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Tucson marks 5-year anniversary of Jan. 8 shooting

In a lecture hall at Banner University Medical Center, Jim Tucker rose to the stage and rang a bell, one brief peal for each those killed and injured on a sunny, terrible morning five years ago.

Tucker, along with more than 150 others, was there Friday morning to mark the five-year anniversary of the Jan. 8 shooting, when a gunman emptied the 33-round magazine of his 9mm handgun into a crowd attending a meeting with former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in front of a North Side Safeway.

UMC's chaplain Rev. Joseph Fitzgerald read off the names of the six people killed that morning, along with 13 others who were injured. Each, Tucker — who was himself shot that day — punctuated by ringing the bell.

The event was one of a handful of across the city Friday morning.

"It's bittersweet to be here, this morning," Fitzgerald said. For him and his team of chaplains who helped that day at the hospital, the anniversary was a chance to meet up with the community of survivors and witnesses, members, but it also marked a confusing, horrific morning.

As the ceremony began, Fitzgerald led with a prayer for those "wounded emotionally or psychologically."

"We pray for everyone who bears the scars from the day, that they continued to be healed," he said, calling the memorial bell-ringing a "symbol of unity, of hope, and most of all, of peace."

Nancy Bowman, a nurse who witnessed the shooting and later treated the injured, said that seeing the community rally around the victims of the shooting was something special.

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She said that she knew the mother of a victim of the shooting at Virginia Tech, but while events there had fizzled out, Tucson's own community continued to rally. "Theirs just faded away, but here there's a real sense that people care and that we have a community," Bowman said.

The group of survivors continue to connect and have broadened their reach to include Caren Teves, who lost her son during a mass shooting in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater in Aug. 2012. Teves attended the event at UMC along with survivors Patricia Maisch, Ken Dorushka, and Ron Barber. 

The survivors and their families plan to have a dinner Friday night and a group were preparing to take pies to first responders at Northwest Fire District as a thank you. 

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Jim Tucker rings a bell punctuating the reading of the names of those injured and killed during a mass shooting on Jan. 8, 2011. Tucker was wounded twice by the gunman, who opened fire at a Congress on your corner event in front of a north Tucson Safeway.