said that he was horrified by the "senseless" attack on Giffords and her staff.
"An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve," he said. "Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who are injured and their families. This is a sad day for our country."
Gibbons' rabbi is en route to Tucson from Flagstaff, AZ.
"My heart is truly broken," said Rabbi Stephanie Aaron.
Giffords has served Arizona's eighth district in Congress since 2007.
Copyright 2010 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved. KOLD contributed to this report.