Video: Doctors: Giffords facing months of rehab

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    >>> went on the air tonight, we learned congresswoman gabby giffords stood up with assistance in her tucson hospital room today. this comes on top of the news from earlier today that she will be leaving the hospital to begin rehabilitation at another hospital in houston , texas, possibly by the end of this week, by friday. some stunning news out of that hospital room in tucson , arizona, tonight. it's where we begin with nbc's migu miguel almaguere.

    >> reporter: the congresswoman is making remarkable strides. as you mentioned, just a few minutes ago doctors tell with us some assistance the congresswoman was able to stand up for the first time and look out the window at the mountains. when congresswoman gabrielle giffords is discharged, she'll go here, the memorial hermann hospital in houston , a world class facility specializing in brain injuries. the congresswoman's husband, mark kelly , will stay by her side.

    >> it's been hard to kind of wrap my head around this thing. what happened. what the future holds for her and for me. so i'll just take one day at a time.

    >> reporter: doctors say giffords' future will likely consistent of months of rehabilitation. it's unclear if she'll be able to speak or walk any time soon.

    >> there's no question that the most difficult part of her recovery for her has yet to come. she's going to have to work very hard. every day she'll have to put in hour after hour trying to regain any function she might have lost.

    >> reporter: giffords will become the last victim to leave the hospital . a remarkable recovery.

    >> it's not right. you know, she's injured. she lived. she survived. she's going to recover. there's six folks that don't get that opportunity.

    >> reporter: the victims are remembered every day in this community. those well wishes that blanket the hospital lawn have made their way into hospital rooms. giffords' family says she's held many of the cards, even tracked their words with her unbandaged eye. 9-year-old isaac saldana didn't just write to giffords, he sent her $2.85.

    >> i started thinking about her and her in the hospital so i just wanted to like raise money and send it to her.

    >> reporter: meanwhile, investigators continue to analyze nearly two dozen surveillance videos, multiple angles of what's described as gruesome images of the shooting. first, congresswoman giffords is shot. next ron barber. judge john roll tries to shield barber from gunfire. barber survived. judge roll was killed. later this afternoon, investigators say they would no longer discuss that videotape. as for the suspect, 22-year-old jared lee loughner, he'll likely be in court tomorrow or friday to face a federal indictment and enter a plea.

    >> miguel , equally remarkable about the congresswoman, the fact that her hospital stay looks like will come to an end by the end of this week. they feel she can easily go through the rigors of jet airplane travel to houston , texas.

    >> reporter: yeah, brian. her doctors say she's making remarkable strides. she's hitting the benchmarks necessary to leave this hospital . they say obviously they wouldn't let her leave if she wasn't ready. they certainly believe she is close to that, brian.

    >> just astoundingly good news amid all the bad news they have had lately there in tucson , arizona. miguel , thanks.

NBC, msnbc.com and news services
updated 1/19/2011 8:36:32 PM ET 2011-01-20T01:36:32

A federal grand jury indicted Jared Loughner Wednesday on three counts in connection with the Jan. 8 Tucson shooting spree that killed six people and wounded another 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

U.S. Attorney Dennis K. Burke said the charges are "just the beginning of our legal action."

"This case also involves potential death-penalty charges, and Department rules require us to pursue a deliberate and thorough process," he said in a prepared statement.

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The indictment alleges that Loughner, 22, of Tucson, attempted to assassinate Giffords, and attempted to murder two federal employees, Ron Barber and Pamela Simon.

The indictment includes three counts, not five as the original criminal complaint did. There's no count in this indictment for the killing of Judge John M. Roll or of Giffords aide Gabriel Zimmerman.

Justice Department officials say they fully intend to seek an indictment of Loughner for the other two counts but want more time to build their case — one that will almost certainly result in seeking the death penalty.

In essence, this is a place-holder indictment. It gets Loughner before a district court judge, now scheduled for Monday. And it gives the prosecutors a little more time before they hit a time limit for seeking the death penalty.

Calls to each of Loughner's attorneys, Judy Clarke and Mark Fleming, weren't immediately returned Wednesday evening.

The indictment was expected. The federal criminal code mandates that an indictment be brought within 30 days of an arrest.  

Loughner has been held in federal custody since the Jan. 8 shooting outside a Safeway grocery store. Surveillance video from the store shows moments of mayhem and a judge's bravery as a gunman shoots Giffords in the face, then turns the gun on a crowd of people waiting to meet the congresswoman, an Arizona sheriff's official said Wednesday.

Pima County Sheriff's Chief Rick Kastigar said he watched the first part of the surveillance video, which purportedly shows 22-year-old Jared Loughner shooting Giffords in the forehead from about 2 feet away. It also shows U.S. District Judge John Roll trying to shield Giffords aide Ron Barber from gunfire.

"I believe the judge is a hero," Kastigar said. "I think Judge Roll is responsible for directing Mr. Barber out of the line of fire and helped save his life."

Roll was shot in the back; he and five others died from their injuries. Barber was among 13 people shot and wounded.

The 22-year-old gunman had been bent on targeting Giffords since meeting her at a similar event in 2007, authorities said. She is in serious condition after the bullet traveled the length of her brain.

The video shows Loughner turning toward a group of people sitting in chairs, then stepping out of view. Kastigar said that's when Loughner indiscriminately fired at the seated group and turned toward Roll and Barber.

Kastigar said Loughner shot Barber, and almost simultaneously Roll moved Barber toward the ground and both crawled beneath the table, with Roll getting on top of Barber.

The sheriff's office turned the video over to the FBI, which has declined to release it.

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"You know, I've been a cop for three decades and I've seen some pretty traumatic and disturbing things, and this was very, very upsetting to watch this," Kastigar said of the video.

The Jan. 8 shooting rocked Tucson and the nation, resulting in an outpouring of support for Giffords and the other victims, including thousands of candles, cards, balloons and bouquets across the southern Arizona desert city.

Inside the hospital, Giffords' husband, Mark Kelly, has been keeping his own vigil. He told ABC television in an interview that aired Tuesday night that he believed for about 20 minutes that his wife was dead after seeing a mistaken television news report.

Kelly, a space shuttle astronaut, said he had rushed aboard a friend's plane to fly to Arizona after hearing of the shooting.

"I just, you know, walked into the bathroom, and you know, broke down," he said. "To hear that she died is just, it's devastating for me."

Kelly said he later learned that she was alive when he called Giffords' mother, who was outside the operating room.

Giffords isn't aware that six people died in the shooting, including Gabe Zimmerman, one of her staff members, Kelly said.

Kelly told Sawyer that he was sure Giffords recognizes him at her hospital bed, since she has continued with a habit of playing with his wedding ring — moving it up and down his finger and sometimes putting it on her thumb.

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"She's done that before," he said. "She'll do that if we're sitting in a restaurant. She'll do the same exact movements."

Giffords may leave the hospital Friday and move into a Texas rehabilitation center to begin the next phase of her recovery, her family said Thursday.

In a statement released by Giffords' congressional office, Kelly, said his wife will be moved — likely Friday — to TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation Hospital in Houston.

Kelly lives in Houston.

"I am extremely hopeful at the signs of recovery that my wife has made since the shooting. The team of doctors and nurses at UMC has stabilized her to the point of being ready to move to the rehabilitation phase," Kelly said.

NBC News' Pete Williams, msnbc.com staff and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photos: Mourning follows deadly shooting in Arizona

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  1. A hearse carrying the remains of U.S. District Judge John Roll arrives at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church before his funeral on in Tucson, Ariz., Friday, Jan. 14. Roll was killed in the Jan. 8 shooting that left six dead and wounded 13, including U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. (Morry Gash / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Mary Kool holds a single red rose outside the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church where the funeral of U.S. District Judge John Roll was to take place. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Mourners arrive at the funeral service of Judge Roll. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. A flag recovered from ground zero is raised during funeral service for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green at the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Tucson, on Thursday, Jan. 13. Green was the youngest victim of the shooting rampage. Green was born on Sept. 11, 2001. (Mamta Popat / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Left to right, Roxanna and John Green, mother and father of Christina Taylor Green, and their son Dallas Green, arrive at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church for her funeral in Tucson on Thursday. (Mamta Popat / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. 2,000 mourners were in attendance at the funeral of Christina Taylor Green on Thursday in Tucson. (Mamta Popat  / Pool via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. People dressed as angels line the street leading to the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church where the funeral for Christina Taylor Green was to take place in Tucson on Thursday. Hundreds, dressed in white, lined the streets for more than a quarter mile of the funeral procession. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. John Green kisses his son Dallas on the head as the family follows the casket of Christina Taylor Green at her funeral mass in Tucson, on Thursday. At left is Christina's mother Roxanna and at right is Camden Grant, Christina's godmother's son. (Rick Wilking / Pool via AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. A young mourner carries flowers and a teddy bear to the funeral of Christina Taylor Green in Tucson on Thursday. (Mamta Popat / Pool via EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Cindy and John McCain listen during the funeral service for shooting victim Christina Taylor Green in Tucson on Thursday. (Greg Bryan / Pool via Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. A woman holds the service program from the funeral for 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green outside St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Church in Tucson on Thursday. (Mike Segar / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. President Barack Obama speaks at the University of Arizona's McKale Memorial Center during the memorial service for victims of the shootings in Tucson. Obama told the crowd on Wednesday, Jan. 12, that Rep. Gabrielle Giffords had opened her eyes for the first time since being shot in the head during the attack on Jan. 8. Six people were killed and 13 wounded by the lone gunman. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Daniel Hernandez , the 20-year-old intern credited with likely saving the life of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, hugs her husband, NASA shuttle commander Mark Kelly, as U.S. first lady Michelle Obama applauds. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  14. First lady Michelle Obama holds the hand of Rep. Gabrielle Gifford's husband, NASA shuttle commander Mark Kelly, as they listen to President Barack Obama speak. (Jim Young / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  15. People sing the national anthem during the memorial service on the University of Arizona campus in Tucson. (Chris Carlson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  16. President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama at the start of the memorial event. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  17. People line up at the University of Arizona campus for the memorial service. (David Becker / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  18. Barb Tuttle is overcome with emotion at a makeshift memorial outside the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Jan. 12 in Tucson. (Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  19. Women waiting in line for the memorial service look at the campus paper at the University of Arizona. (Rick Wilking / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  20. Mark Kelly, husband of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, holds his wife's hand in the congresswoman's hospital room at University Medical Center on Jan. 9. (Offiice Of Gabrielle Giffords / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  21. Ron Barber, 65, district director for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, is visited by Giffords aide Daniel Hernandez in his hospital room on Jan. 9. Hernandez rushed to Gifford's aid after she was shot. Hernandez said that while he held the wounded Giffords, he asked another bystander to put pressure on Barber's wounds. He also asked Barber for his wife's phone number and then shouted it out to someone so that Barber's wife, Nancy, could be informed of the shooting. (Gabrielle Giffords' Office / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  22. President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama observe a moment of silence with White House staff members on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington on Jan. 10. (Jewel Samad / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  23. Congressional staff observe a moment of silence to honor victims of the assassination attempt on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on the steps of the Capitol in Washington. (Michael Reynolds / EPA) Back to slideshow navigation
  24. Rachel Cooper-Blackmore, 9, adds a note to a memorial at Mesa Verde Elementary School in Tucson, on Jan. 10. Christina Taylor Green, 9, was killed during the Tucson attack. (Chris Carlson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  25. Rachel Crabb, 5, holds hands with teachers, parents and other students during a moment of silence for her slain schoolmate, Christina Taylor Green, at Mesa Verde Elementary School on Jan. 9. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  26. Candles are lit on Sunday at a makeshift memorial outside University Medical Center in Tuscon, Ariz., for those killed or wounded during the attack on Rep. Gabrielle Giffords . (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  27. Ellie Steve, 6, from left, Lucia Reeves, 6, and Zoe Reeves, 18, gather for a candlelight vigil outside the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., on Sunday. (Chris Carlson / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  28. Six balloons representing the six people killed in Saturday's shooting spree, as part of a prayer vigil.Rep. Gabrielle Giffords battled for her life on Sunday after an assailant shot her in the head and killed six others in a rampage that has launched a debate about extreme political rhetoric in America. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  29. People console each other at a makeshift memorial located outside the University Medical Center on Jan. 9 in Tucson, Ariz. (John Moore / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  30. The American flag flies at half-staff on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, on Jan. 9. In a brief statement Sunday morning, House Speaker John Boehner said flags on the House side of the Capitol in Washington will be flown at half-staff to honor the slain aide, Gabe Zimmerman, of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Thirty-year-old Zimmerman was among six killed Saturday. (Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  31. The congregation prays for the victims of Saturday's shooting in Tuscon, at the Pantano Christian Church in East Tucson, Jan. 9. (Rick Wilking / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  32. Monty Edmonds, 36, left, of Tucson; Maggie Kipling, 34, of Tucson; Leigh Harris, 50, of Phoenix; Bella Furr, 21, of Tucson; and Sarah Herrmann, 22, of Tucson participate in a vigil at University Medical Center for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot during an event in front of a Safeway grocery store Jan. 8, in Tucson, Ariz. (Laura Segall / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  33. Emergency personnel use a stretcher to move Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head outside a shopping center in Tucson on Saturday. (James Palka / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  34. Ernie Freuler fights back tears as Ray Lilley takes photos of the scene outside the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords after she was shot in the head by a gunman who opened fire outside a grocery store, Saturday, Jan. 8, in Tucson, Ariz. (Chris Morrison / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  35. A law enforcement officer stands outside the home of Jared L. Loughner, identified by federal officials as the suspect arrested in connection with the shooting of U.S Representative Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in Tucson, Ariz., Jan. 8. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  36. People gather for a candlelight vigil for the victims of the shooting in Arizona at the steps of Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., on Saturday Jan. 8. (Jose Luis Magana / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  37. Vera Rapcsak and others hold signs outside the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Saturday after she was shot while meeting constituents. (Chris Morrison / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  38. Emergency personnel attend to a shooting victim outside a shopping center in Tucson, Ariz. on Saturday, Jan. 8, where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and others were shot as the congresswoman was meeting with constituents. Rep. Giffords, 40, a Democrat, took office in January 2007, emphasizing issues such as immigration reform, embryonic stem-cell research, alternative energy sources and a higher minimum wage. The gunman shot Giffords in the head, seriously wounding her, and killed six other people in a shooting rampage at a public meeting in Tucson on Saturday. Giffords was airlifted to a hospital in Tucson where she underwent surgery. One of the doctors who treated her said he was optimistic about her recovery. (James Palka / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  39. A woman places flowers by the office of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords on Capitol Hill in Washington on Saturday after she was shot in Tucson by a gunman who opened fire, killing six people, including a U.S. district judge, John M. Roll. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  40. In this photo provided by The White House, President Barack Obama talks with Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer about the shooting. (Pete Souza / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  41. Emergency personnel at the scene where Giffords and others were shot outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson on Saturday. (Matt York / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  42. Law enforcement personnel work the crime scene on Saturday. (Eric Thayer / Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
  43. A medical helicopter evacuates victims from the shooting scene. (Reuters) Back to slideshow navigation
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Gallery: Tragedy in Tucson: The shooting victims

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