January 14th, 2011
10:45 AM ET

Tucson: Heroes amidst the horror

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
CNN Chief Medical Correspondent

Editor's note: In an interview with CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Ron Barber describes in chilling detail how he was shot alongside his boss, Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Gupta also spoke to Giffords' husband, U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Kelly. For more from them, other victims and the medical team caring for them, tune in to a special "SGMD," Saturday at 7:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. and Sunday at 7:30 a.m. ET

(CNN) - At University Medical Center in Tucson, four patients remain in the hospital. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords is now the only one in critical condition.

Outside, there is a constantly busy makeshift memorial, even in the middle of the night. Television and newspaper reporters are buzzing around, trying to satisfy the appetite of a curious public. There is so much attention on these four patients, that it was somewhat surprising that they hardly know it. Most of them have cut themselves off and barely watched any news reports, or even visited with other victims down the hall.

I was allowed to meet with the patients at UMC, as they decided to speak for the very first time. It became clear within moments that as much as I wanted to record their stories, they needed – they wanted to talk even more.

Ron Barber was the first patient I met. Kindly, softspoken, he welcomed me in with a smile and introduced me to his wife, Nancy. For 40 years, Ron had worked as an advocate for those with developmental disabilities, and he had retired before coming to work as a staff member for Congresswoman Giffords.

It was jarring when he started to describe the horrible scene that unfolded. He heard the noise and saw Giffords take a bullet in the head. As he spun around toward the shooter, he also was shot, first in the face and then in the leg.

He slumped to the ground and found himself lying right next to Giffords, who had her back to him. As he struggled to make sense of it all, suddenly their colleague, Gabe Zimmerman, fell face-first right between them. “He was so still,” he told me. “I knew he was dead.”

Full story on The Chart blog

Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Sanjay Gupta
soundoff (One Response)
  1. Eneida lambert

    He seems like a real nut. America has too many of those nuts running around. I also think that if guns were outlaw , there would not be so many murders in the streets and domestic violence. I'm against guns!

    January 15, 2011 at 9:50 am |