Money still sought for Gabby Giffords shooting memorial

Associated Press
Records released by the FBI provide insights and details -- but no startling new revelations -- about the investigation into Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' shooting along with 18 others in 2011. Here, law-enforcement officers quarantine the shopping center where the shootings took place  near Tucson.

TUCSON - The radio spot features the father of an aide to former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords recalling the moment he realized his son, Gabe Zimmerman, had died following the 2011 mass shooting in Tucson. Then, Mark Kelly, the retired astronaut married to Giffords, briefly talks about a moment after the former congresswoman was released from the hospital.

The public service announcement is being aired on local radio stations in an effort to draw more donations to the foundation in charge of establishing a large memorial for the victims and survivors of the Jan. 8, 2011, shooting. The bulk of fundraising this year has been from selling naming rights to a garden pathway outside the memorial that a private company has purchased. The foundation says it can’t yet reveal the name of the company.

Executive director Crystal Kasnoff says construction will cost about $4.5 million and could begin in July. The foundation has about $1.7 million in donations so far. It is also attempting to be designated as a national memorial, which could bring in more funds.

Sens. John McCain, Jeff Flake want memorial for 2011 Tucson shooting victims

“They’re very powerful and emotional messages to get people to remember how we all came together as a community,” Kasnoff said.

The memorial to be erected at downtown Tucson’s El Presidio Park will feature carved symbols along a dark red steel wall in the shape of a diamond. Organizers plan to incorporate items left as makeshift memorials at the shooting site. The carved symbols will be designed to represent the victims of the shooting.

Kasnoff says the foundation has sold naming rights to a garden pathway area outside the memorial wall for $500,000 and that more are available for purchase.

The shooting at a Giffords event left six dead and 13 wounded. Giffords was the target. Others killed included 9-year-old Christina-Taylor Green, U.S. District Court Judge John Roll and Giffords aide Gabe Zimmerman.

Shooter Jared Loughner pleaded guilty to 19 federal charges and will spend the rest of his life in prison.