Giffords Shooting Anniversary

The construction site for a memorial honoring victims of a mass shooting is shown, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020, in Tucson, Ariz. The shooting, which left former U.S. congresswoman Gabby Giffords severely injured, took place nine years ago. Construction is expected to be done in late summer or fall. (Astríd Galván via AP)

TUCSON, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) -- A ceremony is being held Friday to dedicate a memorial for the victims, survivors, and first responders of the Tucson shooting that left six dead, 13 injured, and nearly claimed the life of former U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords ten years ago.

On January 8, 2011, the tragic shooting happened during a casual meet-and-greet between Rep. Giffords and her constituents in a Safeway Supermarket parking lot just north of Tucson. The gunman, 22-year-old Jared Loughner, walked up to the crowd and started shooting, killing six and injuring 13, including Giffords, who was shot in the head.

Several people in the crowd helped tackle and wrestle the gun away from Loughner. Loughner was arrested and later plead guilty in 2012. Loughner was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

On Thursday, Giffords reflected in a series of tweets on the upcoming anniversary of the mass shooting that would forever change her life and so many others.

Giffords continued her thread to honor the victims' lives and those who live on, fighting to honor the victims' memory by advocating for safer communities and universal background checks.

Among the survivors and victim's family members who advocate for change today include Roxanna Green, whose 9-year-old daughter Christina-Taylor Green died after getting shot in the back. Mary Reed, who was shot three times by Loughner as she shielded her daughter from the gunfire. Patricia Maisch, who helped two men hold Loughner down when he had stopped to reload his gun, ending the violent shooting.

Just a day prior on January 6, Giffords was waiting for information regarding the safety of her husband, newly-elected Senator Mark Kelly as the U.S. Capitol was breached by a pro-Trump mob. She compared her situation to how Mark must have felt ten years ago.

Members of Congress were evacuated while rioters briefly occupied the Capitol building. Eventually, U.S. Capitol Police and the National Guard regained control after President-elect Joe Biden and President Donald Trump called for peace. 

Memorial Ceremony

The dedication will take place at the Historic County Courthouse in Tucson. The memorial will be placed just west of the Courthouse in El Presidio Park. The dedication will include:

  • Presentation of flags from an honor guard comprising representatives from the Northwest Fire District, Pima County Sheriff’s Department and other first responders
  • Opening prayer offered by Rev. Joe Fitzgerald, Banner University Medical Center chaplain
  • Remarks from Ron Barber, president of the January 8 Foundation’s Board of Directors who was wounded in the attack
  • Bell ringing at exactly 10:10 a.m. to coincide with when the first shots were fired

The ceremony will not be open to the public, and because of the coronavirus pandemic, only a limited number of people will attend. However, you'll be able to watch the ceremony on Pima County's Facebook page.

Following the bell ringing, the ceremony will feature a county-produced video recapping moments from the day of the shooting on January 8, 2011. The video will showcase an introduction to the memorial, called "Embrace," how it came together, and reactions from some survivors and family members of the victims.

County officials hope to have the memorial open to the public by early February, depending on the status of COVID-19.

 

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