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Giffords sees brother-in-law for first time since shooting

By the CNN Wire Staff
Astronaut Scott Kelly poses for pictures in October before leaving for the international space station.
Astronaut Scott Kelly poses for pictures in October before leaving for the international space station.
  • Astronaut Scott Kelly returned to Earth last week
  • He saw Giffords at her hospital in Texas, a spokesman says
  • Giffords' husband, Scott Kelly's brother Mark, is also an astronaut
  • Giffords was shot in January and has been recovering since then

(CNN) -- Wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords saw her brother-in-law, NASA commander Scott Kelly, for the first time since she was shot in January, her spokesman told CNN Sunday.

Kelly returned to Earth from the international space station last week and went to Houston, the home of the Johnson Space Center, early Thursday morning. His reunion with Giffords took place at TIRR Memorial Hermann rehabilitation hospital in Houston on Friday, C.J. Karamargin said.

Giffords is being treated at the hospital after being shot in the head January 8 at an event in Tucson, Arizona. Six other people, including a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl, were killed.

Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, who is also an astronaut, is optimistic that she can attend the launch of the space shuttle Endeavour scheduled for next month, he said last week.

"I am hopeful that can happen," he told a telephone news conference sponsored by the American Red Cross on Tuesday.

"I am really encouraged," Kelly said of his wife. "She is doing well. She continues to improve daily."

Mark Kelly was promoting 100 events sponsored by the Red Cross around the country on Saturday, called "Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-a-Life Saturday," where trainers will be teaching Americans key first aid and CPR skills.

Organizers want people equipped with the knowledge needed to save lives -- as happened at the shooting of Giffords and others when people jumped in and gave critical aid to the victims until emergency workers arrived.

Mark Kelly is training for his mission in Houston, where his wife is hospitalized.

Doctors told a news conference on March 11 that Giffords has been speaking in full sentences and is able to walk with assistance.

Mark Kelly told reporters Tuesday there was no set deadline for making a final decision about whether Giffords will be able to make the journey to Florida for the shuttle takeoff.

"We are looking at that right now," he said.

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