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Accused Arizona Gunman In Giffords Shooting To Appear In Court

The scene outside a Tucson, Arizona supermarket after the shooting spree that killed at least six people and seriously wounded U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords on January 8
The man accused in the Arizona shooting rampage that left six people dead and a U.S. congresswoman seriously wounded is due to appear in court for the first time.

Twenty-two-year-old Jared Lee Loughner faces five criminal charges, including attempted assassination of a member of Congress.

He will appear in court in the city of Phoenix.

Also today, the United States will hold a moment of silence for the victims of the attack.

U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords remains in critical condition after being shot in the head at close range at a public event in Tucson on January 8.

Among those killed outside a supermarket were a U.S. judge and a 9-year-old girl. Thirteen people were wounded.

Investigators said they found an envelope at his residence with the handwritten phrases "I planned ahead" and "My assassination," along with the name "Giffords" and what appeared to be Loughner's signature.

While the motive of the killing spree remains unclear, the incident has fueled vigorous debate over the appropriateness of some of the most caustic targeting of political opponents in current U.S. political debate.

Less than a year ago, Giffords herself had questioned former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin's "targeted list," which "has depicted the crosshairs of a gun sight over our district."

compiled from Reuters and other agency reports