Shooting brings back haunting memories for former Giffords staffer

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Rep. Barber sworn in, June 19, 2012 Rep. Barber sworn in, June 19, 2012

The shooting Wednesday morning in Virginia that left four congressmen injured is bringing back terrifying memories for one former Southern Arizona representative.

Ron Barber was a staffer for Congresswoman Gabby Giffords when a gunman opened fire at a public meet-and-greet on January 8, 2011.

“I faded out for a minute or two,“ recalls Barber. “They brought aprons from the deli so they could help with wounds and unfortunately use to also cover those who died that day.”

Barber was shot once in the face and once in the leg.  Six people died in the Tucson shooting but many more were wounded.

Barber would go on to represent District 2.  As a congressman, Barber says his office received one threatening phone call of serious concern.

“I think he wanted to just punch me out,” says Barber “Of course the police were wondering and concerned it might escalate beyond that.”

The caller was tracked down and prosecuted, says Barber. 

While the 2011 mass shooting did spark some security changes, he warns against too much security.

“Precautions we have taken since then have mostly to do with our district offices, making them a little bit more secure,” says Barber.

Barber is encouraging his friends on Capitol Hill to reach out to their communities despite the recent violence, and to take care of themselves.

“Even though you may not have been shot you have been hit by an emotional experience that will be with you for the rest of your life.”

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