Hundreds Gather in Tucson to Mark the First Anniversary of Deadly Rampage
January 8th marks the one year anniversary of a deadly shooting where Jared Lee Loughner killed and wounded several innocent people in 2010, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. In remembrance, hundreds gathered at the University of Arizona for tribute speeches to each victim.
According to Fox News, Colorado Sen. Mark Udall, who was born and raised in Tucson, spoke about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who continues to make a miraculous recovery from a gunshot wound to the head. He praised her for working toward improving the country and said other politicians can learn from her example and move away from incendiary comments.
Sunday’s ceremony began with a service at St. Augustine Cathedral where a pastor asked everyone in attendance to celebrate the lives of those who were affected by the shooting and those who acted heroically. According to Reuters, a Navajo flutist performed and a group of young girls and teens dressed in white danced through the cathedral.
"Even in the midst of this troubling year, the healing, the courage that we have experienced in our community — each one of us can notice how our cups overflow with the blessings of our lives," said Stephanie Aaron, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' rabbi, as reported by Fox News.
The day the shooting occurred, six people were killed, including 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, a Giffords aide and a federal judge. Thirteen others were shot, including the severely wounded Giffords.
Gary Huckleberry, whose daughter was traumatized by having witnessed the shooting, came from an earlier service at an Episcopal parish near the scene of the shooting, saying he found the remembrances therapeutic.
"A lot of us have come a long way since that date a year ago. For some people it will take much more time to get over it, but having this service ... was healing," he said, as reported by Reuters.
The accused gunman, Jared Loughner, a 23-year-old college dropout with a history of mental illness, is charged with 49 offenses stemming from the shooting rampage, including first-degree murder and the attempted assassination of Giffords. He was arrested at the scene of the shooting and pleaded not guilty. However, after he was declared incompetent to stand trial, he was confined to the psychiatric ward of a prison hospital.