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Package at Giffords' office was non-explosive

An Investigator photographs the area outside a Safeway store after a gunman targeting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) opened fire in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. An Investigator photographs the area outside a Safeway store after a gunman targeting Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz) opened fire in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011. (AP Photo/James Palka)
By Amanda Lee Myers
Associated Press / January 9, 2011

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TUCSON, Ariz.—A loud noise rattled more than 100 people attending a candlelight vigil Saturday outside the headquarters of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, where authorities investigated a suspicious package that turned out to be non-explosive.

Police department spokesman Lt. Fabian Pacheco said an officer checking Giffords' office in Tucson had found a "strange" item that resembled a coffee can and had writing on it. Pacheco would not disclose what the writing said.

A bomb squad worked for a couple hours, using X-ray equipment, to try to figure out what the package was before the loud noise was heard. The noise was caused by authorities' efforts to destroy the package and render it safe.

Pacheco said there was no threat to public safety.

"It's been a horrible and tragic day," he said. "The prudent thing for us is to take everything seriously."

Earlier Saturday, Giffords was holding a forum for constituents when the violence erupted, killing six and wounding several others, including the Democratic congresswoman.

At the candle light vigil, people huddled in the cold, held candles and read signs that said "Peace," and "Just Pray."

"She's just a great person," said Margaret Robles, 64, a retired teacher's aide who knew Gifford's grandparents. "She didn't care what color, what race, if you could read or if you were a scholar. She treated you as an equal."

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