At the Courthouse: Hero and Mom discuss Saturday's event

2011-01-10T09:44:00Z At the Courthouse: Hero and Mom discuss Saturday's eventBy Kim Smith Arizona Daily Star
January 10, 2011 9:44 am  • 

Jane Hamilton was thankful for small decisions Sunday.

She was grateful she opted not to brave the crowds at Safeway when Beyond Bread ran out of the cookies she had hoped to give out at her art gallery.

She was also glad something made her son, Joseph Zamudio, decide to check out the crowd at Safeway after he bought cigarettes at Walgreens instead of before. 

Had either one made different decisions, she is positive one or both of them would’ve ended up a victim of the mass shooting Saturday.

Instead, Hamilton was a couple of miles down the road when authorities say Jared Lee Loughner opened fire and Zamudio, who drove to the shopping center in a separate vehicle, played a role in subduing the alleged gunman.

Zamudio, 24, said the clerk at Walgreens was waiting for his debit card to clear when he heard the gunshots.

He ran outside.

“It was crazy. A photographer with a telephone lens was outside and he yells ‘Shooter! Shooter! Get down! And I didn’t,” Zamudio said.

Instead, Zamudio said he ran toward a man and a woman who were grappling with a man on the ground. When he saw another man holding a gun, Zamudio grabbed his arm and shoved him into a wall.

“He told me ‘It’s not me. It’s not me,’ and I just told him to put it on the ground to make all of us feel safer,” Zamudio said.

Reassured by the others involved that the man wasn’t the shooting suspect, Zamudio helped hold the suspect down.

“He was just laying there until the guy who had the gun put more weight on and he said ‘Oh, my arm! You’re breaking my arm,’” Zamudio said.

When deputies arrived, Loughner resumed his silence and refused to roll over for them, Zamudio said.

Zamudio, who was armed, said he didn’t draw his weapon because it wasn’t needed and he didn’t want to be confused as a second gunman.

Zamudio doesn’t think of himself as a hero; the elderly man who tackled Loughner despite a head wound deserves much of the credit, he said.

“Somebody had to do something,” Zamudio said. “I just joined in. They’d already started it.”

Hamilton said she wasn’t at all surprised by her son’s actions.

“He’s a very loving, caring person. He really loves people, that’s probably his strongest point,” Hamilton said.

Ironically, Hamilton said family members have been teasing Zamudio for years about carrying a gun, saying he’d never be in a situation where he might have to use it.

Had Loughner not been tackled, Zamudio said he would have shot him.


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