Giffords Hasn't Been Told Details Of Tucson Shooting

President Obama hugs NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, during a ceremony last week in Tucson, Ariz.

President Obama hugs NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, during a ceremony last week in Tucson, Ariz. Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Jewel Samad/AFP/Getty Images

The husband of Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords has not told his wife what happened to her outside a Tucson Safeway store on Jan. 8, when a gunman shot her in the head.

Mark Kelly, who spoke with Arizona Public Media on Tuesday afternoon, also said he hasn't told her that a close aide — 30 year-old Gabriel Zimmerman — was among the six people who died during the rampage. Thirteen people were wounded.

Giffords, 40, has been taken off a respirator and has opened her eyes. She can respond to requests to move her limbs, and has been able to reach out and give Kelly a neck rub.

"I've told her where she is, that she's at UMC [University Medical Center] and she's got great care," Kelly said. "I introduced her to the doctors and the nurses, but we haven't explained to her what happened."

He's not revealing the heavier details yet, in part because doctors tell him she likely won't remember anything at this stage of her recovery anyway.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, shown in an undated handout from her campaign office.
HO/AFP/Getty Images

"I think the best thing, from what I've been told, is as she starts to ask what happened, then you answer the questions," Kelly said.

The ordeal has been difficult for his two daughters, especially in the hours after the shooting, when NPR and other news organizations incorrectly reported that Giffords had died.

"We had the news on and it was reported that their stepmother was killed, and we lived with that for about 15, 20 minutes," Kelly said. "It was devastating to them and my mother, who was there, and me.

"But that was, like, the lowest of the low point, and ever since then everything's been positive," he said.

NPR News corrected the report and issued apologies the next day.

Kelly said he draws strength from the outpouring of public support for the shooting victims. He has received hundreds of e-mails and letters. In one such letter, 10-year-old Isaac Saldana from Craycroft Elementary School in Tucson offered his hope that Giffords gets better and even sent along his lunch money. Kelly said he'll return the $2.52, but he was clearly touched by the sentiment.

Kelly, a NASA astronaut, is still scheduled to command a space shuttle flight in April. He said he'll decide within two or three weeks whether to go ahead with the mission, depending on how well Giffords' recovery is going. Kelly said his wife will be headed to a rehabilitation center soon.

Meanwhile, the investigation into the shooting continues. Federal law enforcement officials say they have high-quality videotape from cameras posted in the Safeway parking lot that Saturday morning. They say the footage clearly shows the gunman methodically shooting the victims.

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