Moran couple recalls chaotic scene



January 10, 2011 - 12:00 AM

TUCSON, Ariz. — If the meeting where Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot Saturday morning had been better advertised, a Moran couple might have been in harm’s way.
“We’d have been there had we known about it,” Barbara Siefker told the Register Sunday.
The Siefkers arrived in Tucson last Tuesday for their annual three-month winter getaway to run a bed and breakfast they own in the northwest part of the city and just a block from outside the Safeway grocery store where a gunman shot Giffords, killed six people and wounded 13 others.
“I can still see the flashing red lights of police and border patrol vehicles” blockading entrances to the small shopping mall that contains the Safeway, Siefker said Sunday evening. “It’s just a block away. All that’s between us and it is a large medical building,” which apparently muffled the sound of gunshots that left Giffords gravely injured.
“E.J. (her husband) and a friend were out in the yard pulling weeds when the shooting happened,” she said. “They didn’t hear the shots.”
In a matter of minutes, several medivac and police helicopters swooped onto the scene and the streets filled with ambulances and police cars.
“There must have been 100 police cars that came after the shooting,” Siefker said.
All entrances to the mall were barricaded, along with nearby streets, and investigators, including many dispatched by President Barack Obama, swarmed the area.
The Siefkers frequently make the short walk to the mall. Friday, E.J. went to the Safeway to “pickup a few things,” Barbara Siefker said.
“There wasn’t anything in the store telling about the meeting and there wasn’t anything in our newspaper,” she said. “Gabby (Giffords’ nickname) is our representative and we’re interested in what’s going on here. I know we would have gone to the meeting to hear her.”
Giffords first was elected to Congress in 2006 and since has held what she calls “Congress on Your Corner,” informal meetings where constituents are encouraged to ask questions and make comments. That was happening Saturday when she was shot.
“We don’t know her,” or any of the others who were injured or killed, Siefker said. “But, we have heard a lot of good things about Gabby, about how she’s interested in the people she represents and wants to know what they think.”