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Suspected US assassin to show in court

[ 2011-01-11 13:21]     字号 [] [] []  
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A 22-year-old man charged with trying to assassinate United States congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords by shooting her in the head during a bloody rampage that killed six people and wounded 14 was due to appear in court on Monday (local time) on charges of murder and attempted murder.

Doctors are optimistic that Giffords will recover after undergoing emergency brain surgery, but she remained in critical condition in a Tucson hospital.

The shooting spree in Tucson on Saturday has fueled debate about extreme political rhetoric in the US after an acrimonious campaign for congressional elections in November.

The US government has charged the suspected shooter, Jared Lee Loughner, with two counts of first-degree murder, one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress and two other counts of attempted murder.

President Barack Obama called on Americans to observe a moment of silence on Monday at 11 am to commemorate the victims of the shooting.

FBI Director Robert Mueller cautioned public officials to be on alert, but said there was no information to suggest a further specific threat.

Mueller said "hate speech and other inciteful speech" presented a challenge to law enforcement officials, especially when it resulted in "lone wolves" undertaking attacks.

Loughner was due to appear in court in Phoenix at 2 pm on Monday, the Justice Department said, as reports emerged of a troubled man who had been asked to leave a local college for disruptive behavior.

He will be represented in court by Judy Clarke, the lawyer who defended Unabomber Ted Kaczynski, the federal defenders' office said. "Our understanding is that Judy Clarke is assigned to the case and she has accepted," said Manny Tarango, a spokesman for the US Attorney in Phoenix.

Investigators said they had found an envelope at Loughner's residence with the handwritten phrases "I planned ahead" and "My assassination", along with the name

"Giffords" and what appeared to be Loughner's signature.

The suspect opened fire with a semi-automatic Glock pistol while the Democratic congresswoman was attending a political meeting in a supermarket parking lot. US federal judge John Roll and a 9-year-old girl were among the six people killed.

Giffords, a 40-year-old Democrat, was in critical condition after surgery, but was able to follow simple commands, such as holding up two fingers when asked, doctors at University Medical Center in Tucson said.

A single bullet traveled the length of her brain on the left side, hitting an area that controls speech. Given the devastating wound, doctors said they were uncertain about the extent of brain damage she may have suffered.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Suspected US assassin to show in court

Suspected US assassin to show in court

Todd Balazovic is a reporter for the Metro Section of China Daily. Born in Mineapolis Minnesota in the US, he graduated from Central Michigan University and has worked for the China Daily for one year.