Giffords to finish event where she was shot

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, right, is embraced by Pam Simon, one of those wounded, during a memorial vigil remembering the victims and survivors of the shooting that wounded Giffords and 12 others and killed six Jan. 8, 2012, in Tucson, Ariz.
AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin

Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is resigning, saying her "spirit is high," but she needs to concentrate on her recovery from gunshot wounds.

The Arizona Democrat announced the move Sunday in a YouTube video. The resignation is effective later this week.

She was shot in the head and nearly died a year ago.

Friends and colleagues say that, once she decided not to run for reelection, she determined stepping down now was the best thing both for her and for her constituents. She needs to focus on recovery and they need a full time representative.

But first, she's coming to Washington one more time in her official capacity as a member of Congress, to attend President Obama's State of the Union address Tuesday night.

And Giffords says she another goal before leaving office: to complete the "Congress on Your Corner" event that was interrupted by the shooting rampage last January. She plans to hold that event privately, with some supporters.

The video Giffords used to announce her decision revealed both her stunning progress, and her limitations.

For the past year, Giffords has spent hours every day undergoing speech and physical therapy.

Her rare public appearances have been a source of wonder -- doctors initially warned she might never wake up from a coma after she was shot at close range in the head.

Giffords was one of 19 people shot on January 8, 2011 when a gunman open fired at the "Congress at Your Corner" event Giffords was hosting in a Safeway parking lot in Tucson. Six people died, and 13 were injured, including Giffords. Alleged gunman Jared Lee Loughner has pleaded not guilty to 49 charges in the shooting.

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    Nancy Cordes is CBS News' congressional correspondent.