Victims remembered at Mass

Faithful gather
2011-01-11T19:45:00Z 2011-01-11T21:31:14Z Victims remembered at MassThe Associated Press The Associated Press
January 11, 2011 7:45 pm  • 

The city shaken by a shooting rampage that killed six people and left 14 injured came together at a church Tuesday to mourn the victims, including a 9-year-old girl who sang in the choir.

Tucson Bishop Gerald Kicanas presided over the first official tribute to the victims at St. Odilia Catholic Church. The Diocese called the service a "Mass of healing for our community."

Several hundred mourners filled the church as nine young girls sang "Amazing Grace." A crucifix hung from a white block wall behind the altar, adorned with a few lit candles and red poinsettias on the steps leading to it. Children, some in their Sunday best, arrived with their parents. Some adults sat alone.

Yvonne Ignacio, 53, went to the Mass after learning about the shooting while she was listening to a conservative talk radio Saturday.

"I am dismayed that it's become political. That's disrespectful to the victims and that's why we're here," said Ignacio, who is a Tea Party member.

Her husband, Chuck Bolotin, 53, agreed: "I did everything I could to defeat her and yet it doesn't make a difference. It doesn't mean she deserves to be shot."

The modern turquoise-and-white church is only blocks from Saturday's attack outside a Tucson grocery store. Police have said Jared Lee Loughner, 22, fired on the crowd gathered at an event hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head. Piles of flowers, balloons and signs festooned the entrance to the hospital where Giffords is in critical condition.

President Barack Obama has called the shooting a tragedy for the entire country.

The youngest person killed in the shooting spree, Christina-Taylor Green, was baptized at the church and sang there, said Elizabeth Okonya, who works at the church.

Green was elected to student council and went to see Giffords because of her interest in government. She was featured in a book about babies born on Sept. 11, 2001.

Dozens of sheriff's deputies on motorcycles and in squad cars surrounded the church before the Mass was scheduled to begin. About a block away, TV crews were filming after being escorted into a restricted area, away from mourners. The Pima County Sheriff's Department said media would not be allowed on church property.

Loughner has been charged with attempted assassination of Giffords, who is at a Tucson hospital after being shot in the head. Loughner also was charged with two counts of killing an employee of the federal government and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee.

Associated Press writer Julie Watson in Phoenix contributed to this report.

 

 

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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