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President-elect Biden remembers those lost on Tucson tragedy anniversary

(AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

PHOENIX — President-elect Joe Biden in an email statement remembered those lost and injured in the shooting in front of a Tucson grocery store 10 years ago Friday.

“Six innocent lives were taken away by a senseless and brutal act of violence,” Biden said. “In the decade since, too many families have known the pain of losing a loved one to gun violence, of futures stolen and dreams cut down before their time.”

“Today, Jill and I remember the people we lost in Tucson, and all of the families whose lives were irreversibly changed that day.”

Dorothy Morris, Judge John Roll, Phyllis Scheck, Dorwin Stoddard, Gabriel Zimmerman, and 9-year-old Christina Taylor Green were killed when gunman Jared Loughner opened fire at an event for former U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

Giffords was one of 13 who was also injured in the shooting.

She was shot in the head, leaving her with limited motion on one side and aphasia, a verbal disability. Significant help from Giffords’ speech therapist helped her advance considerably since the early days of her recovery and while she can think clearly, she struggles to form words and sentences.

“(Giffords’) perseverance and immeasurable courage in the years since has been an inspiration to millions,” Biden said. “Like so many survivors of violence, Gabby has turned tragedy into purpose, working with other leaders across the country to transform the fight for gun safety reform from a cause to a movement.”

“Every day she fights to make our communities safer and move us closer to our goal of a nation free from gun violence.”

Tucson honored the victims of the tragedy with the dedication of a memorial Friday marking the decade anniversary of the shooting.

“Tucson never stops fighting. We move ahead together,” Giffords wrote in a letter on social media. “Today and every day, my heart is with you.”

Former U.S. Rep. Ron Barber, a former staffer for Giffords who was shot in the leg that day, began the ceremony that included 19 bell rings representing each victim.

The bell on Friday first rang at 10:10 a.m., the moment the shooting started.

Biden ended the statement by saying, as president, he will continue to work with Giffords, survivors, families, and advocates across the country to “defeat the NRA and end the epidemic of gun violence in America.”

Loughner was sentenced to life plus 140 years and is at the Federal Medical Center in Rochester, Minnesota.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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