Entries in Congresswoman (9)


Gabrielle Giffords Talking by Phone, Intern Says

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images(PHOENIX) -- Daniel Hernandez, the hero intern credited with helping to save the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after the tragic shootings in Tucson, Ariz., says he has spoken with the Representative by phone, most recently on Wednesday.

"It's great hearing her voice," the Hernandez told the Arizona Republic. Out of privacy he did not comment on what was specifically said with Rep. Giffords.

"Pretty soon you will be able to ask her yourself because she's just doing extremely well and recovering very quickly," he said.

Hernandez was honored last month at the United States Hispanic Leadership Institute's annual conference in Chicago for rushing to action just after Giffords was shot by Jared Loughner while meeting with constituents outside of a Safeway grocery store on Jan. 8. Six were killed in the shooting and a dozen others were injured.

Last week, two and a half months after suffering a gunshot wound to the head in Tucson, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' husband Mark Kelly said she is beginning to walk and talk.

Kelly, an astronaut scheduled to command space shuttle Endeavor's final mission later this month, said that pending "final approval" from her doctors, Giffords plans to watch the launch at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jared Loughner Due in Court Wednesday

Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Jared Loughner -- the man accused of opening fire at a political event in Tucson, Arizona in January killing six and wounding Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords -- is due in a Tucson court Wednesday. 

Prosecutors are asking the court to order psychiatric testing for Loughner to figure out if he's fit for trial. Defense attorneys say he may very well have mental issues so complex that a trial this year -- or even next year -- won't be possible.

His attorney is now proposing January of 2013 for a trial.  The judge has said he wants the trial to begin by September 20th and he could set a trial date in court Wednesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Leaves Tucson Hospital for Rehab in Houston

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Cheered by crowds of well-wishers, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords left the Tucson hospital Friday where she has been treated since suffering a gunshot to her head in an attack nearly two weeks ago.

Giffords is flying to Houston to begin the next step in her recovery, focusing on rehabilitation at a renowned brain injury facility at the Texas Medical Center.

Giffords is being accompanied to Houston by her astronaut husband, Capt. Mark Kelly, her trauma surgeon, Dr. Peter Rhee, and her mother, Gloria Giffords.

In another sign of progress, Giffords was taken outside Thursday for the first time since the attack to give her some sunlight. She stood up Wednesday for the first time with assistance and looked out of a hospital window.

Giffords suffered a gunshot wound to her head Jan. 8 when Jared Lee Loughner allegedly opened fire at the Democratic congresswoman's event outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson.

The motive behind the attack that killed six people and wounded 14 likely might never be understood, Giffords’ husband said.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords' Doctors 'Slightly More Optimistic' About Recovery

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Doctors treating Rep. Gabrielle Giffords were "slightly more optimistic" on Monday about the recovery of the Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head this weekend.

"We're not out of the woods yet," said Dr. G. Michael Lemole Jr., Giffords' neurosurgeon and chief of neurosurgery at Arizona's University Medical Center. "At this phase in the game no change is good, and we have no change."

A major concern for the doctors is controlling the swelling in Giffords' brain. They have put the 40-year-old Democrat in an induced coma and removed part of her skull to ease the stress and pressure on the brain. A recent CAT scan showed that the swelling in Giffords' brain has not increased, and he said that "swelling typically peaks around the third day."

Lemole also said that Gifford continues to respond to "basic commands," but declined to specify her movements or what kinds of commands she has been given.

Giffords was shot in the head at point blank range as she stood outside a Tucson supermarket hosting a community meeting. The gunman killed six people, including a nine-year-old girl and a federal judge, and wounded 14. The bullet entered the back of Giffords' head and exited out her forehand.

Giffords and the other victims were shot with a Glock handgun, reportedly purchased at a sporting goods store by alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner who is in police custody. Arizona does not require permits to conceal or carry a weapon onto public property.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Rep. Giffords' Intern: 'Congresswoman Was Alert'

Photo Courtesy - ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Daniel Hernandez, the intern described by some as the hero who assisted Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords immediately after Saturday's shooting, provided a first-hand account of the attack in Tucson, Ariz.

"When I heard gunshots, my first instinct was to head toward the congresswoman to make sure that she was okay," Hernandez told ABC News.  "Once I saw that she was down, and there were more than one victim, I went ahead and started doing the limited triage that I could with what I had."

Hernendez had volunteered to assist Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her staff at a meet-and-greet event designed to put the congresswoman in contact with her constituents.  The event took a tragic turn when Jared Loughner opened fire on the congresswoman, her staff and the participating constituents.

"When this happened, I kind of just shut off all emotion because I knew I wouldn't be any good to anyone if I had a breakdown," Hernendez remembered.  "I had to lift up the congresswoman because she was severely injured, and I wanted to make sure that she was able to breathe okay because there was so much blood."

Hernendez used smocks from the grocery store to bandage the wounded victims.

"The congresswoman was alert.  She was able to hold my hand when I asked her if she could hear me," said Hernandez.  "I wasn't able to get any words from her.  She may have been trying, but because of the way that I was having to hold her it was a lot easier to just 'if you can hear me Gabby just grab my hand to let me know that you're okay.'"

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jared Lee Loughner: School Wanted Mental Evaluation

Photo Courtesy - MySpace(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Jared Lee Loughner, the suspect in custody following the murder of six people in an apparent assassination attempt on Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, purchased a semi-automatic handgun two months after his college said he would have to undergo a mental evaluation before returning from suspension, sources told ABC News.

The gun, a Glock 19 9mm, was purchased legally from a sports store in Tucson on Nov. 30, 2010, federal law enforcement officials told ABC News. Two months before, on Oct. 7, Pima Community College sent a letter to Loughner's parents stating that if Loughner wished to return to the school, he would have to "obtain a mental health clearance indicating, in the opinion of a mental health professional, his presence at the College does not present a danger to himself or others," the school said in a statement.

The school said Loughner had as many as five run-ins with campus police for "classroom and library disruptions," and was suspended after college police discovered a YouTube video apparently created by Loughner in which he claimed the college is "illegal." Rather than return to school, Loughner dropped out, the statement said.

Prima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, who only identified the shooter as a 22-year-old white male, said the evidence online and information they've received from two schools that Loughner attended led him to believe the gunman was "unstable."

Despite being shot in the head, Congresswoman Giffords survived the attack and doctors said Saturday they were "optimistic" about her recovery. Federal judge John Roll, a 9-year-old girl, and a member of Giffords' staff were killed in the attack. The staff member, Gabe Zimmerman, was Giffords' director of community outreach.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Police Release Photo of Person of Interest in Ariz. Shooting Rampage

Photo Courtesy - Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Authorities have released a photo of a man possibly connected with the suspect in Saturday's mass shooting that killed six people, wounded 12 others and left an Arizona congresswoman -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords -- in critical condition at a town hall event in Tucson, Ariz. The person of interest was seen at the location of the event and may be connected with the suspect, according to authorities.

The person is described as a white male, about 40 to 50 years old with dark hair. He was last seen wearing blue jeans and a dark blue jacket, Pima County Sheriff's Department officials said in a news release.

"We are not convinced that [the gunman in custody] acted alone, there is some reason to believe he came to this location with another individual, and that individual is involved," said Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik.

Anyone with information about this person of interest is asked to call 911 or the Federal Bureau of Investigation (520)-791-6974

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Congresswoman Wounded in Arizona Shooting Rampage

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Police are on the hunt for a second man who may have been involved in the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a Tucson, Ariz., grocery store Saturday that left six people dead and 13 critically injured.

Giffords is in critical condition and not fully conscious, but doctors remain optimistic about her recovery. The dead have been identified as 63-year-old U.S. District Judge John Roll, 30-year-old Gabriel Zimmerman (Giffords' director of community outreach), 76-year-old Dorthy Murray, 76-year-old Dorwin Stoddard and 79-year-old Phyllis Scheck, according to the Pima County Sheriff's Department.

Early Sunday morning, authorities released a photo of a white male between 40 and 50 years old with dark hair, calling the unidentified man a person of interest in the shooting. The person of interest was seen at the location of the event and may be connected to the suspect, according to authorities.

Meanwhile, the alleged gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, remains in custody and has invoked his right to silence, authorities said.

A total of 19 people were hit by gunfire during the shooting, which began just after 10 a.m.

Five of the victims died on the scene, and 9-year-old Christina Greene died at a nearby hospital. Greene had just been elected to her school's student council and was coming to the event to meet Gifford, sources told ABC News. Greene was born on Sept. 11, 2001 and featured in a book about babies born on the day of the nation's worst terrorist act.

Overnight, authorities investigated a suspicious package at one of Giffords' field offices in Tucson. It turned out to be a non-explosive.

Giffords, 40, was shot in the head and was taken to University Medical Center, where she underwent brain surgery and was listed in critical condition. Dr. Peter Rhee, trauma director at UMC, told reporters that the bullet went through her brain, but he said she was responsive to doctors' commands.

President Barack Obama, speaking at a nationally televised news conference, called the shooting an unspeakable tragedy and said FBI Director Robert Mueller was dispatched to Arizona to coordinate the investigation.

Giffords, a Democrat, was holding a "Congress on Your Corner" event at a Safeway supermarket in northwest Tucson when the shooting occurred.

Giffords, a representative for Arizona's 8th District who just won reelection to a third term, has been the target of conservative political opponents in recent months. In March of last year, Giffords' office was vandalized just after she voted in favor of the health care reform law. The intruders destroyed a glass door and a window at her Tucson Congressional offices. At the time, Giffords' press secretary C.J. Karamargin said the office had received many phone calls with "nasty and rude and hateful comments" from opponents of the health care bill.

Recently Giffords, who supports gun rights, has been receiving angry letters from anonymous sources, ranting about the supposed national gun registry and border control.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Who Shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords?

Photo Courtesy - Office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords/MySpace/ABC News Illustration(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- The man who allegedly shot Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords has been identified as 22-year-old Jared Lee Loughner, ABC News has learned.

Giffords was shot, along with several other people including federal judge John Roll, outside a grocery store in Tucson, Ariz. where she was holding an event called Congress on Your Corner.

On a Myspace page apparently maintained by Loughner, he said goodbye to friends and said, "Please don't be mad at me... I cannot rest."

Authorities said the shooter was in custody.

Loughner reportedly made several YouTube videos with walls of text protesting the government and ranting against low literacy rates.

"Hello, my name is Jared Lee Loughner. This video is my introduction to you!" the video, uploaded Dec. 15, says. "My favorite activity is conscience dreaming; the greatest inspiration for my political business information. Some of you don't dream -- sadly... My ambition - is for informing literate dreamers about a new currency; in a few days, you know I'm conscience dreaming! Thank you!"

Congresswoman Giffords survived the shooting and doctors said she's expected to recover. Five others, including Judge Roll and a 9-year-old girl perished, President Obama said in an address Saturday.

Obama called the shooting "an unspeakable act."

According to an eye witness, the shooter "came out of nowhere" and unloaded two clips on Congresswoman Giffords and the gathered crowd, striking Giffords in the head.

Bystanders then tackled the shooter and held him until authorities intervened.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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