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. John whitehead

    Very sad day lay little girl so young too die

    January 11, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • george

      Moments like this one will repeat endless, except if in US will be no more weapons...But money are more important than a life in this system...

      January 12, 2011 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • bob

      Sure George, and while we're at it let's ban knives and forks because they are the reason for people getting fat and dying at an early age... and then George, let's ban cigarettes... and then George, let's ban _______, until in the end, after we've banned most everything, we'll just be drinking only distilled water and bread...

      January 12, 2011 at 1:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • teddy

      how Hypocritical are we? If this had been a "gang related" drive-by where several people were killed (which happens every day of every year in the inner cities of America) we wouldn't even be talking about it. Yes, a 9 year old was killed that was born on Nine-Eleven, how many kids are killed in our cities Every day. Not a peep from the Media, President, talk shows, etc. This guys was a KOOK who had a bad day. Happens every day without the Fanfare. Disturbing huh? 🙁

      January 12, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Doug A.


      January 12, 2011 at 8:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pamela in Florida

      They will not be forgotten.

      A very moving memorial and tribute to the lives lost and of those recovering. The President Obama that I voted for spoke to America tonight. God bless the families of those who died, and may God bless the survivors and families of those who will survive. God bless this country and all Americans. Let Freedom Ring.

      January 12, 2011 at 10:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. anna

    Saturday was a very tragic day for our country. My prayers go out to the famlies of the victims.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:54 pm | Report abuse |
  3. waow

    There is no word to describe how evil people can be. This 22 year old looks psychotic,pedophile,violent, ignorant,evil,ridiculous,soul less and it is disgusting. This little girl is really an angel. Everyone who died had sweet stories. The world is so chaotic. But honestly idf giffords was not involved it would be less media coverage. Just evil tragedy.

    January 11, 2011 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bird

      Everyone always has a sweet story when they die. Amazing how people never tell other people how wonderful they are. But let them die and all of a sudden they was the best...

      January 12, 2011 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Liza Null

      This is a terrible thing. Innocent people are dead, and others who were just trying to do their job are dead. We should be able to attend a political rally without fear of being killed, and people should be able to do their jobs without fear of same.

      But this man is not evil. He committed an evil act, true. But he is very very ill. He's sick. We must attend to this, yes. And he must be contained so that he cannot ever do this again.

      I hope that people will remember to also pray for this young man's parents. They are not evil, either. They are devastated. They are absolutely devastated! Their son, their own flesh and blood, has killed people for no reason. Who can imagine their child doing such a thing? We all have hopes and dreams for our children; at the very LEAST, we want our children to be good citizens, lead normal lives, be happy in their marriages and jobs. We want them to have activities that will make them healthy and happy. We encourage them when they do good, we "address" them when they do wrong.

      But even when our kids really mess up, we always have hope! We always hope that things for them will turn around, that they'll "get it", that they'll turn from destructive choices, and choose a better way.

      This young man's parents have NO HOPE. Their dreams for their son, ONLY 22 YEARS OLD, are GONE! This is it, this is how it's going to "end" for their beloved son.

      What this young man did is unconscionable. Evil. It WAS an evil act – but he, in and of himself, is NOT evil.

      He IS, however, very, very sick.

      And my heart breaks for his parents.

      January 12, 2011 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      First you can't tell a pedophile by looks. Second you have nothing to indicate he is one.

      January 13, 2011 at 2:37 am | Report abuse |
  4. monquie

    My prayers go out to the families of the victims... and to the 14 injured people..Also to the parents of the shoter.....

    January 12, 2011 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  5. da funkee 1

    I hope those folks from that Kansas church stay away from these victims funerals. These were everyday, decent people who deserve to be laid to rest with peace and dignity.

    January 12, 2011 at 12:07 am | Report abuse |
  6. Beatriz

    My prayers goes to all the families. This is so sad. May all the ones whom lost their lives RIP..

    January 12, 2011 at 12:10 am | Report abuse |

      AMEN..... Lord please give us as Americans more Understanding, Acceptance, Awareness & Education of MENTAL ILLNESS. Help us as a nation to WAKE-UP !!!! We are very behind the times on socially acceptability! of what POOR MENTAL HEALTH...IS.... and what it can do to us as a society. How many more massss murders do we need at the HANDS of our poor young people who are struggling with mental illness.......

      January 12, 2011 at 9:04 pm | Report abuse |
  7. rogenia

    My hearts go out to all the families who lost loved ones and those recovering from this tragedy...may God watch over his children as they go thru this difficult time...

    January 12, 2011 at 12:46 am | Report abuse |
  8. chrissy

    im with u on that funkee 1, i dont understand what motivates anyone 2 picket a funeral its totally disrespectful & these families have already lost so much they shouldnt be robbed of their right 2 grieve. they are all in my prayers, & shame on u picketers

    January 12, 2011 at 1:02 am | Report abuse |
  9. Maribel

    My prayers go out to the family and friends of those who suffered in this tragedy. What is the world coming to?

    January 12, 2011 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  10. Philip

    "Let the dead bury the dead, while we the living, go on living." I had a hard time undertanding what those words meant for many years. Had I been exposed to many of these posts right after first reading them, i would have know right away what they meant. (sigh)

    January 12, 2011 at 1:27 am | Report abuse |
  11. Philip

    known, rather

    January 12, 2011 at 1:28 am | Report abuse |
  12. Andrew

    I am more convinced than ever that Westboro Baptist Church is a homegrown terrorist orginazation and the definition of pure evil

    January 12, 2011 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Ellasie

      They are no "church" ... That is where I read the Bible , learn about God & worship him. They are NOT a church. I agree that they are a hateful cult/terrorist organization!
      Can't they be stopped? I guess that is where 'free speech' may need an amendment!

      January 12, 2011 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  13. ***dude***

    Where the heck does westboro get the money to fly a bunch of people all over the place?

    January 12, 2011 at 1:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Bird

      Obama? Oh come on someone had to say it.. ahhahaha

      January 12, 2011 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Nick

      It is a family of lawyers. They are trying to get reactions from people. When someone reacts and hits or uses force.. they sew them.

      I live outside Kansas City and they protest soldiers funerals here. I can not stand these people. Why hasn't there been federal law restricting people from protesting funerals everywhere?

      January 12, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
  14. rumrunner

    thanks cnn, now we know them as more than simply "six dead" .

    January 12, 2011 at 3:10 am | Report abuse |
  15. columbialily

    Agreed, rumrunner. Thank you cnn for recognizing each of the victims individually. My heart aches for each of the victims, the injured, their families, and the parents of the deranged shooter.

    @***dude*** I have read elsewhere that the Westboro Baptist Church Phelps family are lawyers, and get income from litigation settlements as well as large tax-deductible donations from their members. They operate tax-free by claiming to be a religious organization.

    January 12, 2011 at 5:05 am | Report abuse |
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