The bullets did not discriminate. Sprayed from the barrel of a 9mm Glock semiautomatic pistol by a man whose actions may never make sense, they killed six people and wounded 14 more.
Those whose lives ended violently Saturday were participating in a basic democratic exercise. They had come to meet the woman who represents them in Washington, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. A Democrat who had won her third term by a sliver, Giffords was the intended target of the shooter's attack, authorities said.
Among the dead was John Roll, a 63-year-old federal judge known for his calm demeanor and deep knowledge of the law. Three of the slain were retired. One was a young Giffords staffer, a former social worker, who was getting married next year.
The smallest victim was a little brown-eyed girl.
Described as smart, quiet and gentle, 9-year-old Christina was born on Sept. 11, 2001. She was featured in a 2002 book of portraits called "Faces of Hope" about children born that day.
"She came in on a tragedy and she left on a tragedy," her father, John Green, told a Tucson TV station.
When she was little, Christina would tell people she was born on a holiday. "We'd have to correct her," her mother, Roxanna Green, told Fox News. "When she got older, she would try to see the positive in it … because it's a day of hope."
Bill Badger, who subdued the gunman, said he noticed Christina before the carnage began. The third-grader was standing behind Giffords, getting ready to meet the politician. The little girl was beaming.
Her mother said Christina was patriotic and liked to wear red, white and blue. Like a lot of girls her age, she loved animals, and wanted to be a veterinarian. She was also a passionate dancer and the only girl on her baseball team. Her talent for baseball was ingrained — her father is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers and her grandfather is Dallas Green, a former major league pitcher who managed the Philadelphia Phillies to a World Series title in 1980.
"We're all hurting pretty bad," Dallas Green told the New York Daily News. "The worst thing to ever happen to us."
John and Roxanna Green also have an 11-year-old son named Dallas.
Christina had just been elected to the student council at Mesa Verde Elementary School in Tucson. "She was a good speaker," her father told the Arizona Daily Star. "I could have easily seen her as a politician."
Knowing of her interest in politics, a neighbor invited her to meet Giffords on Saturday.
Authorities said Christina was dead by the time she arrived at the hospital.
"She had a bullet hole to the chest, and they tried to save her but she just couldn't make it," her mother told Fox. "It was really, really bad."
At St. Odilia's Parish, the Catholic church the Greens attend, Christina was described as smart and gentle. "She was a spectacular girl, but no one knew it. She was so quiet," Teresa Bier, the church's director of religious education, said Sunday.
Christina received her First Communion in the small turquoise building and sang in the children's choir, Joyful Noise.
"She was just the sweetest little thing," said Mary Figge, whose daughter, Mia, played on scooters with Christina last week. "She was always bubbly, always smiling."
— Ashley Powers and Robin Abcarian
Dorwan and Mavy Stoddard had known each other as children in the Tucson area. They moved away, married other people and had children. After both were widowed, they reunited in their hometown and married nearly 15 years ago. Dorwan, 76, a retired construction worker and gas station owner, was killed as the couple stood in line to meet Giffords, whom Mavy admired.
The couple kept busy in retirement, taking a motor home to fishing holes in Oregon and Colorado and volunteering at the Mountain Avenue Church of Christ.
"They got into people's lives," said Jody Nowak, wife of the Stoddards' pastor, Mike Nowak. "They didn't sit on the pew and do nothing."
The Stoddards often befriended couples who sought assistance from the church, and delivered food and flowers to the sick. Dorwan was a familiar face at the church, as was his black dog, Tux. He spent hours fixing leaks and doing other maintenance jobs. Over the years, he had fallen through a roof and off a ladder but always laughed off his bruises and scrapes.
In a corner of the church's sunlit worship area is a small, soundproof room that Dorwan built so parents could soothe their crying children and still hear the piped-in service. Named for him, it is called Dory's Room.
Nearby, two scratches mar a wall. Dorwan's ladder made the marks when he tumbled off it just before Christmas. Nowak said she thought they would leave the scratches there, in memoriam.
On Saturday morning, Mavy heard blasts that sounded like fireworks, and the couple dove toward some chairs as Dorwan tried to shield Mavy with his body, Nowak said. Mavy was struck at least once in each leg.