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Entries in Gabrielle Giffords (86)

Tuesday
Sep132011

Gabrielle Giffords, Husband to Appear on ABC TV Special

Tom Williams/Roll Call(NEW YORK) -- Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, former space shuttle commander Mark Kelly, will appear on an ABC Television Network special in November in what will be their first interview together since Giffords was shot and seriously wounded during a meet-and-greet event in Tucson last January.

The special airing on Nov. 14 at 10 p.m. ET will occur one day before the publication of the couple's memoir, Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope.

ABC World News anchor Diana Sawyer hosts the program that will follow Giffords' and Kelly's lives together before and after the shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including the Arizona Democrat who suffered a bullet wound to the brain.

Giffords' recovery has been described as miraculous given the extent of her injury, although she continues to undergo rehabilitation and is likely to for some time.

Her actual participation in the interview with Sawyer will largely depend on the progress of her recovery.

Giffords appeared in Washington last month for the first time since the shooting to vote on the debt ceiling bill that eventually passed Congress.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Sep072011

Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly Book Due in November

Tom Williams/Roll Call(HOUSTON) -- Much has been made of their love story -- the congresswoman married to the astronaut. Gabrielle Giffords' marriage to Mark Kelly would probably have made little news if not for the tragic shooting in front of a Tucson supermarket on Jan. 8.

Giffords and Kelly are collaborating on a book, which will be released Nov. 15, and is almost guaranteed to be an instant best-seller. On Wednesday Scribner, their publisher, announced the title: Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope.

Giffords was hosting a meet-and-greet event with constituents in Tucson, Ariz., on that January morning. Jared Loughner allegedly opened fire at the event, killing six people and injuring 13 others, including Giffords.

Her recovery has inspired many observers, though information about her medical condition and photos and video of her are carefully controlled by her protective staff and family, so the extent of her recovery is really unknown.

Giffords has been in therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston since she was transferred here in January. After several months as an inpatient, she continued treatment while living with her husband at his Houston home. The couple had a long-distance relationship before the shooting; she went back and forth between Washington and Arizona while he was in Houston or other NASA centers.

She has returned to Tucson twice since January, and she made a noteworthy appearance in Washington in August to vote on the debt crisis bill -- receiving a standing ovation from Republicans and Democrats.

Her appearance at an awards ceremony in June for her husband brought her another standing ovation. That time was in Houston, in front of a crowd gathered to see Kelly and his five fellow astronauts after they returned from STS-134, the final mission of the space shuttle Endeavour.

Giffords and Kelly are both starting new chapters in their lives. While she concentrates on her recovery, she will eventually have to face the question of whether she can run again for her congressional seat. Kelly, meanwhile, has announced his retirement as an astronaut, and has dodged questions about whether he is interested in a political career.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Thursday
Sep012011

Pima Co. GOP to Raffle Same Type Gun Used to Shoot Rep. Giffords

Tom Williams/Roll Call(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Forget quilts and cookies, the Pima County Republican Party in Arizona is auctioning off a handgun at their next party fundraiser. And not just any handgun -- the same series of pistol that was used in the Tucson shooting of Rep. Gabriel Giffords in January.

“Help Pima County get out the vote and maybe help yourself to a new Glock .45. Get yourself a new Glock 23 .40 cal handgun for just 10 bucks -- if your name is drawn. That’s right for just 10 dollars this gun could be yours,” reads the Pima GOP’s flyer that was sent to supporters Aug. 26.

The text is followed by a large photo of the handgun and a note that the gun comes with three 12-round magazines.

“This raffle shows a stunning lack of judgment and sensitivity in raffling of the same make of weapon used in the January shooting,” said Jeff Rogers, the chairman of the Pima County Democratic Party. Pima County includes Tucson. “It’s a slap in the face of a grieving community.”

Rogers said the Glock 23 that the GOP plans to raffle off is a more powerful, more easily concealed version of the Glock 19 used to shoot Giffords.

“If these guys had chosen to raffle off a shotgun or a hunting rifle it might not have gone so nuts on the Internet,” he said. “We’re pretty raw and still on edge down here and it certainly doesn’t help to heal this community.”

Pima GOP’s interim director, Mark Shaw, said “there weren’t any concerns” about the gun raffle until The Huffington Post reported about it Thursday.

“We at the Pima GOP regard gun ownership as a constitutional right and an Arizona tradition,” Shaw said. “We’re just standing on the Second Amendment and we certainly don’t feel like we’re doing something wrong.”

But the former leader of the Pima County GOP told Talking Points Memo he disagrees with his predecessor.

“There’s a woman who has a bullet in the brain and who everybody is wishing a full recovery,” Brian Miller, the immediate past chair of the Pima County GOP told TPM. “I don’t think that raffling off a firearm right now is probably the right way to go.”

Giffords, D-Ariz., is still recovering after being shot in the head by 22-year-old Jared Loughner in January. Six others were shot and killed at the open meeting the congresswoman was holding at a Tucson Safeway grocery store.

Gifford’s spokesman Mike Kimball declined to comment on the gun raffle, saying only that “we don’t, as a congressional office, get involved in political issues at all.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Friday
Aug192011

Jared Loughner's Defense Team Examining Family's Mental Health

Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Jared Lee Loughner's defense team is delving into his family's medical history, possibly looking for evidence of mental illness.

Loughner, who faces 49 charges stemming from the Tucson, Arizona shooting spree that killed six people and injured 13 others, has been diagnosed with schizophrenia -- a chronic, severe disabling brain disorder that has a significant genetic component.  And in a move that could bolster his defense, Loughner's lawyers have subpoenaed public health records from 22 of his maternal relatives dating back to 1893, The New York Times reported.

"If there are a lot of people who have a schizophrenia diagnosis in his family, that does sort of add weight to the issue that this kid was at a huge genetic risk," said Dr. Charles Raison, associate professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta.  "It could have emotional effect on a jury.  It could heighten the sense that this was not his fault."

Loughner's mental health has been the subject of much attention since his arrest in the Jan. 8 shootout at a constituent meet-and-greet with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who sustained a gunshot wound to the head, but miraculously survived.  A court-ordered psychiatric evaluation concluded that 22-year-old Loughner has delusions and hallucinations -- psychotic symptoms that can distort a person's perception of reality.

"We know that psychotic illnesses run in families," said Raison, adding that the genetic contribution to mental illness can be as high as 70 percent, depending on the diagnosis.  "People with schizophrenia are often related to other people with schizophrenia and to people who are odd or isolative...It's not a specific disease state that's inherited; it's this vulnerability to have this sort of odd behavior or odd way of thinking."

In May, a federal judge deemed Loughner mentally unfit to stand trial.  But it's his mental state at the time of the attack that will determine his sentence.

"The only way to really assess what role psychosis played in his actions is for him to be able to explain what he thought he was doing," said Raison, adding that psychotic people tend to have a logical rationale for their delusional thought process.  "No matter how bizarre the reasoning is, it makes sense.  We don't believe it, but it makes sense."

Loughner has been forced to take antipsychotic drugs during his stay at a federal psychiatric facility in Springfield, Missouri, and a hearing scheduled for Sept. 21 will determine whether his mental state has improved enough for him to participate in his defense.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Aug012011

Gabrielle Giffords Returns to Congress for Debt Ceiling Vote

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., returned to Congress on Monday night for the first time since being shot in the head in January, casting a vote in support of the compromise debt ceiling bill.

"Gabrielle has returned to Washington to support a bipartisan bill to prevent economic crisis," read a message posted to Giffords' Twitter account while members began casting their votes on the House floor. 

Minutes later, Giffords slowly entered the chamber to loud, sustained applause and a standing ovation by her colleagues, who huddled around her to give hugs, kisses and handshakes.

Vice President Joe Biden, with a big smile on his face, walked to the House floor and said, "I came to see Gabby, that's why I'm here."

In the hallway just outside, Giffords' husband Mark Kelly was all smiles as well.

"It feels good," he said as his wife was casting her first vote since the tragedy. "Great, actually."

Giffords spokesman C.J. Karamargin told Tucson Weekly in an email that "the congresswoman insisted on participating."

“Congresswoman Giffords has been following this debate closely over the past two weeks," she said. "Like the vast majority of Americans, she is extremely disappointed at Washington’s inability to confront the debt ceiling issue in a timely and thoughtful manner.”   

Escorted by her husband and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., Giffords exited the House floor slowly, giving a small wave to people as she left. She left the Capitol in an SUV shortly thereafter.

When Biden was asked about what he spoke with Giffords about, he joked, "She's now a member of the cracked head club like me."

The debt ceiling bill passed the House 269-161. The Senate will vote on the measure on Tuesday.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jul252011

Accused Tucson Shooter Loughner: 'Give Me the Injection, Kill Me Now'

Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- As defense attorneys continue to fight against the forced medication of Jared Lee Loughner, accused in the Tucson, Ariz., shooting spree that killed six people and injured 13 others, court papers reveal his emotional state and why he's being forcibly medicated: Prison officials have deemed him a danger to himself.

A federal court Friday denied an emergency motion by Loughner's defense team that Missouri doctors cease forcibly medicating him.

One prison doctor said that on July 8 Loughner reported he was depressed and "expressed regret for the circumstances that led to his arrest. He also reported that the radio was talking to him and inserting thoughts into his mind."

Doctors ordered that Loughner be placed on suicide watch.

While under suicide watch, Loughner "began pacing quickly in circles near his cell door" and was heard "screaming loudly and seen crying for hours at a time," according to court documents. "He was observed rocking back and forth in the showers."

One doctor reported that Loughner was often viewed as "inconsolable, uncooperative and unresponsive" and "also displayed hypersexed behavior." He talked about the "killings" and the possibility of receiving the death penalty and sobbed uncontrollably for 55 minutes. At one point Loughner said, "I want to die. Give me the injection, kill me now."

A federal appeals court is set to hear arguments regarding Loughner's forced medication in August after the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on Friday night denied an emergency motion by defense lawyers to keep prison officials from forcibly medicating Loughner with a psychotropic drug.

Loughner, 22, has pleaded not guilty in the Jan. 8 shooting in Tucson that killed six and left 13 others wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. Loughner was declared mentally unfit to contribute to his defense by a federal judge and is being held in Springfield, Mo.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Tuesday
Jul052011

Jared Loughner's Forced Medication Ordered Temporarily Halted

Pima County Sheriff's Department(PHOENIX) -- A federal appeals court has ruled that prison officials must temporarily stop administering anti-psychotic medication to Jared Lee Loughner, who is charged in the Arizona shooting that left six people dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz.

Prison officials at the Bureau of Prisons had ordered the drugs as part of Loughner's treatment for mental illness. Lawyers for Loughner challenged the order.

While a lower court ruled that Loughner could be medicated, a panel of judges on the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals issued a brief order on Friday that temporarily blocked the involuntary medication until both sides had a chance to brief the court on the issue. The court asked for briefs by Wednesday evening.

Those killed in the Jan. 8 shooting rampage included 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green and U.S. District Judge John Roll. Loughner was tackled and disarmed at the scene by bystanders, and has since been charged in a 49-count federal indictment.

Loughner has been undergoing treatment at a government mental facility in Springfield, Mo.

In May Loughner was found mentally incompetent to stand trial for the shooting rampage in Tucson.

Loughner, 22, who has delusions and hallucinations, is paranoid schizophrenic, according to mental health professionals. Loughner's mental health evaluation also found that he had an "irrational" distrust of his lawyers.

Prosecutors said they hoped Loughner would become mentally competent enough to stand trial.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun292011

Judge Rules Prison Officials Can Force Jared Loughner to Take Meds

Pima County Sheriff's Department(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- U.S. District Judge Larry Burns ruled in an emergency hearing Wednesday that prison officials could force Jared Lee Loughner, charged in the Tucson, Ariz. shooting that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, to take anti-psychotic medication.

In his decision, Burns said he was deferring to trained psychiatrists and medical personnel in Missouri, where Loughner has been confined in a prison medical facility, who have found Loughner to be dangerous.

The emergency hearing came after the release of a new court filing that offered insight into Loughner's disturbing behavior and raised more questions about whether he could ever be considered psychologically fit enough to stand trial.

Tuesday's filing said that on April 4 Loughner spat at his lawyer and lunged at her before prison staff restrained him.

The filing also said that an angry Loughner used profanities and threw a plastic chair at a psychiatrist multiple times during a taped interview on March 28. He also hurled a wet toilet paper roll at a camera that was in the room.

Prosecutors have used these incidents to argue in the court filings that Loughner should be given anti-psychotic medication. They claim he is a danger to others.

But Loughner's lawyers argued that he should not be forced to take medications without court approval. That approval came Wednesday.

Last month, Burns ruled that Loughner was not competent to stand trial because he was a paranoid schizophrenic and delusional. The judge has also denied two requests from Loughner's attorneys that they be notified before he is medicated.

Loughner has been held at a prison medical facility in Springfield, Mo., where psychiatrists are trying to restore his mental health so that he can participate in court proceedings. He arrived at the facility on May 28 and could spend up to four months there.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to the 49 charges against him stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Jun292011

Emergency Hearing Scheduled in Jared Loughner Case

Pima County Sheriff's Department(SAN DIEGO) -- Jared Lee Loughner, charged in the Tucson, Ariz., shooting that left six dead and 13 wounded, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is scheduled to appear in court Wednesday for an emergency hearing to determine whether prison officials should stop forcing him to take anti-psychotic medication.

The emergency hearing comes after the release of a new court filing that offered insight into Loughner's disturbing behavior and raised more questions about whether he could ever be considered psychologically fit enough to stand trial.

Tuesday's filing said that on April 4 Loughner spat at his lawyer and lunged at her before prison staff restrained him.

The filing also said that an angry Loughner used profanities and threw a plastic chair at a psychiatrist multiple times during a taped interview on March 28. He also hurled a wet toilet paper roll at a camera that was in the room.

Prosecutors are using these incidents to argue in the court filings that Loughner should be given anti-psychotic medication. They claim he is a danger to others.

U.S. District Judge Larry Burns called for today's emergency meeting at 2 p.m. in San Diego to try to resolve whether the forced medication should be continued.

Last month, Burns ruled that Loughner was not competent to stand trial because he was a paranoid schizophrenic and delusional. The judge has also denied two requests from Loughner's attorneys that they be notified before he is medicated.

Loughner has been held at a prison medical facility in Springfield, Mo., where psychiatrists are trying to restore his mental health so that he can participate in court proceedings. He arrived at the facility on May 28 and could spend up to four months there.

Loughner has pleaded not guilty to the 49 charges against him stemming from the Jan. 8 shooting.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Monday
Jun272011

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords Appears, Stands Before Houston Crowd

P.K. Weis/Giffords Campaign - P.K. Weis via Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Monday made her first public appearance in front of a crowd since being shot in the head Jan. 8, rising from her wheelchair to hug and kiss her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, when he received the Spaceflight Medal.

Giffords, D-Ariz., entered, being pushed in a wheelchair, to a standing ovation from a crowd of hundreds at the awards ceremony auditorium at Space Center Houston, which is next to the Johnson Space Center.

Her hair was much shorter than in previously published photos. She was wearing glasses, a beige scarf, a light shirt, jeans and sneakers. She smiled and waved to the crowd.

Giffords and Kelly held hands for most of the event. She appeared to chat with people sitting around her, and laughed when the crew of the Space Shuttle Endeavour's last mission was introduced. Kelly commanded the mission, STS-134.

Giffords left during home movies of the crew, shown during the event.

The Spaceflight Medal is awarded to shuttle astronauts who return safely from their missions.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







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