Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Giffords meets victims' families

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NEWTOWN, Conn. -- Former Arizona congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, nearly two years after being critically wounded in a mass shooting, on Friday met with families of victims in last month's shooting that left 26 people dead inside an elementary school.

Giffords was accompanied by her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, at the private meeting in Newtown that was also attended by U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal.

"As always, I was deeply impressed by the strength and courage and resolve of the families and the extraordinary caring and generosity of Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly in visiting with them," Blumenthal said.

Giffords, a Democrat, met earlier in the day with officials including Connecticut's lieutenant-governor and Newtown's first selectman.

Giffords was left partially blind, with a paralyzed right arm and brain injury, when a gunman opened fire at a constituent meet-and-greet outside a Tucson grocery store on Jan. 8, 2011. Arizona's chief federal judge and five others were killed and 13 people, including Giffords, were injured.

The gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges and was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences, plus 140 years.

Kelly has become a vocal advocate for gun control in recent months, most notably at Loughner's sentencing in November.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 5, 2013 A22

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