PHOENIX - For months after the spasm of violence that shattered her world, Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was shielded from the wider scope of that January morning, when a gunman shot her in the head, badly wounding her and 12 others outside a Tucson political event.
Trying to protect her, staff and family members didn’t let her know that six had perished in the Jan. 8 attack, including a trusted staff member and a federal judge who was a close friend.
Just weeks ago, Giffords found out the truth, delaying a grief process the rest of the country had gone through months before.
Yesterday, a Giffords staffer confirmed that the Democratic politician was told by her husband in late July that those who passed away included her close aide Gabe Zimmerman; US District Judge John Roll, a close friend; and 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. The Arizona Republic first reported those details early yesterday.
News of who the victims were came to Giffords just days before her surprise Aug. 1 appearance on Capitol Hill to vote on the federal debt ceiling.
“She knew for some time that six people had died and 13 were injured, including herself,’’ said Mark Kimble, Giffords’s new spokesman. “In late July, shortly before she went to Washington, she wanted to know more information, specifically about who had died. That’s when her husband told her.’’