Tucson shootings judge mourned


A memorial service for the victims of the Tucson shootings (AP)

The federal judge killed in the Arizona shooting rampage was known for an immigration ruling that got him death threats, but on Friday he was remembered as a man devoted to his family, his basset hounds and his Irish-Catholic heritage.

US District Judge John Roll had stopped at a supermarket meet-and-greet for politician Gabrielle Giffords last Saturday when he was killed, along with five others.

Ms Giffords, recovering from a gunshot wound to the head, is still in critical condition, but is progressing.

Mr Roll’s funeral came amid tight security, as police officers and SWAT team members patrolled the neighbourhood around St Elizabeth Ann Seton church. About a dozen buses brought judges who knew Mr Roll over the years.

The speakers focused less on Judge Roll and more on John Roll, tender and at times goofy, and largely hidden from those he served.

“It made it very personal,” said Carol Bahill, 61, whose husband knew Mr Roll from his undergraduate and law school days at the University of Arizona. “You do feel like you knew something about him personally.”

Many members of Mr Roll’s family, including his sons and five grandchildren, participated in the funeral Mass and speakers also included a childhood friend, his chief clerk and a colleague on the federal bench.

The service ended with a rendition of When Irish Eyes Are Smiling.

Dignitaries attending included Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as well as Senators John McCain and Jon Kyl. Former Vice President Dan Quayle brought a handwritten message from former President George HW Bush, who appointed Mr Roll to the bench in 1991, said Adam Goldberg, a spokesman for the fire department and the event.

Jared Loughner, 22, has been charged with murder and attempted murder for Mr Roll’s death and the assassination attempt against Ms Giffords. Documents released on Friday showed that he bought bullets at a Walmart store and posted “Goodbye friends” on the internet.

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