Friday, January 21, 2011

Wounded US Congresswoman Moved to Texas

U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is being moved from a hospital in her home state of Arizona to a rehabilitation facility in Texas, nearly two weeks after she was shot in the head while holding a public event.

Veterans on motorcycles accompanied Giffords as she was taken by ambulance from the hospital in Tucson to a nearby Air Force base. She is being flown to Houston, Texas, to begin physical and mental rehabilitation.

Her husband, NASA astronaut Mark Kelly, is among those accompanying her on the journey.

Kelly told reporters Thursday he is "extremely hopeful" about the progress his wife is making. Though he says he expects Giffords to be walking in two weeks, doctors caution that her rehabilitation will take a long time.

It is not clear yet whether the bullet wound has damaged her speech or motor skills.

Doctors said Giffords stood up on her own and took a few steps Wednesday. Kelly says she has made attempts to speak, despite the fact that she has a tube in her throat to help her breathe.

Wednesday, a federal grand jury in Arizona indicted shooting suspect Jared Loughner, 22, of attempting to assassinate Giffords and attempting to murder two of her aides in the January 8 attack. A total of six people were killed in the shooting outside a grocery store in Tucson.

The U.S. attorney for Arizona said the charges are only the beginning of legal action against Loughner. The attempted assassination and attempted murder charges carry a possible sentence of life in prison. If he is later indicted for murder, he could face the death penalty.

Some information for this report was provided by AP, AFP and Reuters

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