We spoke to an eyewitness, Steven Rayle, who was on the scene at the time of the shooting and helped to hold the suspect down while waiting for police. Here's what he said:
The event was very informal: Gifford had set up a table outside the Safeway and about 20-30 people were gathered to talk to her. The gunman, who may have come from inside the Safeway, walked up and shot Gifford in the head first. According to Rayle, who is a former ER doctor, Gifford was able to move her hands after being shot. After shooting Gifford, the gunman opened fire indiscriminately for a few seconds, firing 20-30 rounds and hitting a number of people, including a kid no older than 10 years old. Rayle hid behind a concrete pole and pretended to be dead. When the gunman apparently ran out of ammunition he attempted to flee, but a member of Gifford's staff tackled him. Rayle helped hold the gunman down while waiting for the sheriff to arrive, about 15-to-20 minutes later. The EMS came about 30 minutes later. Rayle said he was "stunned" by how long it took medical help to arrive.
The gunman was young, mid-to-late 20s, white, clean-shaven with short hair and wearing dark clothing and said nothing during the shooting or while being held down, although he struggled at first. He didn't look like a businessman, but more of a "fringe character," Rayle said. The sheriff's department arrived, arrested the gunman and cordoned off the parking lot.