Christina Green Friend's Mental State Watched

Bill Hileman on "The Early Show." CBS

The youngest victim of Saturday's massacre in Tucson was 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green. With her that day was a family friend, Suzi Hileman, 59, who was also shot and remains in hospitalized.

How did the pair end up at the political event for Rep. Gabrielle Giffords?

Bill Hileman, Suzi Hileman's husband, told the press, "Suzi and Christina are generationally apart, but they are birds of a feather."

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"Early Show" co-anchor Erica Hill spoke with Bill Hileman earlier this week between visits with his wife in the hospital. He told Hill his wife and Christina were waiting in line to speak to Giffords when the shooting began.

Bill Hileman said, "Suzi was holding her hand trying to get away, and just -- pop, pop, pop."

When it was over, Suzi Hileman -- shot several times -- lay seriously hurt. Christina was fatally wounded.

Christina's parents Roxanna and John Green say their prayers are with Suzi Hileman.

Roxanna Green said of Suzi Hileman, "She's a very strong woman, amazing lady; she's going to be fine."

Suzi Hileman's husband says she is tormented by what happened to her little friend.

He said, "I hear her in her semi-conscious ramblings screaming out, 'Christina, Christina, let's get out of here.'"

Hill pointed out the two were 50 years apart, but had an undeniable bond over their common interest in civic issues.

Hill asked Bill Hileman earlier in the week, "What made (Christina) so special?"

He responded, "Just one of those precocious little girls that is so engaging. She was engaging to adults. She was a little girl who was going places."

On "The Early Show" Wednesday, Bill Hileman spoke to Hill again from Tucson at University Medical Center.

He gave an update on his wife's condition, saying she'd had a second surgery on her hip on Tuesday. He said she's expected to have a full recovery, albeit with a long rehabilitation.

But, Hill noted, Bill Hileman and the hospital staff have expressed concern over Suzi Hileman's mental state since the shooting.

Bill Hileman said memories of the shooting have gotten "clearer and clearer" for his wife with each day.

"She still remains under a lot of pain medication, and still is not really speaking in paragraphs so much as in sentence by sentence. But she is aware of what's happened," he said. "And the sadness is definitely part of what she's dealing with in her recovery at this point."

Hill asked, "How much of what happened is she able to talk about with you or to tell you? Are you getting a real picture from her at this point?"

"We've been putting pieces together," Bill Hileman said. "It's not the type of thing where we really want to initiate the questions. But, she has let it out bit by bit. And it's getting easier to kind of get the entire scene of what occurred."

Hill recalled an earlier conversation with him, saying he told her that the Hilemans and the Greens grew close when the Greens moved to the neighborhood a couple years ago. Suzi Hileman and Bill Hileman, Hill said, got the chance to play grandparent to Christina. Suzi and Christina, she said, had a particular bond.

Bill Hileman said his wife has always had a "particular proclivity for the young kids."

He explained, "She likes the semi-blank slate of their youth. And opportunities to intrigue and influence just seemed to gravitate towards her. Christina was one of those children who are very, very comfortable with adults her parents have done a wonderful, wonderful job of raising her, and she's a very poised young girl. And Suzi can be challenging, but she's also very engaging, and the chemistry between the two of them was there from their first encounter."

Hill noted the pair had a common interest in politics, which led to their attendance at Saturday's event.

"Suzi has long taken advantage of any time out, (providing) good, positive role models for young girls. She particularly likes to make those connections," Bill Hileman said.

Hill said Roxanna and John Green don't seem to hold any grudge, but said it's still difficult to be in this position.

She asked him if there's anything that provides comfort or solace to the couple since the shooting.

Bill Hileman replied, "My wife has incredible mothering instincts. You can even ask -- we've got two 20-plus-year-olds that will testify to that. And what first came out of her when consciousness returned was concern for Christina's well-being and how she had come out of it."
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