Injured US congresswoman’s condition improves to ’serious’ after successful procedures

The condition of a U.S. congresswoman wounded in a Jan. 8 assasination attempt improved to serious Sunday after procedures to remove a ventilator were successful.

TUCSON, Ariz. — The condition of a U.S. congresswoman wounded in a Jan. 8 assasination attempt improved to serious Sunday after procedures to remove a ventilator were successful.

Doctors decided to upgrade Rep. Gabrielle Giffords’ condition from critical because the tracheotomy done a day earlier went well, and Giffords was breathing on her own, hospital spokeswoman Katie Riley said.

Giffords was one of 19 people shot at a Safeway store Jan. 8. Six people were killed.

Meanwhile, a week after the Tucson supermarket massacre, a shooting victim became distraught during a televised town hall meeting and was arrested, authorities said.

James Eric Fuller, a self-described liberal and military veteran, started ranting at the end of the program. He took a picture of a local tea party leader and yelled “you’re dead” before calling others in the church a bunch of “whores,” authorities said.

Deputies arrested him and called a doctor. They decided he should be taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation, said Pima County sheriff’s spokesman Jason Ogan said.

No one answered the door Sunday at Fuller’s home.

In media interviews and on the Internet, Fuller, a former limousine driver and Census worker, has said he worked hard to get Giffords re-elected in her conservative-leaning district. He was going over questions he had prepared for the congresswoman, wondering whether they were worthy, when the shooting began, he said in an interview with the television show “Democracy Now.”

He was shot in the knee and back and drove himself to the hospital, where he spent two days.

“I didn’t know how to calm myself down,” he said on the TV show, “so I wrote down the Declaration of Independence, which I memorized some time ago. And that did help to organize my thoughts.”

He also lashed out at conservative Republicans for “Second Amendment activism,” arguing it set the stage for the shooting.

Fuller returned to the Safeway supermarket Friday, telling KPHO-TV he had always considered trauma a figment of imagination until the events of Jan. 8.

“Today I’m back on my feet, more or less, and I’m in a combative mood,” Fuller said as he limped across the store parking lot. “It’s helping me. I’ve never had any trauma like this in my life.”

Later, he showed up at the home of accused gunman Jared Loughner, who lived within a half-mile of Fuller.

“He said he was going to forgive him for shooting him,” Richard Elder, 86, a retired medical mechanic who lives next door to Fuller, told The Associated Press Sunday. “If anyone shot me, I don’t think I’d say, ’Hey feller, that’s alright.”’

Fuller posted about eight campaign signs in front of his house during the last election, including one for Giffords. And although Fuller was friendly, he acted odd sometimes, Elder said. Once, Fuller asked him if he was going to vote.

“I told him there are two things I don’t talk about: politics or religion. I told him that, and he walked off without another word.”

He said Fuller had shown him his bullet wounds and seemed to be dealing with the shooting well.

The man Fuller is accused of threatening, Tucson Tea Party co-founder Trent Humphries, said he was worried about the threat, and the dozens of other angry emails he has received.

“I had nothing to do with the murders that happened or the shooting of Gabrielle Giffords,” Humphries said. “And I wonder, if he (Fuller) is crazy or is he the canary in a coal mine? Is he saying what a lot of other people are holding in their hearts? If so, that’s a problem.”

Humphries believes the heated political rhetoric that ignited shortly after the shooting should be toned down, and was trying to express that at the event when Fuller began booing.

“I said I don’t know if now is the time to start being political about this, that we still need to bury the dead,” said Humphries, who was on his way Sunday to attend services for his friend Dorwin Stoddard, 76. He was killed in the rampage after he dove to the ground to cover and protect his wife.

At the Safeway, the makeshift memorial of flowers, teddy bears, candles and cards was growing, more than a week after the tragedy.

Becky Chowning laid a rose and stepped back. She put her hand over her heart and began to sob.

“It’s just so moving. I wanted to pay my respects,” Chowning said, barely able to get the words out. “Seeing these people here today, and all the flowers, it’s just amazing. I hope it helps the families to heal.”

Eduardo Ibarola sat quietly off to the side with a colorful beaded rosary in his hand. He had been praying all week but drove from Phoenix with his 5-year-old grandson to set his heart right.

“We came just so I could say my rosary. All I want is for those upstairs to hear my prayers,” Ibarola said, adding that he had been thinking all week about the youngest victim, 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green.

The girl’s father told The Boston Globe some of her organs were donated to a young girl in the area there, but he didn’t have any other details.

He said they were once again proud of their daughter, “who has done another amazing thing.”

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Artist Delree Dumont has painted an Indigenous mural at St. Joseph High School. (Contributed photo)
Indigenous mural painted on Red Deer high school walls

A new Indigenous mural now sits on the walls of St. Joseph… Continue reading

Jessica Swainson learned about improvisation and filmmaking at The Hub on Ross before its closure. She’s pictured here with her former Hub instructor Jason Steele. (Contributed photo).
Red Deer city, arts council are working to close ‘gaps’ left by The Hub’s closure

Could some popular Hub programs be resurrected at Northside Community Centre?

Red Deer College (Contributed photo)
Updated: RDC students to be hit with steep fee and tuition increases

Many students will see more than $1,000 in extra education costs in 2021-22

This unicorn was stolen from the small community of Delia, northeast of Drumheller on Friday and was recovered, with its bronze horn broken off, on Saturday. RCMP are looking for information on the suspects.
(Photo from RCMP)
Unicorn statue stolen in central Alberta recovered

Statue found with horn broken off in field about 15 km from Delia

(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe man whose manslaughter sentence was rejected by judge has new lawyer

Judge rejected proposed seven-year sentence for manslaughter in connection with 2019 homicide

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

University of Victoria rowing coach Barney Williams is photographed in the stands during the Greater Victoria Invitational at CARSA Performance Gym at the University of Victoria in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, November 29, 2019. The University of Victoria says Williams has resigned effective immediately. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
University of Victoria women’s rowing coach resigns by mutual agreement

VICTORIA — The University of Victoria says the head coach of its… Continue reading

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley announces proposed new legislation to protect Alberta’s mountains and watershed from coal mining at a news conference in Calgary on Monday, March 15, 2021. A group of 35 scientists from the University of Alberta are urging the provincial government to rethink its plans for expanding coal-mining in the Rocky Mountains. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Alberta scientists urge adoption of bill that would protect against coal mining

EDMONTON — Some 35 scientists from the University of Alberta are urging… Continue reading

A driver shows identification to an Ottawa police officer as a checkpoint as vehicles enter the province from Quebec Monday April 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Quebec and Ontario impose travel restrictions to slow surging virus variants

Ontario and Quebec imposed new interprovincial travel restrictions on Monday amid growing… Continue reading

Education Minister Adriana LaGrange was in Red Deer on Friday to provide an update on the province's COVID-19 response in schools.
Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
LaGrange: Feedback needed to refine curriculum

As the Minister of Education my role has been guided by a… Continue reading

In this Feb. 24, 2020, photo, the Olympics rings are reflected on the window of a hotel restaurant as a server with a mask sets up a table, in the Odaiba section of Tokyo. The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with less than 1% vaccinated. This of course is spilling over to concerns about the postponed Tokyo Olympics that open in just over three months.(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Will Japanese Olympians be vaccinated ahead of the public?

TOKYO — The vaccine rollout in Japan has been very slow with… Continue reading

PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, greets Bayern's Lucas Hernandez at the end of the Champions League, second leg, quarterfinal soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes stadium, in Paris, France, Tuesday, April 13, 2021. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
PSG, Bayern the big names missing from Super League plan

DÜSSELDORF, Germany — The plan for the new Super League soccer competition… Continue reading

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Marion Cotillard, left, and Brad Pitt appear in a scene from "Allied." (Daniel Smith/Paramount Pictures via AP)
Leo Carax’s ‘Annette’ to open Cannes Film Festival

Leo Carax’s “Annette,” starring Marion Cotillard and Adam Driver, will open the… Continue reading

From left, Producer Doug Mitchell, actor Chris Hemsworth and director George Miller attend at a press conference to announce the new "Mad Max" film at Fox Studios Australia in Sydney, Monday, April 19, 2021. (Mick Tsikas/AAP Image via AP)
‘Mad Max’ prequel shot in Outback to be released in 2023

SYDNEY, Australia — A prequel to the “Mad Max” movie franchise starring… Continue reading

Most Read