First responders remember January 8th shooting as memorial construction begins

TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - Seven years have passed since the shooting at Safeway on January 8, 2011, but Captain Brian Keeley of Northwest Fire remembers it like it was yesterday.

Nineteen people were shot, including former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Of the injured, six people were killed.

Captain Keeley says his department was on the scene treating patients within minutes. He recalls how overwhelming it was to walk into such a scene of chaos and mass trauma.

Keeley said this is exactly what the department trains for.

"In the midst of it, I had no thoughts whatsoever. We just went to work. After the fact, it took a lot of processing," said Keeley.

"That day for me is not a story. It's a slideshow. There are parts of that day I don't remember. Just being in the midst of it, and so much happening, and so much chaos, you can't put into words," said Keeley.

Keeley said he coped with the events of that day similarly to many of his colleagues: by getting right back to work.

That night, he and the rest of the first responders were back on call, responding to the community as they normally would.

"We remember it, we'll never forget that day. You can't," said Keeley. "But, I'm thankful that day that everyone who was alive when we arrived on scene is still alive today."

And those lives, along with those six lives lost will be remembered this year in a special way.

The construction site where the January 8th memorial will be constructed will be dedicated at El Presidio Park.

At 10:11 a.m., Brian Keeley from Northwest Fire and representatives from Banner UMC will ring a bell 19 times to remember those hurt seven years ago.

This year, the development and engineering plans for the new memorial will begin.

Construction on the memorial is expected to begin in about 12 months.

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