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Published January 08 2011

MN, ND federal officials react to shooting of Arizona congresswoman

WASHINGTON - Minnesota and North Dakota congressional officials were among the dozens of government leaders expressing shock, sorrow and disgust today after an Arizona congresswoman and several bystanders were shot this morning in Tucson, Ariz.

Democrat Gabrielle Giffords was in critical condition after she was shot in the head at point-blank range, after a man opened fire outside a supermarket where she was meeting with constituents.

Democratic Rep. Collin Peterson of Minnesota’s 7th Congressional District called the shooting “a senseless act of violence.”

“My prayers are with her and her family as she fights to survive,” he said.

North Dakota’s former Democratic Rep. Earl Pomeroy served with Giffords for three terms before his congressional tenure ended last month.

Pomeroy called Giffords a “a bright and wonderful person who is widely regarded as one of the nicest, most pleasant and best-liked members of Congress.”

“I am sickened that such a contemptible attack would be made against my friend, Gabby, members of her staff and other members of the general public,” Pomeroy said. “It is unthinkable to think that such dedicated public servants would be gunned down while performing their duties in service to the others.”

Echoing that sentiment, Minnesota Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar said: “Congresswoman Giffords was doing what so many public servants do every day, meeting with her constituents, listening to the people who sent her to Washington. This is a horrific tragedy.”

At least five people were killed and several others wounded in the attack.

Doctors at the hospital where Giffords was taken said they were "optimistic" she would recover.