Christina Green, 9
January 11th, 2011
10:39 PM ET

Relatives, friends remember 6 slain in Tucson

[Updated at 5:58 p.m. ET Wednesday] President Barack Obama will speak at Wednesday evening's memorial service for the victims of Saturday's shootings that killed six and wounded 14 at a political event in Arizona.

The memorial will be at the University of Arizona in Tucson, four days after the shooting outside a Tucson supermarket at an event held by U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. The congresswoman was shot in the head and was in critical condition at a hospital Wednesday.

In the days since the shooting, relatives and friends of the slain have spoken about who they were.

Christina Green, 9

A neighbor brought Christina to the event to meet Giffords because the girl had recently been elected to the student council at Mesa Verde Elementary School. The neighbor, Susan Heilman, was shot three times and is recovering, but is struggling emotionally with the girl's death, said her husband, Bill Heilman.

Born on September 11, 2001, Christina entered the world "on a tragic day and she went out on a tragic day," said her father, John Green.

"There's going to be a lot of those kind of moments that - I had one this morning, just waking up. She comes up and says, 'Daddy, it's time to get up.' She didn’t do that this morning," Green told CNN on Sunday.

Christina was the granddaughter of Dallas Green, a former Major League Baseball manager who guided the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series title in 1980. Her father is a scout with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Christina embraced the sport and was one of the few girls playing with her local Little League. She loved animals and thought about becoming a veterinarian.

Her mother, Roxanna Green, said Christina "was a great friend, a great sister, a great daughter."

"I was so proud of her. And I just want everyone to know … we got robbed. She got robbed of a beautiful life that she could have had," Roxanna Green said.

Bill Heilman said the Greens have reached out to him and his wife.

"To anyone that's a parent, to me, that's a level of strength that’s almost unimaginable," Heilman said this week. "I guess if I were to say who, if anyone, could handle something like this, it may well be them. But I think the reaction is too much to expect out of anyone, and it just blows me away the grace that they’re showing."

Gabriel "Gabe" Zimmerman, 30

Zimmerman, a Tucson native and director for community outreach on Giffords' staff, was engaged to be married.

He proposed to his girlfriend over the summer, his mother, Emily Nottingham told CNN affiliate KGUN.

"They had a lot of plans about what they might have done, and who knows where life might take you," she told KGUN. "It's a reminder that life can change suddenly."

He was an avid runner and had twice hiked through the Grand Canyon. He previously worked with troubled children at a treatment facility, and he served on the board of several children's groups, including Child and Family Resources Inc. That organization's CEO, Eric Schindler, told KGUN that Zimmerman, who joined Giffords' staff in 2006, became interested in politics after he received a master's degree in social work.

"There were always people who were half-joking, half-seriously chiding him about when he was going to run for office. He seemed to have that innate calling," Schindler told KGUN.


U.S. District Judge John Roll, 63

Roll, a Pennsylvania native, was a U.S. District Court judge for the District of Arizona who had served the legal system for nearly 40 years. He began his career as a bailiff in Pima County Superior Court and rose to be chief judge for the District of Arizona, a position he held since 2006.

According to court records relating to the shooting, Roll came to the Tucson event from Phoenix to discuss the volume of federal cases in Arizona with Giffords. He also was said to be at the event to support Giffords, his friend.

Matthew Bowman, who was a law clerk for Roll about six years ago, was loved and respected by everyone who encountered him.

"In his chambers, he dealt with a lot of people on a daily basis, (from) jurors to lawyers to other judges ... and he treated everyone with the highest level of courtesy and respect and dignity that he felt like they deserved, because they were human beings," Bowman, now a lawyer in Washington, D.C., told CNN.

Roll received death threats two years ago after he ruled that a $32 million civil-rights lawsuit filed by illegal immigrants against a rancher in the state could proceed. No link to those threats and Saturday's shooting have been made.

"He lived his life not really worrying about (threats and controversy),"  Bowman said. "If a precaution needed to be taken, he took it, but he really lived his life focused on the people who came into his life, his dedication to God, to his family, to his staff and to really everybody he encountered."

Rolls, a father of three, was "greatly dedicated to his family and the family of his staff," Bowman said.

"We would exchange notes throughout the year if I was involved in an important case or if he was, and it’s really hard to think about him not being there anymore," he said.

Dorwan Stoddard, 76

Witnesses said Stoddard, a retired construction worker, was trying to shield his wife, Mavy, when he was shot in the head and fell onto her. Mavy was shot three times in her legs but is expected to recover.

Stoddard's daughter Penny Wilson, who wasn't at the event, told reporters Tuesday that her mother has confirmed the account.

"He heard the shots and covered my mom with his own body and protected her and saved her. Mom definitely felt that way," Wilson said.

Another daughter, Angela Robinson, said that Mavy didn't know she was shot until she arrived at the hospital with her husband.

The couple attended the Church of Christ in Tucson. Dorwan built a room for attendees with small children.

"They both fed the needy, housed the needy, gave money to the needy and gave clothes to the needy. They were very important to us," the Rev. Michael Nowak told CNN.

Dorwan and Mavy knew each other as children. After both lost their spouses, they reunited and married. They were together for nearly 15 years.

"They were inseparable. You saw one, you knew the other one wasn't far behind," Nowak told KGUN.

Dorothy Morris, 76

Morris - friends called her "Dot" - was in line with her husband to meet Giffords when the shooting started, KGUN reported. Her husband, George, was wounded. The couple had been married for 55 years and lived in Arizona's Oro Valley, according to KGUN.

The pair were high school sweethearts in Reno, Nevada, one of their high school friends told KTVN in Reno.

They married in Reno and attended the University of Nevada, said the friend, Merilyn Melton.

Melton said George Morris would often describe Dorothy as his girlfriend or his bride.

"He and Dorothy were one of these devoted couples that were always together," Melton told KTVN.

Phyllis Schneck, 79

Schneck, of New Jersey, was a grandmother who spent winters in Arizona after retiring. She was known for her volunteer work wherever she lived, friends said.

"She always makes friends. She has friends everywhere she's lived," her son, Ernest Schneck, told WABC.

Her son told WABC that she was a registered Republican, though not politically active. But she liked Giffords, a Democrat.

"She just wanted to go down and shake her hand," Ernest Schneck told WABC.

Her husband died in 2007, according to the Daily Record of New Jersey.

- CNN's Casey Wians, T.J. Holmes, Ted Rowlands, Drew Griffin and Jason Hanna contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Arizona • Crime • Gabrielle Giffords
soundoff (83 Responses)
  1. Sam74

    Hmmm... Maybe Muslims and taalibaan are behind this!

    January 12, 2011 at 8:50 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Tony

    And as long as we continue to play this foolish game of "both sides are just as bad," and rely on trusty old ablism to dismiss Jared Lee Loughner as a crackpot—dutifully ignoring that people with mental illness are more likely to be victims of violence than perpetrators; carefully pretending that the existence of people with mental illness who are potentially dangerous somehow absolves us of responsibility for violent rhetoric, as opposed to serving to underline precisely why it's irresponsible—it will be inevitable again.

    Let's get this straight: This DISASTER didn't happen in a void. It happens in a culture rife with violent political rhetoric, and it's time for conservatives to pull up their godd@mn bootstraps and get to work doing the hard business of self-reflection.

    This is one problem the invisible hand of the market can't fix for them—unless, perhaps, it's holding a mirror.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Stu

      Some people are just CRAZY.

      January 12, 2011 at 9:06 pm | Report abuse |
  3. rick

    I am a a 55 yr old white male. 10 yrs infantry. i'm appalled and taken aback by some of the posts here. when do we learn, past the bull that we are together? a 9 yr old??!! and everyone else touched by this. my prayers.times are indeed changing. but we determine how they change.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kelly

      RIck thank you. This tragic event will only be made worse unless more posters make sensitive, concerned comments like yours. Regardless of any personal or political beliefs the fact that anyone can make some of the comments I have read here knowing an innocent child lost her life so tragically? Its disturbing. Thank you for reassuring me that there are more people out there that feel like I do.

      January 12, 2011 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Marc

    I feel for those for those who died in Arizona, but I don't see the President giving a memorial service for the 28,000, in the past 4 years, who have been killed in Mexico by every drug buying American. Perhaps it takes 5,000 murdered Mexicans to equal 1 dead America?. I'm not for legalization, but If those number of deaths were reflected in the US, Marijuana would be legalized, as was the case with prohibition.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. JS

    I still can't believe something like this has happened. My deepest sympathy to the 6 and their families during this difficult time. My thoughts and prayers for the victims who are recovering. The violence in this country needs to stop and the laws need to be more strict with severe consequences.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dani L

    Supercedes Paul Wellstone memorial for missusing a solemn event as a democratic pep rally.
    Nothing against Native Americans but why open with Native American prayer when the victims religions were Jew and Christian!
    Some one should have clued the crowd cheering is not respectful during a memorial service.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:30 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Joe Schmoe

    To those of you offering condolences, I understand you want to say something nice. But where were you when the Republicans took over the House? It is easy to feel bad after something like this happens; I certainly do. The hard part is looking in the mirror and realizing you may have contributed to it in some small way. Look back all you like, I understand, but what are you going to do in the future? Are you going to help diminish this kind of thing, or are you going to continue to vote for the ignorant, hate filled, bigots who run under the name "Republican" and "Tea Party?"

    January 12, 2011 at 9:31 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Tucson John

    From Tucson, the heart of the madness, now the harbor of hope. May God bless the souls of the fallen. Peace and joy to us all, the survivors. May we make the most of our good fortune.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:39 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Mark L.

    "UNITED WE STAND, DIVIDED WE FALL !!" Let's all learn to work together and love one another instead of spewing so much unwarranted hate-filled political rhetoric and satire. It doesn't matter what you are. Whether you are a liberal / moderate "blue-dog" democrat or a conservative / TEA party republican, let's find some common ground so that we can once again restore the pride of our Great Nation.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Johnny Not

    Anyone remember Aiyana Jones, the 7 year old shot by police in Detroit last May. The death of these people is tragic but no more tragic than that little girl, who's killer has not even been held accountable. You see so many stories about the loss of such young lives and it's hard to remember them all, but when it's a stunt like the police did for reality TV in Detroit, raiding the wrong part of the duplex, and an innocent young girl being killed while she slept, I find such horrible stories stick in my mind. I thought about it today and looked up what happened since and apart from the police chief resigning, nothing else has come out of that sorry event. No arrests for that little girl's death. Where's the video that apparently shows the police firing the gun outside, and not inside while while wrestling with grandma as the shooter Officer Joseph Weekley stated? Where's the truth and justice for 7 year old Aiyana and her parents?

    I'm not deliberately trying to hijack this tragic story, and I have no connection to the event's in Detroit, far from where I live, it's just sad that another little girl's life was needlessly taken away and I don't want it to be forgotten. My sincere condolences to the families of those killed and hurt in Tucson.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Joseph

    Rep. Giffords is a member of the House Armed Services Committee. She has been an avid supporter of the Military-Industrial-Complex, Capitalist Imperialism, and the waging of a relentless Class War against working people and the poor. She is a member of a business-run government that many consider to be the world's most dangerously psychotic Rogue Nation. Is what happened to her an injustice? Ask the survivors of our wars and interventions abroad. Ask the victims of the harmful domestic policies she supports. The answers could be interesting; even shocking to some. I guess it really depends on your own point of view and what you stand for (or fall for).

    January 12, 2011 at 9:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Johnny Not

      @Joseph. Still if that be the case, in America the way to stop them is to vote them out. Yes I know the system is not set up fairly for 3rd party candidates, but if you look at every angle to changing policy in America, there are many things to try and do before you fall back on violence and assassination, them being what I would consider the easier thing do but the least effective at making actual change in how's the county is run.

      With the new medium of the internet, the ability for people to promote themselves has arrived, case in point, the successful grassroots campaign by Dr. Ron Paul.

      So, if you want change, it takes hard work, a defined action plan to eliminate the injustices, and a united determined group of people to spread the message. Unlike the days of the American Revolution, we have a fairly high literacy rate, and access to information to spread the message. When they look back at our time period calling it "The Information Age," they will say with all honestly that the keyboard was mightier than the sword.

      January 12, 2011 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
  12. fed 123

    I agree.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. April snellings frm Virgnia

    My heart & prayers go out 2 all the family & and close friends. I have 2 sons, I could not image losen a child. God has taken 6 beauitful Angels which we Will meet again. AGAIN MY HEART AND PRAYER GO OUT TO THE FAMILY.

    January 13, 2011 at 8:32 am | Report abuse |
  14. Matthew

    This made me so sad.
    The story of this little girl, so sad, so tragic...
    God bless everyone.

    January 14, 2011 at 10:23 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Sarah

    Can somebody please go after these fake money making charities like Red Cross, Unicef, World Vision & others. They collected billions of dollar all over the world for Haiti & the situation is worst then ever. These blood sucking charities all got rich & most their employees are living lavish lives with huge bank account balances. I beg anyone in a position to find out where the money went & to get it back ASAP to save those poor dying people. All those who took this money for themselves, all of you are murderer of innocent people. Hell is waiting for you!!!

    January 15, 2011 at 9:34 pm | Report abuse |
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