US Lawmaker Giffords Returns Home for First Time Since Shooting

Posted June 17th, 2011 at 7:40 pm (UTC-5)
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U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is returning to the southwestern U.S. city of Tucson, Arizona for the first time since she was shot in the head during a political event there in January.

Aides to Giffords say she plans to spend time with her family on Saturday and Sunday at her home in Tucson. They say she will make no public appearances and give no interviews.

Giffords' husband, U.S. astronaut Mark Kelly, says her family has been “dreaming of this trip for a long time.” He says Giffords misses Tucson a lot, and that her doctors have said returning to her hometown could be key to her recovery. He says the trip will be “very emotional.”

On Wednesday, Giffords was released from a Texas hospital where she has been undergoing rehabilitation since the shooting. She moved to Kelly's home near Houston, Texas, and doctors said she will continue outpatient therapy at the hospital there.

Giffords was one of 19 people who were shot on January 8 during an outdoor political meeting in Tucson. Six people died in the shooting.

Giffords was well enough to be present in Florida to witness the April launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor, under the command of Mark Kelly.

The congresswoman has made remarkable strides in her recovery, but it is not known if she will be able to return to her duties in Congress.

The 22-year-old man accused in the shooting has pleaded not guilty and is being held at a prison in Missouri. A judge has declared him incompetent to stand trial.