On January 8, 2011, U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords and eighteen other people were shot during a public meeting held in a supermarket parking lot in Casas Adobes, near Tucson, Arizona. Six of those shot died, including Arizona District Court Chief Judge John Roll, one of Rep. Giffords' staffers, and a nine-year-old child. Giffords was holding a constituent meeting called "Congress on Your Corner" in the parking lot of a Safeway store when Jared Lee Loughner drew a pistol and shot her in the head, subsequently firing on other people. One additional person was injured in the immediate aftermath of the shooting. News reports identified the target of the attack as Giffords, a Democrat representing Arizona's 8th congressional district. She was shot through the head at point-blank range, and her medical condition was initially described as "critical".
Loughner, a 22-year-old Tucson man, was arrested at the scene. Federal prosecutors filed five charges against him, including the attempted assassination of a member of Congress and the assassination of a federal judge. Court filings include notes allegedly handwritten by Loughner indicating he planned to assassinate Giffords. The motive for the shooting remains unclear; Loughner did not cooperate with authorities, invoking his right to remain silent. Loughner was found by a judge to be incompetent to stand trial based on two medical evaluations.