WASHINGTON - US Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head at a close range Saturday while meeting constituents at a grocery store in Tucson, Arizona, according to her spokesman, CJ Karamargin, and news reports. There were conflicting reports about the condition of Ms Giffords. Earlier media reported that Giffords, a federal judge and Director District Arizona were among seven dead. Later six deaths were confirmed. One Congressional official said the attack was carried out with an automatic weapon. The officials who described the events did so on condition of anonymity, saying they were not permitted to comment publicly. Giffords was hosting a Congress on Your Corner event - public gatherings to give her constituents a chance to talk directly with her - when attacked from about 1.2 metres away, NPR said. Later, reports said he condition was unknown. She was airlifted to University Medical Centre in Tucson, the trauma centre for the area, about 10 miles away. NPR and CNN reported that she had been killed, but Darci Slater, a hospital spokeswoman, said that Ms Giffords, a Democrat, was in surgery. One of the victims was a 9-year-old girl, she said. CNN quoted a public information officer for the sheriffs office as saying that 12 people had been injured in all and that the shooting had occurred around 10 am local time. An employee at a nearby store told CNN that he heard a steady stream of gunfire that appeared sustained random. Shortly after, emergency vehicles filled the parking lot around the grocery story and cordoned off the area. Re-elected in the November 2 election, Giffords, 40, focused on immigration reform, military issues, stem cell research and alternative energy while serving in Congress. She was married to US astronaut Mark Kelly. Last March, her Tucson office was vandalised a few hours after the House vote overhauling the nations health care system, the authorities said. Agencies add: Giffords, a 40-year-old Democrat in her third term in Congress, was shot point blank by an unidentified gunman who fired indiscriminately into the crowd, NPR and other US media said. An aide to the Democrat was killed. Members of staff and a federal judge from Arizona was among the others shot in the incident, a law enforcement source told CNN. Congressional officials said the injured were taken to a nearby hospital. The suspected male gunman was wrestled to the ground and taken into custody, Fox said, citing an eyewitness. The suspect is a white male. The suspect tried to run away but was tackled by a bystander. They said the FBI and local law enforcement were investigating the attack, which took place while Giffords was greeting constituents outside the Safeway grocery store. US President Barack Obama said on Saturday that US Representative Gabrielle Giffords had been gravely wounded and others had died in the shooting, but he did not say how many people had died. And while we are continuing to receive information, we know that some have passed away, and that Representative Giffords is gravely wounded, Obama said in a statement issued by the White House. He called the incident an unspeakable tragedy. We do not yet have all the answers. What we do know is that such a senseless and terrible act of violence has no place in a free society. I ask all Americans to join me and Michelle in keeping Representative Giffords, the victims of this tragedy, and their families in our prayers, Obama said. Jeff Rogers, Chairman of the local Democrats, said Ms Giffords was a rising star in the party with hopes of eventually winning the Arizona Senate seat. That is terrible news, he told BBC News, describing her as a wonderful congresswoman and a wonderful person. He added: We just cant continue to have this kind of carnage on school campuses and against public officials. The Speaker of the House of the House or Representatives, John Boehner, said: I am horrified by the senseless attack on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and members of her staff. An attack on one who serves is an attack on all who serve. Acts and threats of violence against public officials have no place in our society. Our prayers are with Congresswoman Giffords, her staff, all who were injured, and their families. This is a sad day for our country. Giffords, who was re-elected in November, has focussed on immigration reform, military issues, stem cell research and alternative energy while serving in Congress. She is married to U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly. She served on the House Armed Services, Science and Technology committees. Before going to Washington, Giffords served in the Arizona Legislature from 2000 to 2005 and ran her familys tire and automotive business.