12 Jun 2011

First pictures of shot Arizona congresswoman released

The first photos of Gabrielle Giffords are released online five months after the congresswoman was shot in the head by a gunman in Tucson, Arizona.

First pictures of shot Arizona congresswoman released

Two images of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords were posted on her official Facebook page in the first pictures of the congresswoman as she makes a lengthy recovery.

Congresswoman Giffords, 41, was seriously injured in a shooting spree in Arizona that killed six people and wounded 13 others. She had been receiving treatment at a clinic in Houston.

Both pictures posted online were taken outside at the TIRR Memorial Hermann Hospital on 17 May.

One of the pictures shows Ms Giffords smiling at the camera. In the other she is sitting with a woman.

The post on Ms Giffords’ Facebook page said the pictures were taken the day after the launch of the Endeavour space shuttle which was commanded by her husband astronaut Mark Kelly.

Over two thousand people ‘liked’ the post on the social networking website, while hundreds others left messages of support.

One read: “Remarkable. May her recovery continue to be swift and strong. These are wonderful to see, and thank you for sharing them.”

Ms Giffords was meeting constituents outside a supermarket on 8 January when the shooting happened. One of the victims shot dead was a young nine-year-old girl.

Since then the only glimpse of the congresswoman was in April when footage showed her from a distance boarding a plane to watch her husband launch into space in Florida.

Last week Ms Giffords’ chief of staff said the congresswoman only had limited speaking ability but was recovering well.

Pia Carusone told the Associated Press news agency on Saturday that she could be released from the clinic in the coming weeks.

Suspect Jared Lee Loughner has been arrested and accused of carrying out the shooting. He was pleaded not guilty. In May a judge ruled he was unfit to stand trial.

First pictures of shot Arizona congresswoman released