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Condition of Giffords is upgraded to serious

In yet another sign of significant recovery during a remarkable week, the gravely wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was upgraded Sunday to serious condition, from critical, after a procedure to remove her from a ventilator was successful.

Doctors have been almost giddy describing her progress since she was shot point-blank in the head Jan. 8.

Giffords responded from the moment she arrived at the emergency room, at first just squeezing a doctor's hand. Then she raised two fingers. She opened her unbandaged eye shortly after President Obama's bedside visit Wednesday. Then, more milestones -- which doctors said were all indicative of higher cognitive function -- were achieved, all with her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, at her side.

Kelly asked her to give him a thumbs-up if she could hear him. She did more than that. She slowly raised her left arm. By the end of the week, she had moved her legs and arms.

At the hospital, more than 100 people were gathered amid the sea of get-well balloons and cards when the University of Arizona put out a statement upgrading her condition.

"Oh, that's great news," said Jean Emrick, a 50-year resident of Tucson, as a violinist played in the background.

Her eyes watering, Emrick said: "Tucson is such a special place and she represents what's the best of southern Arizona."

Doctors decided to upgrade her condition because the tracheotomy done a day earlier was uneventful, hospital spokeswoman Katie Riley said. A feeding tube was also put in Saturday. Doctors speculated that they might soon know if she can speak.

Six people were killed when a gunman opened fire at a meet-and-greet she was hosting outside a supermarket in her hometown. Giffords and 12 others were wounded.

Meanwhile, a week after the massacre, more details emerged about a shooting victim who police said became distraught and was arrested during a televised town hall-style meeting.

James E. Fuller, a self-described liberal and military veteran, started ranting at the end of the program. He took a picture of a local "tea party" leader and yelled "You're dead" before describing others in the church with an epithet, authorities said.

Deputies called a doctor and decided he should be taken to a hospital for a mental evaluation, said Pima County sheriff's spokesman Jason Ogan.

No one answered the door Sunday at Fuller's home.

In media interviews and on the Internet, Fuller, a former limousine driver and census worker, has said he worked hard to get Giffords re-elected in her conservative-leaning district. He was going over questions he had prepared for the congresswoman, when the shooting began, he said in an interview with the television show "Democracy Now."

He was shot in the knee and back and drove himself to the hospital, where he spent two days. "I didn't know how to calm myself down," he said on the TV show, "so I wrote down the Declaration of Independence, which I memorized some time ago. And that did help to organize my thoughts."

Fuller returned to the Safeway supermarket Friday, telling KPHO-TV he had always considered trauma a figment of imagination until the events of Jan. 8.

"Today I'm back on my feet, more or less, and I'm in a combative mood," Fuller said as he limped across the store parking lot. "It's helping me. I've never had any trauma like this in my life."

Later, he showed up at the home of accused gunman Jared Loughner, who lived within a half-mile of Fuller.

"He said he was going to forgive [the gunman] for shooting him," Richard Elder, 86, a retired medical mechanic who lives next door to Fuller, said Sunday. "If anyone shot me, I don't think I'd say, 'Hey feller, that's all right.' "

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