Criminal Justice

Video Shows Chief US District Judge Roll Protecting Giffords Aide as Suspect Fired 32 Bullets


Updated: Cameras rolled as suspect Jared Loughner allegedly fired all 31 bullets in the magazine of his Glock, plus another round that was already in the chamber, at a supermarket in Tucson, Ariz., on Jan. 8.

The videotape indicates that Chief Arizona U.S. District Judge John Roll died a hero during the shootings, according to the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal.

At the outset of the melee, unidentified sources who have seen the video told the Washington Post, Loughner walked straight up to congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and shot her above the left eye from about two or three feet away.

Within moments, Loughner also allegedly shot Roll, who had tried to take cover under a table. As Roll did so, he sought to protect the congresswoman’s aide, Ron Barber, pushing Barber to the ground and getting on top of him, according to Richard Kastigar, the investigative and operational bureau chief of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, who spoke to the New York Times.

Chris Nanos, a captain with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, gave a similar description to the Wall Street Journal. Nanos said Roll pushed Barber to move him out of the way, and both men fell to the ground. “It’s pretty evident to me that Judge Roll was a hero,” Nanos told the newspaper. “If Judge Roll had not pushed Mr. Barber, his wounds might have been fatal.”

Barber has now been released from the hospital, KVOA reported last week. And Giffords is doing remarkably well, under the circumstances, reportedly moving her lips in attempts to speak. She could be walking within two months, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Roll died at the scene. An autopsy shows that the shot “took out his aorta,” a source tells the Post.

Additional coverage:

ABAJournal.com: “Federal Judge John Roll Killed in Attack that Targeted Congresswoman”

ABAJournal.com: “Stunned Federal Judges in Ariz. Mourn Slain Chief, Wonder How to Deal with Increased Workload”

Last updated Jan. 20 to include new information on Giffords’ health status.

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