Survivors of Jan. 8 to gather in memory of Tucson massacre at memorial event Saturday
The 11th anniversary of the assassination attempt on U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in which six people were killed and 13 wounded will be commemorated Saturday, Jan. 8, with a bell-ringing and remembrance ceremony adjacent to the Downtown site of a permanent memorial dedicated to the victims of the attack.
Survivors, relatives of those who were killed as well as board members of Tucson’s Jan. 8th Memorial Foundation will attend the event, which will begin about 9:30 a.m.
Beginning at 10:10 a.m. – the moment the 2011 attack began – a bell will be rung for each of those who were killed and those who were shot and survived.
The anniversary observance will be in the courtyard of the Historic Pima County Courthouse, 115 N. Church Ave., next to the memorial. Access to the event will be from North Church Avenue on the east side of the courthouse.
Speakers at the Saturday event will include Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, Acting Pima County Administrator Jan Lesher and Ron Barber, who was Giffords’ district director and among those wounded. Barber later was elected to succeed Giffords in Congress and is president of Tucson’s January 8th Memorial Foundation, which worked to develop the memorial and raise funds for its design and construction.
On Jan. 8, 2011, Giffords was meeting with her constituents at a Congress On Your Corner event at North Oracle and West Ina roads. A 19-year-old gunman shot 19 people, including the congresswoman. Six died and 13 were wounded. Giffords, who still lives in Tucson, resigned in 2012 to focus on her recovery and campaign for gun control.
The shooter was sentenced to seven life terms in federal prison without parole, plus 140 years, to be served consecutively.
The shootings turned Tucson into the center of global media coverage for the weeks that followed, as Giffords narrowly escaped being the first sitting member of congress assassinated since 1978 and the first on U.S. soil since 1905.
Pima County managed construction of the memorial, which opened and was dedicated on Jan. 8, 2021 – the 10th anniversary of the tragedy.
The memorial tells the story of the tragedy and how Tucsonans responded and also reminds future generations how the community came together at an important moment in history and how we all can continue to build a better democracy through active participation and civic discourse, foundation organizers said.