Hawaii political leaders said yesterday they were shocked to hear of the shooting of U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in her home state of Arizona.
"I'm hoping and praying that Gabby will pull through along with the others," said U.S. Rep. Mazie Hirono, who is in Washington, D.C. "To learn that some people were seriously injured, including Gabby, was just devastating.
"It's such a shock, especially for this to happen while Gabby was reaching out to her constituents," Hirono said. "She's really a wonderful, warm person, very dedicated."
Hirono said she developed a close relationship with Giffords after they entered the House together in 2006.
"Our 2006 class was a particularly close class among the Democrats," Hirono said. "We would get together once in a while at each other's homes and do potluck and do various things together. Gabby was very much a part of that."
Gov. Neil Abercrombie, who resigned from the House last year to run for the state's top executive job, served with Giffords on the House Armed Services Committee.
"She is a true patriot and friend," Abercrombie said. "I am hopeful for her successful recovery."
The shooting was "insensible and tragic," the governor added.
U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa, who was sworn in last week, said, "It's my sincere hope that those responsible for this despicable act are punished to the fullest extent that the law allows."
She added: "There is no room in our country for this kind of unspeakable violence."
Former Hawaii Republican Rep. Charles Djou, who also served on the Armed Services Committee with Giffords, said in a statement:
"My family and I are shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic shooting of my friend Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. ... I will always remember Gabbie for reaching out to Republicans and Democrats alike to find solutions toward bringing down federal spending and establishing a strong national defense. My heart goes out to Rep. Giffords' family and the families of her staff on this tragic day."
Djou and Giffords co-sponsored the Truth in Spending Act in the 111th Congress and co-authored editorials advocating for restraint in federal spending, Djou said.
Giffords was shot in the head and an unknown number of others were wounded yesterday when an assailant sprayed bullets into an area where the Democratic lawmaker was meeting with constituents in her Arizona district, congressional officials said.
Giffords, 40, was re-elected to her third term last November. She was a member of the Arizona House and Senate before going to Washington.
"We're all in a state of shock," Hirono said. "Let's just pray."
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