Obama declares moment of silence to honor victims of Arizona tragedy

WASHINGTON. January 10. KAZINFORM U.S. President Barack Obama has called on U.S. citizens to observe a moment of silence on Monday to show respect for the victims of the Arizona shooting that killed six people and wounded congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords. Kazinform refers to RIA Novosti.

"It will be a time for us to come together as a nation in prayer or reflection, keeping the victims and their families closely at heart," the U.S. president said in the statement issued on Sunday.

Six people were killed and 13 others were wounded in the shooting spree that took place when Giffords addressed her supporters in Tucson, Arizona, on Saturday.

Giffords, 40, was shot in the head and hospitalized in a critical condition. She underwent brain surgery, and doctors said they were "cautiously optimistic" about her recovery.

U.S. District Judge John Roll, Giffords' aide and a 9-year-old girl were among those killed in the shooting. The suspect, who was apprehended at the scene, has been identified as a 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner of Arizona. He used a 9-mm semi-automatic handgun in the attack.

The moment of silence, to be held at 11 a.m. Eastern Time, will "honor the innocent victims of the senseless tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., including those still fighting for their lives," Obama said in his statement.

The president signed a proclamation on Sunday calling for flags to be flown at half-staff. He also cancelled his trip to New York, scheduled for Tuesday, over the tragedy.

Giffords is known as a moderate centrist politician and a rising star among American lawmakers. A third-term Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives, she supported the right of Americans to bear arms and criticized existing immigration laws. Kazinform cites RIA Novosti. See www.en.rian.ru

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