Families of Tucson shooting victims speak out


by Catherine Holland


Posted on January 11, 2011 at 12:51 PM

Updated Tuesday, Jan 11 at 4:16 PM

TUCSON, Ariz. -- During Tuesday morning's news conference at University Medical Center in Tucson, the doctors turned the microphone over to relatives of some of the victims.

One of those was Bill Hileman, whose wife Suzie had taken Christina Green, the 9-year-old who was killed, to the ill-fated "Congress on Your Corner" event.

Hileman said she and Christina were holding hands waiting to meet Rep. Gabrielle Giffords when they were shot. Christina was hit in the chest. Doctors at UMC tried to revive her but were unable to do so.

Suzie was shot three times. Those bullets missed her internal organs and her spine. She did, however, break her hip. She remains in the hospital.

Hileman said he and his wife have been friends with the Green family for some time.

"Suzie and Christina were generationally apart, but very much birds of a feather," Hileman said.

Hileman said his wife has told him bits and pieces of what she remembers from Saturday morning, but they have not been able to talk about it in depth.

"From time to time, in moments of discomfort, things come out," Hileman said. "I hear her in her semi-conscious ramblings screaming out, 'Christina, Christina! Let's get out of here.' ... She keeps talking about the holding of hands and then the realization that she's on the ground and the bleeding was profuse. Her memory seems to end there."

Hileman said his wife does know what happened to Christina.

"She's only just coming out of this very slowly, and I don't know for sure all of what has truly absorbed at this point," Hileman said.

He also said he has talked to Christina's father and said the Greens do not blame Suzie.

"[The Greens] are dear, sweet friends of ours who have been, from the get-go, trying their best to take care of Suzie despite the loss that they personally suffered."

Angela Robinson and Penny Wilson, the daughters of Mavanell "Mavy" Stoddard, also spoke out. Mavy was released from the hospital Monday. Mavy's husband, Dorwin, was killed in the shooting while trying to protect her from the barrage of bullets.

Robinson and Wilson said Mavy did not realize she was wounded at first and that she believes Dorwin saved her live.

"He heard the shots and covered my mom with his own body, and protected her and saved her," Wilson said. "She's very grateful. She's very aware of what is going on."

Robinson and Wilson said Mavy and Dorwin, whom they called "Dory," were grade-school sweethearts. They went their separate ways. Both moved back to Tucson after their respective spouses died. They got married 15 years ago.

When asked to share their thoughts about the man accused of shooting the Stoddards and 18 others, Robinson and Wilson declined to comment.

"God takes care of that," Robinson said.