Gabby Giffords 2011 Shooting: 5 Fast Facts You Need to Know

Gabby Giffords shooting


Wednesday morning’s shooting in Alexandria, Virginia, left several people injured, including Congressman Steve Scalise, who was shot in the hip. The shooting occurred during the Congressional baseball practice. It marked the first time that a member of congress was shot since former Rep. Gabby Giffords of Arizona was shot in January 2011.

Following the early morning shootings, Giffords sent out the following tweet.

Here is what you need to know about the 2011 shooting in Tucson, Arizona:

1. Giffords Was Shot in the Head

Gabby Giffords shooting

The first photo of Rep. Giffords following the shooting. (Getty)

On January 8, 2011, Ms. Giffords was meeting with constituents at a Safeway grocery store when a gunman opened fire. Authorities believed that Giffords was the target in the attack. She was shot in the head.

Giffords was listed in critical condition. She underwent surgery at the University Medical Center in Tucson. The bullet had gone through her brain.

Days after her surgery, Giffords was transported to the Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center in Houston, Texas. On January 26, 2011, she was taken to the Texas Institute for Rehabilitation and Research Memorial Hermann. At that time, her condition was upgraded to “good.”

2. Six People Were Killed in the Shooting

Gabby Giffords shooting


In addition to Giffords, 13 other people were injured in the shooting. A total of six people died, including the chief judge for the United States District Court for Arizona, John M. Roll, and a 9-year-old girl identified as Christina-Taylor Green.

“Lots of people were laying on the ground. The congresswoman, I could tell that she was still alive. People were giving a little girl CPR. My mind went away. I started counting, and then I thought, ‘What am I counting, injured or dead?'” Mr. Compagno, from Fire Station 30 the in Northwest Fire/Rescue District of Tucson told the New York Times.

3. The Gunman Was Identified as Jared Lee Loughner

Gabby Giffords shooting

Police released this photo of Jared Lee Loughner following his arrest. (Getty)

Police arrested Jared Lee Loughner following the shooting. The 22 year old was in the custody of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

“Mr. Loughner had exhibited increasingly strange behavior in recent months, including ominous Internet postings — at least one showing a gun — and a series of videos in which he made disjointed statements on topics like the gold standard and mind control,” reported the New York Times.

Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges.

At Loughner’s sentencing hearing, Giffords’ husband, Mark Kelly, testified on his wife’s behalf.

“Mr. Loughner, you may have put a bullet through her head but you have not put a dent in her spirit and her ability to do good,” Kelly said, according to CNN.

Loughner was sentenced to life without parole.

4. Giffords Made a Huge Comeback

Gabby Giffords shooting


After months of rehab, Giffords was able to recover an incredible amount. Her quality of life may not be 100 percent what it once was, but she is living it to the fullest. She still speaks in short phrases (called non-fluent aphasia) and she still struggles with the right side of her body.

“In the past five years, Gabby Giffords has hiked the Grand Canyon, gone skydiving, raced in a 40-mile bike ride and founded an advocacy group that helped persuade President Barack Obama to take executive action on gun control,” reported U.S. News in 2016.

She recently tweeted about jumping out of a plane.

“It’s been a long, hard haul, but I’m getting better. I wake up every day grateful that I have a second chance at life and a second chance at service,” Giffords said in an email in January 2016.

Check out the video of her recovery below.

5. Giffords & Her Husband Mark Kelly Released a Memoir

Gabby Giffords shooting


Giffords and Kelly wrote a memoir together. The book was titled Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope. It was released on November 15, 2011.

“‘Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly’s story is a reminder of the power of true grit, the patience needed to navigate unimaginable obstacles, and the transcendence of love. Their arrival in the world spotlight came under the worst of circumstances. On January 8, 2011, while meeting with her constituents in Tucson, Arizona, Gabby was the victim of an assassination attempt that left six people dead and thirteen wounded. Gabby was shot in the head; doctors called her survival ‘miraculous,'” the book’s description reads, in part.

In January 2013, Giffords and Kelly launched a website called Americans for Responsible Solutions. According to CNN, the site “addresses gun violence prevention and gun owner responsibility.”

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