U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona Democrat and the wife of NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, was shot through the head at a small political gathering in a Tucson, Ariz., grocery story on Saturday. She is in critical condition after undergoing surgery and a doctor said in a news conference Saturday afternoon that he is optimistic she will recover.
Among 11 people taken to University Medical Centre in Tucson after the shooting at a Safeway market, one - a child - has died, Peter Rhee, a surgeon, told reporters. Five people, including Giffords, are in critical condition and five others are undergoing surgery. Police report an additional six fatalities.
The surgeon said Giffords, 40, was shot "through and through" the head, and had undergone surgery. "I am very optimistic about her," Rhee said.
A NASA spokeswoman said Giffords' husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, who is scheduled to lead an April shuttle flight, is on personal leave.
Kelly's identical twin brother, Scott Kelly, also an astronaut, currently is serving aboard the space station as the commander. A NASA spokesman said Scott Kelly has been informed of the shooting.