Entries in Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (49)


Will US Navy Name Ship After Gabrielle Giffords?

Gabrielle Giffords with her husband Mark Kelly. ABC/Ida Mae Astute(WASHINGTON) -- Former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords is coming to the Pentagon on Friday as Navy Secretary Ray Mabus announces the name of the Navy’s newest ship. Her visit has set off speculation that the Navy might name the ship after her.

Also in attendance at Friday afternoon’s brief ceremony in the Pentagon Courtyard will be Roxana Green, the mother of 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. Green was among those killed in last year’s deadly shooting rampage in Tucson that targeted Giffords as she met constituents outside a supermarket.

Navy spokespersons are not commenting on whether their presence at Friday’s event is tied to the ship’s name and they are not providing any clues about what the ship’s name might be.

Also on hand for the event will be former Rep. Ike Skelton who, along with Mabus, will ”reveal” a placard that will have the name of the ship on it. Skelton is a former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee.

Giffords is still recovering from the gunshot wound to her head that she suffered during last January’s shooting incident. Just two weeks ago, she stepped down from Congress. She will be at the White House Friday morning as President Obama signs into law the last piece of legislation that she had proposed as a member of Congress.

The ship being named on Friday will be the Navy’s 10th Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), a new type of ship designed to bring the Navy fighting power into shallow coastal areas. The first two ships in this class were called Freedom and Independence, but since then the conventional practice has been to name the other ships in the class after a city.

The Navy has also named ships after living persons with some recent examples being the aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush and the submarine USS Jimmy Carter.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords to Complete Last Event as Congresswoman

Gabrielle Giffords pictured with her husband Mark Kelly. ABC/Ida Mae Astute(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will make her last trip to Tucson as a member of Congress on Monday to complete an event that was interrupted last January when a gunman opened fire, killing six people and injuring 13 others, including Giffords.

Giffords was holding her “Congress On Your Corner” event at a suburban Arizona supermarket on Jan. 8, 2011 when Jared Loughner shot her in the head.  Since then, the Democratic congresswoman has made a remarkable recovery, regaining her ability to speak, but much work remains as Giffords noted on Sunday, when she announced she was leaving office.

“I have more work to do on my recovery and so to do what is best for Arizona I will step down this week,” she said in a two-minute video announcement of her decision, which was posted on her website and on YouTube.

In the video, Giffords also thanked those who prayed for her and vowed to make a comeback.

“I’m getting better every day.  My spirit is high.  I will return and we will work together for Arizona and this great country,” she said.

Monday's "Congress at Your Corner" event will be private, according to a statement from Giffords, and will feature some of the people who were injured during the shooting as well as some of the heroes of that day.

Also on Monday, Giffords will meet with community leaders who advised her on various issues.

The day after, she plans to attend President Obama’s State of the Union address.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


One Year Later: Mark Kelly on Gabrielle Giffords' Recovery

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- One year after the tragedy in Tucson, Ariz., that almost claimed Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' life, the congresswoman is stringing together full sentences and even asking questions, her husband Mark Kelly told ABC News in an exclusive interview.

"She is continuing to improve each and every day," Kelly told ABC News' Dan Harris.  "Just the other day she started asking me a few questions in a row.  Back in March or April she hadn't asked a single question about anything."

In the most recent display of her progress, Giffords led a crowd gathered at the University of Arizona Mall in the Pledge of Allegiance Sunday night during a candlelight vigil held for the Tucson victims on the one year anniversary of the shooting.  Six people were killed on Jan. 8, 2011 and 13 others, including Giffords, were injured.

On the day of the shooting, Kelly spent 20 heart wrenching minutes after seeing an erroneous report that said his wife had died.

Jared Loughner shot her in the back of her head.  The bullet traveled the length of her brain on the left side and exited her skull.  Kelly boarded a friend's plane and rushed from Texas to the scene of the tragedy in Tucson.

This year has had its series of challenges, Kelly said, but Giffords continues to power through and reach new goals, just as she has all of her life -- both inside and outside of Congress.

"She gets disappointed.  You know it's a natural thing when you're struggling with this kind of injury and this kind of disability that's she's working really hard to recover from," Kelly said.  "But fortunately she's just a very positive person and somebody who works really hard and she can see the improvement so it usually doesn't last very long."

Speaking at the vigil Sunday night, Kelly, referencing his wife, said the survivors of the shooting have shown that healing is possible.

"We've even seen it here tonight, as my incredible wife Gabby led us in the Pledge of Allegiance," Kelly said to cheers from the crowd.

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Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


One Year after Tucson Shootings

ABC/ Ida Mae Astute(TUCSON, Ariz.) -- A year after shootings in Arizona which left six people dead and injured 13 others including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, several commemoration events are being held in Tucson.

The shootings occurred outside a Safeway store where Giffords was holding a public meeting with constituents. The congresswoman, who is still recovering after being shot in the head by gunman Jared Lee Loughner, arrived in Tucson on Friday.

Giffords and her husband retired Navy captain Mark Kelly will attend a candlelight vigil at the University of Arizona on Jan.8.  Other events include bell ringing throughout the city, an interfaith service at St. Augustine Cathedral and trail walks.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Judge Declines Hearing About Jared Lee Loughner’s Forced Medication

Pima County Sheriff's Department(PHOENIX) -- A federal judge Tuesday declined to order a special hearing to discuss a prison hospital’s decision to forcibly medicate accused killer Jared Lee Loughner.

Loughner was determined in the spring to be mentally incompetent to stand trial for the shootings in Arizona that killed six people, including federal Judge John R. Roll, and critically wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others. He has since received treatment at a prison hospital in Missouri.

Ruling that Loughner is being “legitimately medicated,” United States District Judge Larry Alan Burns said Tuesday that the purpose of the medication was to stop Loughner from hurting himself and others.

Loughner’s lawyers have argued that he is being medicated for the purposes of restoring him to competency at trial. As such, they believe the court must subject the government to stricter standards regarding the administration of the medication.

But Burns ruled that for now, the hospital’s decision needs no further evaluation and that “the Court will give fresh and full consideration to the defense’s concerns before it makes any definitive finding that the defendant has been restored to competency.”

On Sept. 28, the judge extended Loughner’s commitment to the hospital for four more months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NASA Astronaut Mark Kelly, Rep. Giffords' Husband, to Retire 

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Mark Kelly, the astronaut husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, announced Tuesday he is retiring from NASA to spend time with his wife and write a memoir with her.

"This was not an easy decision," he wrote on his Facebook page. Public service has been more than a job for me and my family." Rep. Giffords was shot in January in Tucson at an event she was hosting for residents of her Congressional district. Six others died and 13 were injured.

Kelly's retirement from NASA and the Navy, where he has served for 25 years, is effective Oct. 1. He has flown in space four times. He announced this morning that he and his wife have a deal with Scribner's publishers for a joint memoir. They said they will collaborate with Jeffrey Zaslow, best known for his work on Randy Pausch's best-selling "The Last Lecture."

Kelly wrote, "Gabrielle is working hard every day on her mission of recovery. I want to be by her side. Stepping aside from my work in the Navy and at NASA will allow me to be with her and with my two daughters. I love them all very much and there is no doubt that we will move forward together."

After the shooting Kelly faced an awful decision. He was assigned to command the space shuttle Endeavour on its final flight into space, but was unsure he could prepare for the mission while tending to his injured wife. He was finally persuaded she was recovering and was in good hands, and was at the controls when Endeavour lifted off May 16 on a two-week flight to the International Space Station.

The shooting, and the public attention that followed, brought Kelly a measure of fame that few modern astronauts have experienced, and which he never sought. He said he thought the focus should be on the mission, the upcoming end of the space shuttle program, and the $2 billion Alpha-Magnetic Spectrometer Endeavour carried to the space station to explore the makeup of the universe.

"It is in the DNA of our great country to reach for the stars and explore," said Kelly by radio to mission control in the moments before launch. "We must not stop. To all the millions watching today including our spouses, children, family and friends, we thank you for your support."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


NASA Postpones Endeavour Shuttle Launch Again

BRUCE WEAVER/AFP/Getty Images(CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla.) -- NASA on Sunday postponed the final launch of the space shuttle Endeavour for the second time, putting it off until at least the end of the week to replace a switch box in Endeavour's engine compartment.

The six astronauts, including Navy Capt. Mark Kelly, the commander of the mission, traveled back to Houston from Florida.

"Things happen fast. We are now all aboard [a plane] for return to Houston. Be back in a few days. More to follow," Endeavour pilot Gregory Johnson said today on his Twitter account. Johnson and Kelly were to be joined on the Endeavour with spacewalkers Mike Fincke, Drew Feustel and Greg Chamitoff, and Italian astronaut Roberto Vittori.

On Friday the space agency pushed back Endeavour's launch because the heater on one of the shuttle's three Auxiliary Power Units -- devices that power the shuttle's speed brakes, elevons and landing gear -- malfunctioned as the astronauts were getting ready to board for liftoff.

The second delay is a disappointment for thousands of spectators who flooded the Florida Space Coast, hoping to catch a glimpse of Endeavour's last launch. Kelly's wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, flew from rehab in Houston to see her husband go on what will probably be his last chance to travel in space.

"Bummed about the scrub!! But important to make sure everything on shuttle is working properly," Giffords' staff said via Twitter on Friday.

Giffords was shot in the head during a shooting rampage in Tucson in January that left six people dead and 13, including Giffords, injured.

The 14-day mission into space, when it happens, will be the last for the space shuttle Endeavour, and could yield new clues to the origin of the universe. The shuttle will carry a $2 billion alpha magnetic spectrometer, an instrument that will be installed on the space station. It could prove or disprove the Big Bang Theory of how the universe was formed.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


First Pictures of Giffords Since Shooting, Walking on Her Own

Tom Williams/Roll Call/Getty Images (file)(HOUSTON) -- A fragile but determined Rep. Gabrielle Giffords walked one careful step at a time Wednesday up the steps of a plane that will take her Florida to watch her husband blast off on the final mission of the space shuttle Endeavor.

The gritty walk by Giffords, who was wearing a padded medical helmet, was her first public steps since being shot in the head at a public event in January. The Arizona congresswoman left TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital and boarded a waiting NASA plane at Ellington Airport in Houston.

Giffords was spotted leaving the hospital in a wheelchair and with her face covered before being driven to the airport. At the airport, she walked under her own power and without assistance from the car to the plane stairway and slowly up the steps.

Giffords' staff has tried to keep her out of view from the public, and said she would not be making any public appearances during the Endeavor's launch. Giffords will be joined on Friday by Kelly's three daughters, President Obama and the first lady at Cape Canaveral to watch the launch.

Giffords' husband navy pilot and astronaut Mark Kelly arrived at Florida's Kennedy Space Center on Tuesday.

On Monday, Giffords' staff said the congresswoman had just started learning details of the shooting that injured 13 people and killed 6, including federal judge and a nine-year-old girl.

Kelly's mission, STS 134, is the second to last space shuttle flight for NASA, and will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the space station. AMS will detect particles to prove or disprove the Big Bang Theory of the formation of the universe. Kelly and five other astronauts on this mission are in quarantine now, standard practice before any space shuttle launch to keep the crew healthy for their mission.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Gabrielle Giffords Begins to Learn Details of Deadly January Day

DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images (file)(HOUSTON) -- Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has reportedly started to learn the details of the deadly shooting in January that left her among the 13 injured victims. Giffords has reacted by saying "so many people" and "no, no, no," according to the Arizona Republic, but is still unaware that staffer Gabe Zimmerman, federal Judge John Roll and Christina-Taylor Green, 9, died in the shooting, along with three others.

Giffords has been undergoing rehabilitation for a gunshot wound to her head at TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston. Doctors said the Democratic congresswoman from Tucson can stand on her own and is trying to improve her walking, the Arizona Republic said.

"Her left side is perfect. She can do whatever you can do," Pia Carusone, her chief of staff, told the newspaper.

Giffords' hair is short, a thin scar on her forehead is healing and fading, and her face is swollen but otherwise the same as before, Carusone said. Giffords still struggles with words and speaks in mostly phrases such as "love you," "awesome" and "I miss Tucson," the Arizona Republic reported Sunday.

Meanwhile, she is scheduled to visit Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Fla., Friday to watch her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, lift off, her Houston medical team said Monday. Kelly will command the last mission of the space shuttle Endeavour.

Giffords, 40, is scheduled to leave the hospital Wednesday and be in a secluded viewing area for Friday's launch. Giffords will have company with her, including her family, her husband's family, her staff and President Obama, with the first lady and their daughters. This will not be a public appearance for Giffords, her staffers say, although they might release a photo after the launch.

Kelly's mission, STS 134, is the second to last space shuttle flight for NASA, and will deliver the Alpha Magnetic Spectrometer to the space station. AMS will detect particles to prove or disprove the Big Bang Theory of the formation of the universe.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Scheduling Conflict Pushes Shuttle Launch to Royal Wedding Date

BRUCE WEAVER/AFP/Getty Images(HOUSTON) -- Astronaut Mark Kelly and his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, have never met Prince William and his bride, Kate Middleton, but they may well meet in the headlines on April 29. A delay by NASA means the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour, commanded by Capt. Kelly, is now scheduled for the same day as the royal wedding.

NASA realized over the weekend that it faced a traffic jam, even in the void of space 200 miles above the Earth's surface. The shuttle launch -- already pushed back from February -- had been set for April 19, but NASA managers decided after a Sunday meeting not to try.

On April 27, the Russians are scheduled to launch a Progress supply ship to the space station, and on Sunday they told their American counterparts they could not delay it. Some of its cargo is perishable.

If Endeavour had tried to launch on the 19th, and delayed just a few days, it might still have been docked to the station when the Russian Progress ship arrived. NASA has rules about having a remote-controlled cargo ship dock with the station while a space shuttle is also there, so rather than press their luck, they decided to wait 10 days.

For anyone following both events, there will be breathing room between them. The wedding ceremony begins at 11 a.m. London time (6 a.m. in Florida), and the launch is scheduled for 3:47 p.m. EDT (8:47 p.m. London time).

Of course, the shuttle launch is getting extra attention because Kelly almost had to give up his chance to fly because of the injuries to his wife, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who suffered a brain injury in the January shooting in Tucson, Arizona. Kelly decided, after several weeks of uncertainty, that she was recovering well enough that he could command the mission.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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