tv ABC World News With Diane Sawyer ABC January 12, 2011 5:30pm-6:00pm PST
i'm carolyn johnson. >> thanks for watching. we appreciate your time. we'll see you again in half an hour. tonight on "world news," heartache and healing. america gathers for a memorial. in tucson, the lines formed early to hear president obama speak about the lives lost. and tonight, news of the suspect. police now say they stopped his car on the morning of the massacre. snowed under. the power goes dark in the northeast as it digs out of that snow bomb. pregnancy promise. a medical breakthrough, which could end the anxiety of amniocentesis. dr. richard besser is here. and, do you remember david nelson, with his brother ricky, ozzie and harriet? an american boy from a simpler time. good evening. tonight, across america, all of us will gather in our living
rooms and offices to reflect together on what happened in that tragedy in tucson. the president will seek to unite the country, speaking at a giant stadium at the university of arizona, about the lives lost and also paying tribute to those who tried to save them. as a half a mile away, in the hospital, the wounded still fight to heal. and, we have a picture tonight of a bedside vigil. astronaut mark kelly, sitting through long hours of uncertainty, holding the hand of his wife, congresswoman gabrielle giffords, so that she will sense he is there. today, doctors said she is making small movements on her own as they lessen the sedation. so, let us begin tonight with dan harris who has been reporting in tucson all day. >> reporter: all day, they lined up, thousands of people, hours in advance of tonight's memorial service. linda kay gross camped out overnight. why was this event so important to you that you decided to stay here all night in order to get here? >> because we live here.
>> one person who caused this major tragedy within our city does not define our city. >> or who we are. >> this crowd defines our city. >> reporter: the fact that we've got so many people, just sort of an endless crowd here, what does that say to you? >> i think it speaks to how much this event has really affected the people of tucson. and how we're coming together in solidarity. >> reporter: the outpouring here in tucson has been extraordinary. packing church services and building makeshift memorials at the crime scene, at the school that victim christina green attended and at congresswoman gabrielle giffords' office. and perhaps most dramatically, there is this ever-expanding vigil outside of the hospital where the victims are being treated. it started small on the day of the shootings with just a few flowers, cards and candles, but day after day, it has grown and grown, unfurling into a massive carpet of sympathy and support.
the sheer scope of this is incredible, but it's the details that are some of the most interesting things. let's just take a look at this. we've got a lot of candles here left by members of the catholic community. this is a note from a child here, it says, to all the victims of the shooting, you are all loved and all in our thoughts and prayers. at all hours, people come to play native american healing music, to reflect, to cry and in surprising numbers, to educate their children. >> i asked him if he had any questions and i told him why everyone put the candles out. >> reporter: we met this woman, denise, dropping off letters from local school children she tutors. so, we went to that school to meet those students ourselves. have you been thinking about this a lot since it happened? >> yeah, a lot. i've been thinking about, what is the government going to do? what are they going to do if they don't have gabrielle giffords? >> the 9-year-old girl got shot. >> reporter: and when you heard that, what did you feel? >> sad.
>> reporter: so incredible to talk to those children today. and diane, we have one more amazing detail about that ever-expanding vigil outside of the hospital tonight. we heard today from the family of pam simon, she's a victim, a congressional staffer for gabrielle giffords. despite her wounds and despite the fact she did not have permission from her doctors, she sneaked out of her hospital room overnight, went downstairs to see that vigil for herself. diane, back to you. >> and made her way back up. thank you, dan harris. and, of course, it is president obama's daunting task to find the words for this moment. let's turn now to jake tapper, who is there with the president tonight in tucson. jake? >> reporter: good evening, diane. well, president obama touched down here in tucson not long ago, and the first stop for him was the hospitals where he visited with congresswoman giffords, her husband and other victims of the tragedy. president obama was working on his speech he's about to deliver
throughout the night. and was even working on it on air force one as he flew here to tucson. white house officials say these off the cuff comments from earlier this week reflect how the president is thinking about the tragedy and tonight's address. >> as president of the united states, but also as a father, obviously, i'm spending a lot of time just thinking about the families and reaching out to them. >> reporter: the president has also been thinking about and reaching out to the many heroes. >> part of what i think that speaks to is the best of america. even in the face of such mindless violence. >> reporter: as with his previous presidential speeches, this one has gone through many edits. officials say president obama wants to lift the nation up and not shrink the moment with politics. >> these are real people who had an unspeakable tragedy. it's not a political speech. it's a eulogy. >> we will never forget them. >> reporter: as with ronald reagan after the 1986 "challenger" disaster. >> as they prepared for their journey and waved good-bye, and
slipped the surly bonds of earth, to touch the face of god. >> reporter: or bill clinton, at the 1995 prayer service in oklahoma city, honoring the victims of anti-government extremist tim mcveigh. >> those who are lost now belong to god. some day, we will be with them. >> reporter: but one day after that speech, president clinton took on what he called loud and angry voices in america. >> they spread hate. they leave the impression that by their very words, that violence is acceptable. >> reporter: conservatives accused president clinton of trying to tie them to the actions of the bombers. a not unfamiliar charge in the wake of this tragedy. >> we don't want to have a finger-pointing moment in tucson. it's a national healing. he needs to be the healing agent of our nation. >> reporter: and diane, we're told that president obama will devote a significant portion of his speech to the memory of the victims and he'll also reflect
on how all of us can better honor their memories in our own lives. diane? >> all right, jake, and we turn now to the suspect. police in tucson giving new details tonight about the troubled history of jared loughner and his family. and a tape has been released of his voice in court. pierre thomas is gathering the new evidence on the disturbed man. >> reporter: it was a 2007 court paerps appearance on drug charges. >> how do you pronounce the last name? >> loughner. >> loughner? >> loughner. loughner. >> reporter: it was one of a dozen encounters loughner and his family had with police, including two arrests on charges of alcohol possession when he was drunk at school, and for marijuana possession. and we're learning new details about the sequence of events leading up to the shooting. 7:30 a.m., an arizona game and fish officer pulls over loughner for running a red light. the officer finds no outstanding warrants, so he lets loughner drive away with a warning. a half an hour later, 8:00 a.m.,
loughner's father sees him take a black bag out of the trunk of his car. >> and he mumbles something back to dad that's unintelligible as to what the dad has told us. then he turns around and he leaves. >> reporter: shortly after 10:00 a.m., after being driven by this cab driver to the scene, the shooting begins. and today, there are new questions about whether law enforcement missed signals from such a clearly troubled man. we've learned that last year alone, campus police were called five times for classroom and library disruptions involving loughner. in may, a teacher requested police protection after loughner became very hostile and intimidated her. did community college police ever make that information available to your department? >> no. that came to light as this investigation occurred. >> reporter: the official said there was no reason to pass the information along. tonight, loughner, we're told by sources, is still sitting in a cell, still smiling. still smirking. >> pierre thomas reporting from tucson tonight. and, a programming note.
abc news will be bringing you live coverage of the president's remarks tonight at the memorial service. i'll be here. so, stay tuned for a special one-hour edition of "nightline," as well, after our special report. and, now we'll turn to the dramatic weather across much of the country. something rarely seen. fresh snow is on the ground in 49 of the united states. only florida is spared. but nowhere is it worse tonight than in new england, being bombarded by the storm that left the south glazed in ice and killed at least 17 people. jeremy hubbard is in boston. >> reporter: dr. jackson williams had to get to the pediatric ward today. so, this is how he made the five-mile trek. >> the nurses had a good laugh >> announcer: this is an abc news special report.
tragedy in tucson: a presidential address. i'm diane sawyer at abc news headquarters in new york here with george stephanopoulos. and we're briefly interrupting your programming to take you out to giant university of arizona, mckale memorial center in tucson. every seat filled as the nation gathers with them. this memorial service for the victims of the shooting in tucson. it's under way and the spread about to speak. >> you said every seat, diane. there are 14,000 at the mckale memorial center. another 14,000 at the stadium nearby. it's a reversing. just moments, doctors came into the room, huge cheers. applause for the president. when he came in, he embraced daniel hernandez. he's that intern who put his hands on the wound and then
hugging mark kelly, of course, husband of congresswoman giv wc giffords. he's been keeping a vigil there. the doctor visited them as well. >> and the doctors say she's responding spontaneously this evening, showing more signs, as they do. yes, he held her hand. he's been there for showers. and the memorial outside the hospital has grown exponentially. it's been said that sometimes all we can do is stand by the people who are suffering. and they have been gathering to do that. the outpouring of the hospital growing. the notes even from children. so, yes, moving. and some of those in the hospital have come out to read the notes, look at the teddy bears, and then return to the hospital. >> it has been growing every hour since that shooting on saturday. diane, you were out in tucson as well. that town has come together. it seems like everyone in the
town knows gabrielle giffords. judge roll, are of course, everyone's hards go out to christina taylor green, that little girl killed. >> and 14,000 there in mckale. 13,000 overflow in the stadium. that's 27,000 people total coming out in arizona. and all of us together watching. and now, the president prepares to speak. i think you can see by those who are in the program and by the many dignitaries and elected officials in the audience how deeply our country was affected
by the terrible events last saturday. we are truly honored to have the leader of our great nation with us here tonight. [ applause ] we are obviously saddened by the circumstances that have brought president and mrs. obama to tucson. but we are comforted, we are comforted by their compassion and inspired by their determination to reach out and help. america has been blessed through its glorious history by visionary and committed presidents who often with great personal sacrifice step forward to lead us to better futures and greater hope. barack obama assumed the presidency at a perilous time in
our history. we are fortunate to have someone with his intellect, his energy and his heart to lead us forward. please welcome the president of the united states, barack obama. [ cheers and applause ] >> thank you. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. thank you very much. thank you. please, please be seated.
to the families of those we've lost, to all who called them friends, to the students of this university, the public servants who are gathered here, the people of tucson and the people of arizona. i have come here tonight as an american who like all americans kneels to pray with you today and will stand by you tomorrow. there is nothing i can say that will fill the sudden hole torn in your hearts.
but know this, the hopes of a nation are here tonight. we mourn with you for the fallen. we join you in your grief. and we add our faith to yours. that representative gabriel giffords and the other living victims of this tragedy will pull through. scripture tells us there's a river whose streams may glad the city of god. the holy place. the for the most high dwellers. god is within her.
she will not fall. god will help her at break of day. on saturday morning, gabby, her staff and many of her constituents gathered outside a supermarket to exercise their rights of peaceful assembly and free speech. they were fulfilling a central tenet of democracy and division of our founders. representatives of the people answering questions to their constituents to carry their concern back to our nation's
capital. gabby called it congress on your corner, just an updated version of government of and by and for the people. and that quintessentially american scene, that was the scene that was shattered by a gunman's bullets. and the six people who lost their lives on saturday, they, too, represented what is best in us. what is best in america. judge john roll served our legal system for nearly 40 years. a graduate of this university
and a graduate of this law school. judge roll was recommended for the federal bench by john mccain 20 years ago. appointed by president george h.w. bush and rose to become arizona's chief federal judge. his colleagues described him as the hardest working judge within the 9th circuit. he was on his way back from attending mass. as he did every day. when he decided to stop by and say hi to his representative. john is survived by his loving wife maureen, his three sons and his five beautiful grandchildren.
george and dorothy morris got to be friends, high school sweethearts who had two daughters. they did everything together. traveling the open road in their r.v., enjoying what their friends called a 50-year honeymoon. saturday morning, they gathered to hear what their congresswoman had to say. when they heard gunshot ring out, george, her husband, tried to instinctively shield his wife. both were shot. dot passed away.
a new jersey native, phyllis schneck, retired to tucson to beat the snow. but in the summer, she would return east where her world revolved around her three children her seven grandchildren and 2-year-old great granddaughter. a gifted quilter, she'd often work under her favorite tree, sometimes, she'd sew aprons with the logos of the jets and the giants, to give out at the church where she volunteered. a republican. she took a liking to gabby. and wanted to get to know her better. dorwin and maudy stoddard grew
up in tucson together about 70 years ago. they made their respective families after both were widowed as to one of their daughters put it, be boyfriend and girlfriend again. when they weren't out on the road in their motor home, you could find them just up the road, helping folks in need at the mountain avenue church of christ. a retired construction worker, dorwan spent a fair amount of time fixing up the church with his dog. his final act of selflessness was to dive on top of his wife, sacrificing his life for hers. everything, everything gabe zimmerman did, he did with
passion. but his true passion was helping people. as gabby's outreach director, he made the cares of thousands of her constituents his own. seen to it that seniors got the medicare benefits that they had earned. the veterans got the medals and the care that they deserved. the government was working for forward folks. he died doing what he loved. talking with people and seeing how he can help. gab is survived by his parents, ross and emily, his brother ben and his fiancee kelly, who he planned to marry next year.
and then is 9-year-old christina taylor green. christina was an "a" student. she was a dancer. she was a gymnast. she was a swimmer. she decided that she wanted to be the first woman to play in the major leagues, and as the only girl on her little league team, no one put it past her. she showed an appreciation for life, unconfor a girl her age. she'd remind her mother, we are so blessed. we have the best life. and she'd pay those blessings back by participating in a charity that helped children who were less fortunate. our hearts are broken by their
sudden passing. our hearts are broken. and yet, our hearts also have reason for fullness. our hearts are full of hope and thanks for the 13 americans who survived the shooting, including the congresswoman, many of them went to see on saturday. i had just come from the university medical center just a mile from here where our friend gabby courageously fights to recover, even as we speak. and i want to tell you, her husband mark is here. and he allows me to share this with you. right after we went to visit, a few minutes after we left her room and some of her colleagues from congress were in the room, gabby opened her eyes for the first time. gabby opened her eyes for the
for that good news and our hearts are full of gratitude for those who saved others. we are grateful to daniel hernandez, a volunteer in gabby's office. and daniel, i'm sorry, you may deny it, but we decided you are a hero because you ran through the chaos to minister to your boss and tended to her wound and helped keep her alive. we are grateful to the men who