This is breaking but ominous. What message was this shooter trying to send?

Gabrielle Giffords, a Democratic member of the US House of Representatives, was shot in the head at close range in front of hundreds of people.

A spokeswoman denied earlier reports that she had died and told ABC News she was in surgery.

A man was arrested after the shooting at a supermarket in Tucson where Ms Giffords was meeting constituents.

* Represents the eighth district of Arizona in the House
* First elected in 2006, re-elected to third term last November
* Has focused on immigration reform, military issues, stem-cell research and alternative energy
* Served in Arizona Senate 2003 to 2005
* Served in Arizona House 2001 to 2003
* Grew up in Tucson, Arizona
* Married to US astronaut Mark Kelly

Members of her staff were among up to 12 other people who were also shot. Reports say one of her aides has died.

Ms Giffords, 40, who represents the eighth district of Arizona in the House, is married to space shuttle astronaut Mark Kelly.

She has served on several congressional committees, including those covering the armed services and foreign affairs.

Jeff Rogers, chairman of the local Democrats, said Ms Giffords was "a rising star" in the party with hopes of eventually winning the Arizona Senate seat.

"That is terrible news," he told BBC News, describing her as "a wonderful congresswoman and a wonderful person".

He added: "We just can't continue to have this kind of carnage on school campuses and against public officials."

The Speaker of the House of the House or Representatives, John Boehner, said: "I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff.

"An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country."
I'm kind of a gossip hound, but watching the media whip the small fires into giant forest fires so that they can cover the result is infuriating.