Survivors, heroes remember Tucson’s worst mass shooting 9 years later

Remembering the Jan. 8, 2011 shooting

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Nancy Bowman, a local nurse, remembers Jan. 8, 2011 all too well.

That day, as she and her husband walked into the Safeway on Ina Road and Oracle Road, Jared Loughner, then 22 years old, walked out. Then he shot at a crowd listening to former Arizona Democratic Rep. Gabrielle Giffords speak.

It was 10:10 a.m.

Bowman’s training immediately kicked in as she ran outside at the first sounds of gunfire but what she found, she was not prepared for.

“There were 19 people down like dominoes in a very small space, people were crying and screaming, it was like a war zone,” Bowman said. “It was nothing that I had training for.”

She says she was crawling around on cold concrete in a pool of blood, “which was everywhere,” she said.

She immediately went to work.

“I was doing mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on John Roll,” she said. Then her husband, who is a medical doctor, had to step in. “My husband had to come back to me and say ‘honey you can’t save him, you’ll have to go and help some of the victims you can save.'”

Arizona Federal Judge John Roll was one of the six people who died in the worst mass shooting in Tucson’s modern history, 13 others were injured.

“As the memorial day approaches, you start reliving every emotion,” she said.

Today, nine years later, Bowman carried a small poster with pictures of the six who died so “that nobody forgets who these people were," she said.

Although she and her husband are gun owners, after the shooting, she is now an advocate for gun law reform.

“The way I try to live my life is Christina-Taylor Green proud of what I’m doing to stop gun violence? Is John Roll proud of me? Is Congressional aide Gabe Zimmerman proud of me?"

Jim Tucker remembers being shot that day.

“I didn’t see the shooter approach,” he said. “I was looking down thinking about what I was going to say, kind of concentrating on that.”

Then, he heard a gasp.

“Shots were fired and the third and fourth shots hit me,” Tucker said.

One shot shattered his right collarbone and the bullet fragmented.

“I have two fragments next to my spine,” he said.

They can’t be removed for fear of further damage to the spine.

After multiple surgeries, he still hasn’t recovered.

“Chronic pain, substantial neuromuscular damage, my right hand, shoulder, leg,” he said. “But you do what you can.”

Right now, every year he and his wife, who was not injured, visit the memorial at Ina Road and Oracle Road.

“Every year we lay flowers there in front of the boulder of the monument that Safeway installed there,” he said. “Very simple, very beautiful.”

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