The first real community gathering for mourners since the rampage, a Mass for all the victims at St. Odelia's Parish in Tucson, was set for 7 p.m. Mr. Obama was scheduled to arrive in Arizona Wednesday for a memorial service days after calling the attack a tragedy for the entire country.
Rep. Gabrille Giffords and 13 others were wounded in a shopping mall parking lot where Giffords had set up a booth to meet with constituents on Saturday. Among the six killed in the shooting were a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl. A 22-year-old man has been charged.
Giffords was breathing under her own power and generally "holding her own" in her third day of recovery from a near-fatal gunshot wound, doctors said Tuesday.
In a press conference at Tucson's University Medical Center, Dr. Peter Rhee said that the three-term Democratic congresswoman is "progressing as expected" with "no issues or problems." Both Rhee and neurosurgeon Dr. Michael Lemole stressed that, despite encouraging signs, her condition remains very serious.
Her doctors have declined to speculate on what specific disabilities the 40-year-old congresswoman may face.
Two patients injured in the shooting were discharged from the Tucson hospital Sunday night. Seven others remained hospitalized.
The suspect in the shooting, Jared Loughner, made his first court appearance in Phoenix on Monday and looked on impassively as a judge told him he could face the death penalty for the shooting rampage that shocked the country. The judge ordered him held without bail.
Loughner is charged with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. Those are federal charges.
With few new details emerging at Monday's hearing, questions remained about what could have motivated someone to arm himself with a pistol and magazines carrying 33 bullets each, and rain gunfire on a supermarket parking lot crowded with men, women and children. Giffords had set up a booth there to hear the concerns of constituents.
Comments from friends and former classmates bolstered by Loughner's own Internet postings have painted a picture of a social outcast with almost indecipherable beliefs steeped in mistrust and paranoia.
Loughner's parents, Randy and Amy Loughner, are devastated, according to neighbor Wayne Smith, 70. "And they feel guilty for what happened," he told KPHO-TV Monday evening.
"They want to know, where did they fail? I told them they didn't fail. They taught him everything about right and wrong. We all know you can teach someone everything and have no control how it works out."
Amy Loughner has been in bed, crying nonstop since Saturday, Smith said.
Roxanne Osler, whose son had been a friend of Jared Loughner's, said he had a bad relationship with his parents and had distanced himself from family.
"What Jared did was wrong. But people need to know about him," she told The Washington Post. "I wish people would have taken a better notice of him and gotten him help. ... He had nobody, and that's not a nice place to be."
A military official in Washington said the Army rejected Loughner in 2008 because he failed a drug test. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because privacy laws prevent the military from disclosing such information about an individual's application. The official did not know what type of drug was detected.
Prosecutors say he scrawled on an envelope the words "my assassination" and "Giffords" sometime before he took a cab to the shopping center. Police said he bought the Glock pistol used in the attack in November.
The revelation about the shooter's high-capacity magazines led one longtime Senate gun control advocate, Democratic Sen. Frank Lautenberg, to announce plans to re-establish a prohibition that lapsed in 2004 on magazines that feed more than 10 rounds at a time.