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Permanent Memorial Will Honor Tucson Shooting Victims

Rep. Ron Barber (left) and Pam Simon speak after the event Monday. Both were wounded in the attack on Jan. 8, 2011, that left six dead and 13 injured.
Michel Marizco
Rep. Ron Barber (left) and Pam Simon speak after the event Monday. Both were wounded in the attack on Jan. 8, 2011, that left six dead and 13 injured.

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Permanent Memorial Will Honor Jan. 8 Killings in Tucson

Permanent Memorial Will Honor Tucson Shooting Victims

Michel Marizco

Rep. Ron Barber (left) and Pam Simon speak after the event Monday. Both were wounded in the attack on Jan. 8, 2011, that left six dead and 13 injured.

Nearly three years after a gunman opened fire at a Tucson grocery store, killing six people and wounding 13 more, the city is preparing to build a memorial marking that day. 

A small crowd gathered outside the Pima County Courthouse Monday morning. This is where the memorial to an assassination attempt that ended the career of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords will one day stand.

Pam Simon is one of the survivors. She wants people to learn about those who helped that day, from good samaritans to first responders.

"They will learn about the extraordinary response of our community," Simon said.

The courthouse is miles away from the Safeway where six people died. But the foundation that will build the memorial says the county government courthouse is a fitting place because those who died and were injured were participating in a local government event. Following the shooting, people brought flowers and hand-written letters and candles and symbolic trinkets and built a makeshift memorial. They’ll be incorporated into the permanent memorial’s design.

Ross Zimmerman lost his son that day.

"As I’ve been explaining to people, we’ve got a series of extraordinary memorials to my son Gabe and those have been wonderful and sufficient but I felt that the community needed a memorial," Zimmerman said.

The actual memorial is still a year, and maybe even three, away. Ross Zimmerman says his son, if he were still alive, probably would have helped in its construction.

"I’m not as good as he is, was, is, at faciliating some of those community processes but I figured I should do my best," he said.

Fronteras Desk senior editor Michel Marizco is an award-winning investigative reporter based in Flagstaff.