By Ed Hornick
WASHINGTON (CNN) — For Rep. Jackie Speier, the vicious attack on her colleague, Gabrielle Giffords, and others in Tucson, Ariz., brought back a chilling memory of when she faced an attempt on her life.
In November 1978, Speier and her boss, Democratic Rep. Leo Ryan, went to Jonestown, Guyana, to investigate Rev. Jim Jones’ People’s Temple, which had members from Ryan’s California district. As he was escorting some members of the church to his airplane to return to the United States, Ryan was shot and killed and Speier was seriously wounded.
At the same time, members of the church were committing mass suicide in what became known as the Jonestown Massacre.
The news of Giffords’ shooting revived those memories, said Speier, one of two Armenian-American members in the House of Representatives, along with Anna Eshoo.
“I certainly had all those emotions and all those flashbacks,” Speier, a Democrat from California, told CNN on Monday. “My stomach is still churning because I know exactly what Gabby is going through right now.”