America

Emotions Show As Relatives Speak Of Arizona Shooting Victims' Ordeals

Bill Hileman, husband of injured shooting victim Susan Hileman, pauses as he describes his reaction after he found out his wife had been shot and that Christina Green, 9, who was with his wife at the time had died in the shooting. i i

hide captionBill Hileman, husband of injured shooting victim Susan Hileman, pauses as he describes his reaction after he found out his wife had been shot and that Christina Green, 9, who was with his wife at the time had died in the shooting.

Ross D. Franklin/AP
Bill Hileman, husband of injured shooting victim Susan Hileman, pauses as he describes his reaction after he found out his wife had been shot and that Christina Green, 9, who was with his wife at the time had died in the shooting.

Bill Hileman, husband of injured shooting victim Susan Hileman, pauses as he describes his reaction after he found out his wife had been shot and that Christina Green, 9, who was with his wife at the time had died in the shooting.

Ross D. Franklin/AP

After doctors briefed reporters earlier today about the conditions of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and other survivors of Saturday's deadly rampage in Tucson, three family members of other victims stepped forward to talk and take some questions.

We're going to post some excerpts here, with audio. There's no need to elaborate. They spoke eloquently:

Bill Hileman: His wife, Susan Hileman, brought 9-year-old neighbor Christina Taylor Green to Rep. Giffords' meet-and-greet. Christina was interested in politics — she had just been elected president of her school's student council. Susan Hileman wanted to introduce Christina to the congresswoman. They were holding hands as they stood in line.

Christina died after being shot. Susan Hileman, 58, was struck by three bullets and faces months of recovery. Bill Hileman says his wife hasn't yet been able tell him everything about what happened.

"Most of what Susie has  shared with me about the specifics are on the edges of a morphine-induced haze," he said. "From time to time in moments of discomfort, things come out. ... I hear her in her semi-conscious ramblings screaming out 'Christina, Christina let's get out of here; let's get out of here! She keeps talking about the holding of hands and then the realization that she was on the ground and the bleeding was profuse."

Bill Hileman speaking about his wife's biggest challenge

As a social worker cautioned him, Bill Hileman said, "the toughest issue that was likely to be faced by Susie was dealing with what happened to Christina. ... My wife has worked ... in and with families that have dealt with terrible tragedies in her prior social-working career. And in her clearest-headed state she is quite understanding that this was the act of a mad man and that blame does no good for anybody. Unfortunately we're all human and we have dark moments where the inevitable occurs."

But Hileman wants his wife to know that no one — including Christina's parents — is faulting her. He has been in contact with the girl's parents, Hileman said, and yesterday he got together with John Green; Christina's dad. "We cried for about 10 minutes," Hileman said.

Bill Hileman speaking about his wife

Angela Robinson: Her mother and stepfather were shot. Dorwin Stoddard, 76, died after shielding his wife as best he could. Mavy Stoddard was wounded and was holding her husband as he died.

Robinson, who along with her sister Penny Nelson spoke to the news media, said that "as dad lay dying, mom didn't know she'd been hurt." Asked about those moments, Robinson said that for her parents "it was a beautiful way to say 'good bye ... go home'."

Angela Robinson on her parents' goodbye

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

Support comes from: