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Youngest to die, at 9, was budding politician in elementary school

By Krissah Thompson and Theola Labbé-DeBose
Washington Post Staff Writers
Monday, January 10, 2011; A08

Christina-Taylor Green's short life was pinned between two national tragedies: She was born Sept. 11, 2001, and she died as a gunman apparently targeting Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) shot 20 people in Tucson.

Christina, a budding elementary school politician, was the youngest of the six killed in Saturday's shooting.

The 9-year-old, who had big brown eyes and long brown hair, recently had been elected to her student council. She went with a family friend to see Giffords speak, a way to learn more about serving in government.

"Christina Green was a wonderful child," said her teacher, Kathie DeKnikker. "She had not only the energy and enthusiasm of a typical third-grader but also maturity and insight that most children don't attain until much later."

Christina's love of civics began early.

"She was born back East, and Sept. 11 affected everyone there, and Christina-Taylor was always very aware of it," her mother, Roxanna Green, told the Arizona Daily Star. "Wearing red, white and blue was really special to her."

DeKnikker said she was a leader in her classroom at Mesa Verde Elementary.

"The thing I will remember most about Christina was her well-developed sense of humor. Oh, how she could make us laugh with her witty comments," she said.

The young girl, who was the only girl to play for the Pirates, the Canyon del Oro Little League baseball team, continued the family's baseball tradition. Her father, John Green, is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Her grandfather, Dallas Green, is a former major league pitcher and manager who managed the Philadelphia Phillies from 1979 to 1981, winning a World Series title in 1980. He also managed the Yankees and the Mets.

Christina had an 11-year-old brother, also named Dallas, and the two loved to go swimming together, her parents said.

"She kept up with everyone. She was a strong girl, a very good athlete and a strong swimmer," her mother said in interviews with the local paper. "She was interested in everything. She got a guitar for Christmas, so her next thing was learning to play guitar."

Christina had just received her first Holy Communion at St. Odilia Catholic Church, Catholic Diocese of Tucson officials told the Daily Star.

"She was real special and real sweet," her uncle Greg Segalini told the Arizona Republic.

She was aware of the "inequalities" of the world, her mother said. Christina often repeated the same phrase: "We are so blessed. We have the best life."

thompsonk@washpost.com labbet@washpost.com Staff researchers Madonna Lebling and Lucy Shackelford and staff writers Lisa Rein, Paul Kane and Jerry Markon contributed to this report.

Dorothy Morris, 76

Neighbors said that Morris moved to Tucson more than a decade ago from Nevada and was a secretary and homemaker; her husband, George, who was shot in the shoulder Saturday but survived, is a former pilot for United Airlines and the Marine Corps. The corps flag and a U.S. flag flew daily outside their home, neighbors said. They were often seen walking around their retirement community, called Sun City Vistoso, and Dorothy went to a local Bible study class. The couple would go away in the winter in their camper to visit children in Oregon, and a few years ago, their children threw them a 50th anniversary party, inviting some of the neighbors. "Nice people, not a bad word to say about them," said Marie Bender, one of their neighbors.

John M. Roll, 63

Roll, the chief federal judge in Arizona, was a thoughtful and quiet man who loved public service, colleagues said.

"We are brokenhearted," said Rebecca White Berch, chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. "He was one of the nicest, most gentle and fair people you can imagine." Roll ruled on controversial cases and faced hundreds of threats in 2009 after he allowed a lawsuit filed by illegal immigrants against a rancher to go forward. But it was an accident of bad timing that led to his death Saturday. Roll was leaving a supermarket nearby when he spotted an aide to Giffords, and "stopped by to say hi," according to a spokeswoman for Giffords.

Phyllis Schneck, 79

For the past decade, Schneck has spent her winters in sunny Tucson, away from her home state of New Jersey. Eventually she became an Arizona resident, taking up with the town's robust community of retirees. A widow who had been married to Edward Schneck for 56 years until his death, Schneck had been a homemaker, loved making crafts and remained devoted to her family. "She was a woman that got married in the early 1950s, and she did all of that June Cleaver stuff," Schneck's daughter Phyllis Rautenberg said fondly. "She loved Tucson and had lots of friends there, and spent lots of time at her church." Schneck was not especially active politically. "I don't know why she was there," Rautenberg said.

Dorwin Stoddard, 76

Stoddard died shielding his wife, Mavanell "Mavy" Stoddard, 75, from the barrage of bullets. Mavy, who was shot in the leg several times, is expected to recover, friends and neighbors said. "He was a hero," said Marge Osterman, a neighbor and friend. Friends and church members knew well the Stoddards' love story: They were high school classmates in Tucson who moved away, married other people and made a life. When their spouses died, they moved back and reconnected. Both were leaders in their church benevolence ministry. "They normally go out to breakfast every Saturday," said their pastor, the Rev. Mike Nowak. On this Saturday, Mavy wanted to tell their congresswoman that she was doing a good job, she told him.

Gabriel Zimmerman, 30

As Giffords's community outreach director, Gabe Zimmerman was her point of contact for constituents in the district. It was a great fit: Zimmerman had a degree in social work, natural empathy and an extroverted personality. "He always cared what people had to say," said Jonathan Kalm, a freshman at Arizona State who had interned in the district office. When tea party activists held a protest there during the health-care debate, "Gabe was able to reason with them," Kalm said. Zimmerman was a Tucson native, and he organized events such as Saturday's gathering in front of a Safeway supermarket. He had worked for Giffords since her first campaign in 2006. He was engaged to marry a nurse and was an avid runner, friends said.

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