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Tucson Safeway reopens as area observes a moment of silence

Shoppers return to their neighborhood market, where a gunman killed six people a week ago. Outside, about 100 people gather to mark a week since the shootings. 'We saw the darkest side of life that you can ever imagine,' an employee says.

January 15, 2011|By Molly Hennessey-Fiske and Michael Muskal, Los Angeles Times
  • Safeway employees in Tucson embrace while observing a moment of silence at 10:11 a.m., the exact time of the mass shooting one week ago in front of the grocery store. From left are Sarah Prewitt-Cho, Dawn Gallagher, Shayne Spude and Marian Huber. Gallagher and Spude witnessed the shooting from inside the store and ran out to see what had happened.
Safeway employees in Tucson embrace while observing a moment of silence… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

Reporting from Tucson and Los Angeles — A week ago, the area outside the Safeway market was a cacophony — bullets whining, followed by the flurry of noises associated with emergency responders. On Saturday, there was a moment of silence to mark the attack, then a resumption of the noises heard at a shopping center open for weekend business.

As Tucson marked one week since the mass shooting that left six dead and 13 wounded, there were signs of a return to normality as the Safeway market returned to business. The market reopened at 7 a.m. Many of its 88 employees embraced as they entered. Outside was a memorial of flowers, many on the pavement, but some in vases and baskets.

At 10:11 a.m. Mountain time, many at the shopping plaza observed a moment of silence for the events of a week ago, when Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was holding a meet-and-greet with constituents. Shots erupted and some in the crowd wrestled Jared Lee Loughner to the ground. Loughner is being held on five counts of murder and attempted murder of federal employees.

About 100 people gathered outside the Safeway in La Toscana shopping plaza. The crowd included Pima County Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, visitors from as far as Phoenix, regular shoppers and employees.

Safeway employee Shayne Spude wept as she approached the makeshift memorial outside the store. Spude was at work last week when the shooting occurred and saw some of the victims.

"We saw the darkest side of life that you can ever imagine," said co-worker Dawn Gallagher, who was also at work that day and feels for the victims' families, especially 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green. "I just wish I could have been standing in front of Christina," she said.

"This has really touched me as it has touched the whole city," Teresa Mancha, 61, said Saturday before the moment of silence. She and her husband live nearby and see the Safeway as their neighborhood market. A mother with three children who live in the Los Angeles area, Mancha said she can't get her mind off of the events of a week ago, especially the death of Christina.

"I put myself in the place of the mother who has lost her child," Mancha said. "This has really touched me as it has touched the whole city. I just hope something good can come out of this, more unity."

Mancha said she is praying for all of the victims, including Rep. Giffords, who is recovering from her head wound but remains in critical condition. But Mancha said she is also praying for the parents of shooting suspect Loughner.

"I just pray that people can give them support too, because they need it," Mancha said.

Hennessy-Fiske reported from Tucson and Muskal from Los Angeles.

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