Three slain in Tucson rampage were shot in head

Colleagues pay tribute to wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during the president's State of the Union address as the Arizona lawmaker begins the next phase of her recovery at a rehab facility in Houston.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 7, 2011; 8:14 PM

TUCSON - Three of the six people killed in the Jan. 8 rampage that injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.) died of gunshot wounds to the head, according to autopsy records released Monday.

Prosecutors had asked U.S. District Judge Larry Burns to bar the release of the records, saying that news stories about them could "taint the jury pool" and jeopardize a fair trial.

Prosecutors also told Burns that the families of five of the victims requested that the autopsy results be kept private. But the judge rejected the prosecutors' request last week and allowed their release by the Pima County Medical Examiner's Office.

The records show that Giffords aide Gabriel Zimmerman and two victims in their 70s - Phyllis Schneck and Dorwan Stoddard- died of gunshots to the head. Nine-year-old Christina Taylor Green was killed by a gunshot wound to her torso, with the bullet striking her aorta, kidney, stomach and small intestine.

U.S. District Judge John M. Roll was shot in the lower back, with a bullet perforating his aorta, according to the autopsy report. Dorothy Morris, also in her 70s, was killed by a bullet that pierced her heart.

The reports also contained fleeting references to the victims' humanity: Roll's black leather jacket and a gold ring - apparently his wedding band - on his left hand, for example, and Green's blue-stone earrings in her pierced ears.

Nineteen people, including Giffords, were injured in the attack outside a Tucson grocery store. The suspect in the shootings, Jared Lee Loughner, has been charged with 49 federal counts, including murder, attempted murder and gun offenses.

Loughner is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday in Tucson.

Chief Medical Examiner Bruce O. Parks said in a statement Monday afternoon that his office would not discuss the reports.

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