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First Post-Shooting Photos of Gabrielle Giffords Released

Photos of a smiling Gabrielle Giffords, the Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head in January, were released on her Facebook page.

The photos show Giffords with close-cropped hair.

According to a statement on the Facebook page, they were taken May 17, the day after her husband, Mark Kelly, went into space on the space shuttle Endeavour and the day before cranioplasty to repair her skull, a part of which had been removed to allow her brain to swell.

Photojournalist P.K. Weis of SouthwestPhotoBank.com, who has known Giffords for more than a decade, snapped the photos. Weis worked at the Tucson Citizen for 36 years, including 30 as photo editor, until the paper closed in 2009.

“It was very inspiring to see how much she had recovered in 4½ months,” Weis said in a statement. “I was excited to see her and to see her smile. She was glad to see me, was in a good mood, smiling and laughing, and seemed to enjoy the experience. I certainly did, too.”

Giffords, the first Jewish congresswoman elected from Arizona, is in a recovery facility in Houston. The third-term Democrat was shot Jan. 8 as she met with constituents in Tucson, Ariz.; six people were killed.

Giffords spokeswoman Pia Carusone said Sunday that Giffords could be released from the recovery facility as early as July. She will still require a great deal of outpatient rehabilitation.

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