A visibly shaken Gov. Jan Brewer of Arizona asked Americans Saturday to join her in praying for victims of a shooting in Tucson, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, whom she called a friend she’d “grown to love.”
Brewer reminisced about working with Giffords while Giffords was in the state senate and Brewer was in the secretary of state’s office.
“I am just heartbroken,” Brewer said. “Gabby is more than just a colleague. She’s actually a friend.”
She called the shooting an “unbelievable tragedy… we would never have imagined.”
Brewer spoke to President Obama by phone. Obama informed her that FBI Director Bob Mueller is heading to Arizona, and that she will have all the resources she needs from the federal government.
“The president conveyed his heartfelt sympathies for our state and our shared determination to ensure justice is fully served,” she said.
Brewer recalled the 1997 shooting of then-Maricopa County Supervisor Mary Rose Wilcox, who was shot while leaving a meeting by a homeless man who said he was upset about a tax increase to fund a baseball stadium. Wilcox survived and the suspect Larry Naman was convicted in 1998.
“We have, for whatever the reason, disturbed people.. who sometimes do terrible, violent things, and sometimes those of us who serve in elected positions are the target,” Brewer said.
She said, while acutely aware that such attacks can happen, she was “not afraid” in the wake of the Wilcox shooting. Security was ramped up then and is being ramped up today in the wake of the Tucson shooting, she said.
“We need to move on and make sure those things don’t happen,” she said, describing herself as the kind of person who enjoys being “with the people.”