Reflecting on the January 8th Tucson shooting, 11 years later

KOLD News 6-6:30 p.m. recurring
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 4:32 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - January 8th marks the anniversary of the shooting that shook the Tucson community and beyond.

U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and 18 others were shot during an event held in a Tucson grocery store parking lot. Six people were killed that day.

KOLD spoke with Tucsonans about what they feel has been done since that day, and what work lies ahead.

January 8th, 2011 is a day every Tucsonan has ingrained in their memory.

Representative Gabby Giffords was holding a “Congress on your Corner” event in a Tucson Safeway Parking lot when a man opened fire, injuring Giffords and 18 others. Six people lost their lives.

They are 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, 63-year-old U.S. District Judge John Roll, 76-year-old Dorothy “Dot” Morris, 79-year-old Phyllis Schneck, 76-year-old Dorwan Stoddard, and 30-year-old Gabriel “Gabe” Zimmerman.

As Giffords’ intern at the time, State Representative Daniel Hernandez remembers the day all too clearly, stanching the bleeding after she was shot. Eleven years later, he says there’s still work to be done to prevent another tragedy like this.

“Tomorrow is going to be yet another bittersweet day of remembrance because we’re going to remember people who we lost and those who were injured, and some of the wins that we’ve had, some of the striving that we’ve made toward making sure that we’re all safer. But also disappointment in Congress for not being able to work together in a comprehensive way,” says Hernandez.

“What was particularly disturbing about this was that Gabby Giffords was made a target,” says Tucson resident Robin Steinberg.

Steinberg, out for a bike ride at Christina’s memorial park, agrees with Hernandez that this event seemed to mark the beginning of a rise in political violence, that they say were are still seeing.

“Even though we’re commemorating what we all recognize as a tragedy, the same type of hate-mongering is taking place,” says Steinberg.

Representative Hernandez compared January 8th, 2011 to January 6th 2021′s storming of the Capitol.

“It was a turning point, where we had to make a choice of...are we going to make sure that we’re fighting for accountability, or are we just going to let this day pass and do it as a remembrance? I think that these are two dates that are really important in America and in southern Arizona’s history because we’re really looking at...how do we hold people accountable, how do we make sure that we’re fighting for a better America and a better Arizona?”

Hernandez is now running for congress, as he says his hope is to continue that fight.

Tucsonans tell us, they just want to see everyone come together.

“You don’t have to agree with, you don’t even have to respect your opponent, but this inciting of violence is a horrible thing to be happening, especially in our community. Think about your neighbors and your loved ones and live a life that shows that,” says Steinberg.

It’s a life that many believe Christina-Taylor Green would want.

“She imagined an America that was an incredible place, where anything was possible, so we need to make sure that we keep up that fight, that we keep advocating for that America,” says Hernandez.

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