US & Canada

Arizona shootings: Funeral for victim Christina Green

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Media captionPresident Obama asked the nation to live up to Christina's expectations

Christina Taylor Green, the nine-year-old killed in Saturday's shooting in Arizona, has been buried, marking the first of six such funerals.

Christina, whom President Barack Obama hailed on Wednesday night, was a top student, dancer and athlete.

She had hoped to meet Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords at a constituency event when she was killed and Ms Giffords and a dozen others were hurt.

Doctors say Ms Giffords is making "encouraging" progress in hospital.

They said they had begun intense physical therapy, and that she was able to lift her legs on command.

On Thursday, the Pima County Sheriff's Department, which responded to Saturday's shooting, released the audio of a seven-minute radio transmission between police officers and dispatchers in Tucson directly after the attack.

"Caller is reporting a shooting with a semi-automatic weapon. We have a caller who believes that Gabrielle Giffords was shot. It's a multiple-victim - it sounds like many people are shot," a dispatcher says in the recording.

The sound of screaming can be heard later in the transmission after one police officer arrives at the scene.

"He does not have the gun on him, but it is in the crowd somewhere," a voice on the recording says. "Start every ambulance we have out here."

Jared Loughner, 22, has been jailed pending trial over the attack in the city of Tucson. Six people were killed in the shooting, including Christina Green and a federal judge. More than a dozen were wounded.

Dressed as angels

Image caption Christina Taylor Green was a top student, dancer and athlete

Mourners at the St Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Tucson unfurled the largest flag recovered from Ground Zero, the site of the 9/11 terror attacks in New York City. The flag is a tribute to Christina, who was born that day in 2001.

Mourners in white, some dressed as angels, lined the road leading to the church in silence. Relatives and friends were seen entering and leaving the church amid heavy security.

Among those were dozens of Christina's classmates and boys wearing baseball outfits - Christina was a fan of the sport and was the granddaughter of former professional baseball player and manager Dallas Green.

The night before, President Barack Obama honoured Christina and other victims of the shootings, urging the US to heal divisions opened by "sharply polarised" political debate.

"Imagine," Mr Obama said at a public ceremony in Tucson, "here was a young girl who was just becoming aware of our democracy; just beginning to understand the obligations of citizenship; just starting to glimpse the fact that someday she too might play a part in shaping her nation's future."

A witness to Saturday's attack said Christina had been smiling broadly as she waited in line to meet Ms Giffords.

Christina had just been elected to the student council at Mesa Verde Elementary School, and her father has said her interest in politics was inspired by Mr Obama.

"President Obama and his campaign is where she started getting interested in politics, and at least to have heard him mention her makes me feel better," said Christina's father, John Green.

"She began her life on a tragedy, on 9/11, and her life was ended with a tragedy, here in Arizona."

Mr Obama called on the nation to honour her: "I want us to live up to her expectations. I want our democracy to be as good as she imagined it."

Giffords' progress

Meanwhile, Ms Giffords's doctors said on Thursday morning that she had opened her eyes and appeared to be trying to focus her vision, "encouraging" signs she was recovering.

Ms Giffords is moving both legs and both arms, has opened both eyes and is responding to friends and family, doctors said.

"She's making the progress that we could hope for her," Dr Michael Lemole said.

In another development, a black bag containing ammunition, which police believe was discarded by Mr Loughner, was discovered on Thursday by a man walking his dog in the neighbourhood where the suspect lives.

The bag, which matches the description of one Mr Loughner was seen carrying by his father on Saturday morning, has been given to the FBI for testing, the police said.

Documents released by Pima Community College, where Mr Loughner attended school in the months before the attack, show a pattern of increasingly bizarre behaviour that troubled school officials and police.

The documents suggest Mr Loughner was prone to nonsensical outbursts and was confronted several times by police.

School officials described Mr Loughner's "dark personality" and some feared for their safety around him.

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