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January 8th mass shooting remembered

Memorial should be ready for next year
Mayor Regina Romero
Posted at 7:55 PM, Jan 08, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-09 16:52:11-05

TUCSON, Ariz - It has been nine years since a man with a gun killed six people and wounded thirteen people including then Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords.

Wednesday, survivors, and Tucsonans in general gathered to remember that day and talk about how it affected the city.

If you were in Tucson, January 8th, 2011 you probably remember the moment you heard a mass shooting had come to Tucson--then had the additional shock when you learned of the victims: six killed including a nine year old girl and a Federal Judge---thirteen wounded, including a Member of Congress.

Wednesday, survivors reflected on the pain, and the strength they felt January 8th and every day since.

Nineteen names were read and a firefighter rang a bell nineteen times to remember a day Tucson came together when it could have fallen apart.

Ron Barber was wounded that day. He was Gabrielle Gifford's district director, and succeeded her in Congress. He says Tucsonans did not allow the violence to define who they are.

"Instead, we stood up three memorials. Tucsonans donated to the Together Fund that helps survivors counseling other supports. They donated to the newly established non-profits that work to address bullying, mental health issues."

Jim Tucker still feels the effect of two shots. He sees faith as a remedy to the trauma.

"I think that regardless of what laws or legislation is brought into place it comes down to, still, the attitude of the human heart and reverence for life."

Former Astronaut and current U.S. Senate candidate Mark Kelly is Gabrielle Giffords' husband. He's found strength in her optimism and ability to move ahead.

“It's hard to overcome that kind of traumatic brain injury but Gabby is not a quitter. She works hard every single day, really an amazing way and she doesn't get down about this."

And by next year, organizers expect a memorial to open remembering more than the dead and the wounded. It will be a tribute to how Tucson's people helped Tucson bounce back.

Senators Martha McSally and Kyrsten Sinema and House Member Anne Kirkpatrick have sponsored a bill that will affiliate the January 8th Memorial with the National Park System. Backers say that should attract national attention and bring more visitors to the site.