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Rep. Giffords, Wife of NASA Astronaut, Shot

Gabrielle Giffords and Mark Kelly, in an image on Giffords' campaign website.

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona was shot in the head Saturday when an assailant opened fire outside a grocery store during a meeting with constituents, killing at least five people and wounding several others. Giffords is the wife of NASA astronaut Mark Kelly who is scheduled to command one of the last space shuttle missions. Giffords is reportedly in stable condition. Those killed included a 9-year-old child and a federal judge.

Kelly is scheduled to command the shuttle Endeavour in April, but he immediately flew on a NASA jet to Tucson from Houston, officials said, and asked to be put on personal leave. His twin brother Scott is now on board the International Space Station as commander. NASA officials said Scott Kelly was informed of the shooting by flight controllers at the Johnson Space Center.

Reports say the gunman shot Giffords from about a foot away, and then opened fire on the rest of the crowd. The gunman was subdued by other members of the crowd and is now in custody.

The surgeon who attended Giffords said the bullet traveled all the way through her head, but he is optimistic about her recovery.

NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden issued a statement on the tragedy:

“We at NASA are deeply shocked and saddened by the senseless shooting of Representative Giffords and others at Saturday’s public event in Tucson. As a long-time supporter of NASA, Representative Giffords not only has made lasting contributions to our country, but is a strong advocate for the nation’s space program and a member of the NASA family. She also is a personal friend with whom I have had the great honor of working. We at NASA mourn this tragedy and our thoughts and prayers go out to Congresswoman Giffords, her husband Mark Kelly, their family, and the families and friends of all who perished or were injured in this terrible tragedy.”

Sources: AP, Twitter


Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today's Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT's Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Archer January 11, 2011, 6:23 AM

    We wonder why UT doesn’t get many comments on the good articles within this blog. This discussion shows us why.


    Hon. Salacious B. Crumb
    Lawrence B. Crowell

    Suppressing conversation opportunities since I’ve started coming here. It’s just not worth it.

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 11, 2011, 6:44 AM

      Alan from Oregon (if I am correct)
      Interesting comments from one who so infrequently posts here.
      Much of the discussion here properly focusses on this crime against innocent people, and what to do about it. I’ve seem the news, I am just as outraged as anyone.
      If “this discussion shows us why”, then what is your point? As far as I see, no one here has suppressed anyone’s comments, including yours. Frankly, if you haven’t said anything here, then how can this be suppressed?
      Perhaps you should explain in more detail, so that both UT and those you name here might benefit from your point of view?

    • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 11, 2011, 6:50 AM

      Actually thinking about it… Are you using the word “suppress”, when you actually mean the word “intimidate”?

      • Archer January 11, 2011, 1:22 PM

        You are not correct, Oregon is thousands of miles from here and the name isn’t Alan.

        Not intimidate, more like “not from my planet”, thus best left to the denizens that live there.

        • Hon. Salacious B. Crumb January 11, 2011, 7:04 PM

          Apologies for the name and place mix-up.
          Please, if you want to be critical or have suggestions for improvements, stop beating around the bush and get to your point. Few people these days have the time for endless riddles.
          If you want me to go away, then it will very likely not happen. If you make selected people effectively silenced by UT authors, it is very unlikely to happen. So your “conversation opportunities” will not change, because even if it did, someone else will always come along and fill in the vacuum. Either way, your broad complaint changes nothing.
          My advice, as said many times before; if you don’t like what I say, then don’t read it. ALso if you go away and don’t come back, then all UT and other commenters here just lose one person’s point of view. It is your choice!

          (I’m from Venus, BTW!)