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. khandi

    I understand Gabby was the target but, I would like to know update on the other survivors.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  2. emunadate

    See video on Israel security…
    We need to find better security to protect our people. Maybe we can learn from Israel. They have the best security in the world....

    January 12, 2011 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. Katie

    This whole thing is just so upsetting to me. From the little girl and the grandparents who lost their lives to the sick man who committed this horrible act, they all break my heart. No one should have to lay their child to rest and it makes me cherish every moment I have with my 2 year old. He could be taken at any moment. It also makes me wonder why someone in such obvious need of mental help wasn't spotted and treated earlier. It's such a tragedy.

    January 12, 2011 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  4. Juls

    I feel so much pain for all the people in this massacre. But we must stop blaming. Put yourself in the position of parent, a son who has a drug problem and mental issues. Could you imagine having a fight with your son. Then to try to chase him to no avail. These people are some of the victims too. This has affected us all as parents and as a Nation.

    January 12, 2011 at 8:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Liza Null

      This happened in my neighborhood right before Christmas; a young man who had been very ill with schizophrenia for years and years, had an "argument" with his mother, and fatally stabbed her. She was able to live long enough to tell law enforcement who had attacked her – her own son. He was home from college. He had been in and out of hospitals for years, and apparently had stabilized enough to return to school. But, apparently his illness overcame him that morning, around 11:30 a.m., and they fought, and he killed her.

      Now his father is a widower. He himself is jailed in a state that has little patience with mental illness (Texas). It's very unlikely that he will be hospitalized; it's more likely that he will be sent to one of Texas' state prisons, put in general population, and he himself will be vicimized in ways that are too horrible to imagine.

      What can we do?!? We cannot let mentally-ill people run loose with guns, yet they are as deserving of medical treatment as someone who might have a disease like cancer. Where do they stand, when they commit a violent act?

      What can we do, to 1) protect ourselves, and 2) get them treatment and ensure their (and our!) safety?!?

      January 12, 2011 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Patrick

      Liza. They can have medical treatment. Quite often they do not want it. And they cannot be forced in most cases. Antipsychotic drugs have horrid side efects that most don't tolerate. And I don't know that he was schizophrenic. Paranoid delusional seems more likely from what I've heard BUT you cannot diagnose someone you've never met and haven't talked to.

      January 13, 2011 at 2:41 am | Report abuse |
  5. Michigan Mom

    My thoughts and prayers go out to all those affected by this tragedy. Each of these 6, as well as Rep Giffords and the others injured, were going about their lives on a nice day in Tucson. People who believed in the political process, wanted to hear or be heard. I also feel sad for the family of the shooter, because it's obvious he and they needed more help than what was available, or they could see. Mental illness is a large problem that often families are ill equipped to deal with, and as a country we have not made resources available, or have cut back funding to levels that leave the vulnerable untreated.

    I'm grateful that there was more information made available on each and every one of the victims. To their families and friends, my heartfelt condolences and sympathy.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  6. Leslie

    Finally, we' re hearing about all the victims. It's such a tragedy, but for the last 4 days, all I've heard about was the little 9 year old girl and Federal Judge that were killed. The news kept saying 6 people died, but this is the first I've finally heard about all of them. God Bless all the families. My prayers are with you all.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  7. banasy

    May the blameless victims and their families find some sort of peace in this tragedy. I continue to pray that the survivors recover and continue to live in peace and harmony.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  8. Kimberly

    I just wanna send out my condolences to to families of the deceased I'm so very so for your losses I'll pray for all of you and may gods love be with you and get you through this horrible situation.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  9. Bostoncreme

    "When Automobile kills someone its driver's fault not automobiles" agreed but conservatives forget that automobile's primary use is to transport not kill where as gun's sole motive is to kill innocent or not. If everyone have to carry guns why do we need the police for? just issuing traffic tickets? The number of DUI and Mass murders using automatic weapons is high because they are legal and have an easy access and now you want drugs to be easily accessible, so more people get killed in DUI cases. Guns are weapons of mass destruction and should be banned in any democratic country which is by the people for the people.

    January 12, 2011 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |

      Making guns illegal does nothing to keep guns out of the hands of criminals. This has been proven over and over again for decades. Illegal guns proliferate whenever restrictions are placed on guns.

      January 12, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad

      Bostoncreme get off your soapbox this is not a foruam for this type of talk have some respect

      January 12, 2011 at 9:19 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Bonnie

    My heart goes out to those who lost their liver or were injured by this evil being. The devil is out there and those of us who believe in the Lord need to pray on a daily basis. The end of times are coming, are you ready?

    January 12, 2011 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Liza Null

      I'm going to pray that more people recognize the difference between "evil" and "mental illness". This man is truly sick, mentally ill. What he DID was evil. But HE, in and of himself, is not evil. He's just very sick.

      I'm going to pray for those in charge of deciding what to do with him, have the wisdom to know the difference.

      January 12, 2011 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
  11. Nina

    Thank you for introducing these very special people; their loss feels very personal now knowing this about them. I will pray for their families today, tonght, and tomorrow. In brotherhood we are one; one nation, one world, one humanity and share the pain of the families of the beloved lost brothers and sisters. God will take the beloved in his arms and we must embrace their families at this time. May God's grace be with all.

    January 12, 2011 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  12. Deborah Fletemeyer

    My heart goes out 2 the families .my heart especially aches 4 the Green family my deepest sympathy 4 a great life lost' a angel was taken frm us '

    January 12, 2011 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  13. Darlene Y.

    What is wrong with our BEAUTIFUL country?God Bless all the families and victims of this tradgey.Peace be with you all and stay strong!Darlene Yepko from Las Vegas,Nevada 1-11-11 Our prayers are with all of you!God Bless All! :-)x0x0x0.....x

    January 12, 2011 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  14. debbie

    how simple is this: if everyone shot everyone that they were mad at – there would be no one left. God bless the families.

    January 12, 2011 at 12:28 pm | Report abuse |
  15. EatRunDive

    It just astounds me that ALL 6 of these people were EXCEPTIONAL people! Please read about them and remember THEM, not the mentally ill perpetrator of this crime.

    January 12, 2011 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
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