By Molly O'Toole
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Recovering Representative Gabrielle Giffords now knows who died in the Tucson shooting spree this January that left six dead and her own survival from a wound uncertain, her senior press adviser said on Saturday.
The Arizona Democrat was told the names of the dead -- including her aide Gabe Zimmerman, U.S. District Judge John Roll, and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green -- days before she returned to Congress late last month, said Mark Kimble.
"She had known for some time that six people had died, and 13 including herself had been wounded," said Kimble.
"Near the end of July, shortly before she went to Congress, she asked who had died and she was told."
Giffords made an emotional appearance on Capitol Hill August 1 to cast her vote on the debt ceiling, another step in a remarkable recovery from the gunshot wound to the brain inflicted in the shooting.
Kimble said he is only aware of Giffords having contacted one of the victim's families. Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly, spoke to Zimmerman's father Ross.
"She was obviously deeply saddened by it, and other than that, it's a private matter," said Kimble. "Doctors felt it was best to wait until she was at a stage in her recovery where she could fully process what she was being told."
Kimble said it is unclear whether, or what, Giffords remembers.
"That was nothing that we really got into, whether she remembers the incident or not," he said.
Giffords is in Houston continuing rehabilitation with a schedule Kimble described as "rigorous" -- speech, physical, and occupational therapy, Monday through Friday.
Giffords has not announced whether she will be running for re-election, though Democratic National Committee Chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz told CBS the day after Giffords came to Congress that they expect her to "come back and help us full time."
Giffords visited her southeastern district of Arizona, which shares a border with Mexico, in mid-June.
"She would like to come back; at this point, there's not firm plans on anything," said Kimble.
In May the accused shooter Jared Loughner was declared mentally incompetent to stand trial over January 8 shootings.
A federal judge has ordered a hearing August 26 for arguments about subpoenas issued by Loughner's attorneys that may shape an insanity defense.
Kimble said Giffords is focusing on her recovery for now.
"She's fully focused on her rehabilitation, that is a full-time job for her," he said. "She went to Washington for that one vote because she thought it was an extremely crucial issue to the future of the country."
(Editing by Jerry Norton)