Arizona shooting hits close to home


Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, here speaking with a service member, remained in intensive care Monday.//Official photo/

The congresswoman seriously wounded in Saturday’s mass shooting in Tucson, Ariz., is a Navy spouse. Rep. Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords, D-Ariz., is one of 13 survivors in the shooting that left six dead at a supermarket shopping center, including an aide. Giffords was shot in the head by the gunman as she met constituents at a “Congress on Your Corner” event and, as of midday Monday, remained in intensive care.

Giffords, a member of the House Armed Services Committee, in 2007 married Navy Capt. Mark E. Kelly, a naval fighter pilot and NASA astronaut. It was a match that led former Labor secretary and professor Robert Reich to toast the couple at their nuptials: “To a bride who moves at a velocity that exceeds that of anyone else in Washington, and a groom who moves at a velocity that exceeds 17,000 miles per hour.”

Mark Kelly issued this statement: “On behalf of Gabby and our entire family, I want to extend our heartfelt gratitude to the people of Arizona and this great nation for their unbelievable outpouring of support. Gabby was doing what she loved most – hearing from her constituents – when this tragedy occurred. Serving Southern Arizonans is her passion, and nothing makes her more proud than representing them in Congress.”

Mark Kelly’s twin brother, Navy Capt. Scott Kelly, is miles above Earth in the International Space Station and regularly posts updates on his Twitter account. Capt. Mark Kelly has been slotted to command the space shuttle Endeavour on STS-134 logistics mission to the space station. That shuttle mission’s start has slid, to April 1, although his command of that flight seemed in doubt.

NASA Astronauts and Navy Capts. Scott Kelly, left, and twin brother Mark Kelly. Mark Kelly is married to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, an Arizona congresswoman.//NASA photo

Retired Maj. Gen. Charles Bolden, a former Marine Corps test pilot and NASA shuttle astronaut who serves as NASA administrator, issued a statement. 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,” Bolden said. “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.”


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