My Complete Video Coverage of the Gabrielle Giffords Shooting in Tucson

On January fourth I flew out to Las Vegas, to cover CES2011 for the Washington Post. After four and half days of coverage, I was beat and ready to head home and sleep, but on Saturday afternoon, while I was on the convention floor, nowhere near a TV or radio, I got a call from my editor. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords had been shot in Tucson. At the time, we thought she had died, and my assignment was to get on the soonest flight I could to Tucson and start reporting.

I landed in Tucson at 6:30, and got a rental car and drove to Giffords office, where there was a suspicious package, arrived just as the police blew up the mysterious tin. That night I put together this video about the vigil being held at Gabby's (as everyone I met in Tucson called her) office.

Tucson community holds vigil at Rep. Giffords' office

The next day, we had more details about what was happening, but most reporters on the ground at a scene like this only know about as much as the public does. In the aftermath of a tragedy, details, numbers and information changes every hour until some concrete statements are released. I headed to the house of the alleged shooter to see if any of his neighbors would talk to me on camera. At this point, I was learning things directly from sources, some of it totally new, since no one knew anything about Loughner at this point. The previous night was already very difficult reporting, and I'm not ashamed to say I cried several times during my reporting throughout the week. I'm a human first, and a journalist second. This was also when the police released the 911 calls, which I couldn't bring myself to listen to all the way through.

Chilling 911 call; neighbors recall a reclusive Loughner

The over the next two days, I worked with excellent Post reporters, Phil Rucker and Amy Gardner. I learned so much from both of them. With Phil, I worked on a piece about the "Two Tucsons," how the reality of Tusconan life now is different form what people envisioned when they came here, and how that related to the larger climate of the area.

A Tale of Two Tucsons

Working with Amy, we reported on a scoop she found at a local YMCA, where the lives of three victims of the shooting, and the alleged shooter intersected. For us, trying to find a sense of community in Tucson, the YMCA was symbolic of the small town feel that this sprawling city has. For how spread out the community is, there are some people that everyone seemed to know. A HUGE thanks goes out to the staff of the YMCA, who were completely open wand willing to help us with this unique story.

Lives of Victims and alleged shooter intersect at YMCA (this is exclusive to washingtonpost.com, please click the image to watch the video there)



Now is a good time to mention that the entire Tucson community was incredibly open to the press at a time as hard as this. The flight attendants on my emergency flight out allowed me to carry on bags I would have had to gate-check in order to get to the scene faster, and gave me and other reporters one liter bottles of water. The rental car agency gave me a reduced rate even though I took one fo their last cars, our hotel put up press at a special rate, and most importantly the entire community was open with us.

That night, I went to an interfaith service in town, to capture sights and sounds and get to know the community more.

In Tucson, interfaith service to remember shooting victims (click image to view on washingtonpost.com)



The next morning I was able to interview Daniel Hernandez with another excellent Post reporter: Dana Hedgpeth. Hernandez was Giffords intern who cared for her until EMS came. He is a very caring and brave person, and not many people would have been able to put other's lives before their own safety.

Hero intern Daniel Hernandez talks with The Post (click image to view on washingtonpost.com)



The last coverage I was able to get before I head home today was at the memorial outside Tucson University Medical Center. I really wanted to show how in times of tragedy the best in people can actually come out, as all of us on the ground in Tucson had seen throughout the week.

Tucson recovers


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