WASHINGTON (JTA) — The Anti-Defamation League said it is "critical" to determine whether the man alleged to have shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was influenced by hate speech.
"It is critical to determine whether the alleged shooter, 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, acted alone or with others, and whether he was influenced by extremist literature, propaganda or hate speech," the ADL said in its statement Sunday.
Giffords, an Arizona Democrat in her third term, is in critical condition after the shooting Saturday at a Tucson shopping mall that left six dead and at least a dozen injured.
U.S. law enforcement is considering whether the gunman was motivated by the fact that Giffords was the first Jewish congresswoman elected in the state.
The ADL also praised Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who called for "soul searching" after the attack, suggesting a link between the attack and the heated political rhetoric that characterized the recent congressional campaign.
Conservatives have blasted Dupnik, saying his comments are premature.
The ADL statement noted that Giffords was active in the regional ADL chapter