Giffords’ husband: I thought she was dead

Laura Donovan Contributor
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For about twenty minutes on Jan. 8, astronaut Mark Kelly thought his wife Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had died.

After seeing a false news report on television that Giffords had been killed during the “Congress On Your Corner” shooting rampage, Kelly “broke down.”

“The kids … Claudia and Claire start crying,” Kelly, an astronaut, told ABC’s Diane Sawyer in an exclusive interview that aired Tuesday. “My mother, you know … I think she almost screamed. And I just, you know, walked into the bathroom, and you know, broke down. To hear that she died is just, it’s devastating for me.”

But when Kelly called Giffords’ mother, he learned his wife was still alive.

“As bad as it was that she had died, it’s equally exciting that she hadn’t,” Kelly said.

When asked if the political atmosphere sparked the shooting. Kelly said, “[The climate] didn’t cause Jared Loughner to, you know, to plan this attack… I think you have somebody that’s really, really disturbed, possibly schizophrenic.”

Giffords, who has improved from critical to serious condition, appears to recognize her husband’s presence. During the interview, Kelly said his wife moves his wedding ring up and down his finger, something she has done before.

“She does that all the time. She’ll do that if we’re sitting at dinner in a restaurant,” Kelly said.