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Services held for Judge John M. Roll

Thousands attend a service for Judge John M. Roll in Tucson, killed in Saturday's shooting. Among the mourners are Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, and former Vice President Dan Quayle.

January 14, 2011|By David Zucchino and Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times

Reporting from Tucson and Los Angeles — — Nearly a week after the deadly shooting spree that claimed six lives, Tucson on Friday mourned a federal judge, the second funeral of a victim of the attack that has rocked the nation.

Federal District Court Judge John M. Roll, a devout Roman Catholic who was killed after attending a morning Mass, was remembered at a service at the same church where a day earlier a funeral was held for the youngest victim, Christina-Taylor Green.

Security was especially tight for the judge's service because many of his judicial colleagues and other dignitaries were attending. Traffic clogged the streets leading to St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church. Thousands of mourners were in the church after they were screened by deputies and federal officials.

Security was so tight that some were turned away.

Patrick McGrath, a bailiff with the state Supreme Court, said he drove from Phoenix to pay his respects to the judge, with whom he played golf and sometimes had lunch.

"If Judge Roll asked you 'how's it going,' he really meant it," McGrath said. "He'd listen, really listen. He treated me like a close friend."

McGrath said he was unable to enter the church and that a guard told him: "Unless you are a dignitary you are not getting in."

Among those attending the services were Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, Sens. John McCain and Jon Kyl, and former Vice President Dan Quayle, fire department spokesman Adam Goldberg said in a telephone interview. Quayle had a handwritten message from former President George H.W. Bush, who appointed Roll to the bench in 1991.

Among the pallbearers were Roll's three sons. Relatives and judges gave readings at the service, which ended with "When Irish Eyes Are Smiling."

Chaplains have been counseling the mourners outside the church.

Keith Benavides of Albuquerque, N.M., a chaplain for firefighters and a member of International Fellowship of Chaplains, said his group had come to Tucson to offer help. "We're here for spiritual support and comfort," he said. "I never met the judge but respected him. We offer prayers but mostly we just listen … people need to get their emotions out."

Last Saturday, Roll had finished his daily prayers and had decided to stop by the shopping plaza where a friend, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, was holding a meeting with constituents. The jurist entered the shopping center and walked to the area outside the Safeway supermarket.

Giffords on Friday remained in critical condition but doctors continued to be upbeat about her chances after recent days in which she has been able to open her eyes, move limbs and breathe on her own. She continues to have a breathing tube in place, but that is considered a precaution, doctors said.

"We're confident [Giffords] is making progress now," said Dr. Michael Lemole, the hospital's chief of neurosurgery. She is "beginning to carry out a more complex sequence" of activity.

More than 30 shots were fired on Saturday, hitting 19 people before the crowd managed to apprehend Jared Lee Loughner, who is now charged with five counts of murder and attempted murder of federal employees. In all, six died and the rest were wounded.

On Friday, the Pima County Sheriff's Department released more details on the arrest.

According to officials, the following items were taken from Loughner's pockets: two 15-round magazines, a 4-inch buck knife, a plastic bag containing currency, a Visa card and Loughner's Arizona driver's license. A Glock pistol was on the ground.

Investigators were continuing their work in building a case against Loughner, who could face the death penalty on some of the federal charges. Police have recovered a black bag they believe was used to transport ammunition to the scene of the shooting.

Authorities also released a 911 call made by a friend of Loughner.

Bryce Tierney told the police dispatcher that the "shooter was someone that I knew." He also told officials that Loughner left a message on his phone at 2 a.m. on the day of the shooting.

That would be about eight hours before the shooting. Officials have already said that before the attack Loughner is believed to have been target-shooting in the desert, was stopped by a peace officer for going through a red light and had a dispute with his father.

Tierney and Loughner were arrested for smoking pot in a van in 2008.

michael.muskal@latimes.com

david.zucchino@latimes.com

Zucchino reported from Tucson and Muskal from Los Angeles.

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