Sen. Gillibrand was in room when Giffords opened her eyes


TUCSON, A.Z. (WKTV) - President Barack Obama, among thousand of others, attended a memorial service Wednesday for those who were killed and injured in a mass shooting last Saturday.

Six people were killed and 13 others were wounded. The shooting took place at an event hosted by Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, who was the target of the shooting and remains in critical condition.

Obama went off script Wednesday to give an update on Congresswoman Giffords' condition. "Gabby opened her eyes for the first time," Obama said after just coming from a visit to her hospital room. The line most likely garnered the most cheers and applause of any in the speech.

"There is nothing I can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts. But know this: the hopes of a nation are here tonight. We mourn with you for the fallen. We join you in your grief," said the president.

The President went on to give remarks on every person killed in the attack, many of whom had family in the audience. Others in the arena where survivors or witnesses of the shooting.

Obama's goal was to give a warm and honorable portrait of the six people who were killed at Giffords' event last Saturday. Among those who died were a 9-year-old-girl, a prominent judge and an aide to Giffords who was engaged to be married.

Seated next to the President was Daniel Hernadez, the 20-year-old intern in Gifford's office and who is now credited with saving the congresswoman's life. Hernandez rejected the hero tag, instead recognizing emergency workers who rushed to help victims.

Also among the invited guests where First Lady Michelle Obama, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer, Secreary of Homeland Security and former Arizona Governor Janet Napalitano, Attorney General Eric Holder, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator John McCain and New York Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand.

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand was among Giffords' friends who were in the room when she opened her eyes.

Mark Kelly, the husband of Congresswoman Giffords, was seated next to Michelle Obama.

Inside the McKale Memorial Center, mourners hugged and consoled each other before the ceremony. People cheered when survivors or families of the victims arrived. Some 14,000 people crowded into the basketball arena, with another 13,000 watching on television at Arizona Stadium.

What's On