The Corner

Three Cheers for the Elderly

In addition to victims who lost their lives, it’s worth remembering the heroes who prevented even more bloodshed. Although reports conflict on some small points, here’s the basic story of how Loughner was taken down:

After Loughner had expended his first magazine “in what was perhaps the only fortunate event of the day” (to borrow astute phrasing from the Times) Loughner’s second clip malfunctioned.  In that interval, as Loughner struggled to reload his gun, somebody — some sources say it’s unknown, others tentatively say it was Roger Salzgeber, age 61 — struck Loughner over the back of the head with one of the folding chairs set out for the event. Loughner briefly “slumped over,” and Col. Bill Badger, U.S. Army (Ret.) age 74, whose head had been grazed by one of the final shots, grabbed Lougner’s left hand (Colonel Badger’s account of the events is here). Roger Salzgeber, meanwhile, grabbed Loughner from the right, and the two wrestled the killer to the ground.

Loughner, however, was evidently incompletely immobilized, as he was still struggling to reload his gun. Thankfully, Patricia Maisch, 61, who had earlier thrown herself as Loughner approached her, now responded to shouts from the crowd, and crawled to seize Loughner’s ammunition. Her account is here.

Loughner was disarmed by three senior citizens.  

By now, Joe Zamudio, who had sprinted from nearby store where he had been purchasing cigarettes, reached the scene, and helped pin Loughner down. Zamudio recounted the event — and pushed back at Ed Schultz’s attempt to use the shooting against Arizona gun laws — here. Loughner “didn’t squirm much,” Zamudio said. Colonel Badger yelled “Why would you do something like this?” Loughner made no reply.

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