Mark Kelly's first interview since his wife was shot in Tucson


by Alicia E. Barrón

Posted on January 18, 2011 at 10:00 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 18 at 10:10 PM

TUCSON, Ariz. – Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords' husband granted his first interview since his wife was shot in the head nine days ago in Tucson.

Mark Kelly says he is staying strong and hopeful and spending most of his time by his wife's bedside.

Kelly talked about what it was like first learning his wife had been shot then hearing preliminary reports she had died only to find out she was alive and fighting for her life.

Navy Captain and Astronaut Mark Kelly spoke about the last phone call he had with his wife before police say 22-year-old Jared Loughner shot the congresswoman in the head.

Kelly says, “I think she was actually on her way to the Congress on your Corner, told me where she was going, I was a little bit surprised she was starting those already, I mean, she just got sworn in essentially the beginning of that week. She said she was going to call me back when it was over."

Instead Kelly says Gabby's chief of staff called him and said, “Gabby's been shot."

Kelly says he boarded a friend's plane and headed to Tucson as he watched news of his wife's shooting on the flight.
He explains, "Had my two daughters, our two daughters with us, my mom was with me and then it was reported that she died so that was tough, I mean really really the lowest of the low."

But Kelly says through phone calls they learned Gabby was alive and in surgery. She has been in the Intensive Care Unit ever since although Kelly says he has no doubt she'll make a full recovery. "I know her, she's a fighter and she's an incredibly dedicated public servant and she's the hardest working person that I've ever met. She's gonna be back at work."

Kelly says he's encouraging her and talking to her about the Tour de Tucson, the bike ride Gabby has been wanting to ride in. “I just reminded her of what the date was and that she's gotta be ready to do that next year, so and I'll go with her."

Kelly also says that despite the head injury, he knows his wife still loves him. “She pats me on the face all the time but she doesn't know what happened at this point, I mean, I haven't explained that to her, explained to her where she is so we're going to have a long discussion over a long period of time before she understands the enormity of this."

On Monday doctors upgraded Giffords condition from critical to serious. She has a tracheotomy tube and a feeding tube but has been taken off of the ventilator. Doctors have described her current condition as a miracle.