Rep. Ron Barber (D-AZ) was among the victims who spoke on Thursday at the sentencing of Jared Loughner, who killed six people and wounded numerous others at a 2011 congressional event in Tucson, Ariz.
At the time of the incident, Barber was an aide to U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, the target of the shooting. Giffords survived but later resigned from Congress to work on her recovery. Barber won the open seat in a special election earlier this year.
Barber’s remarks were released by his office. Here’s an excerpt in which he addressed Loughner directly:
Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords apparently was your initial target and we are all thankful that she survived your attempt to take her life.
While her work as member of Congress was disrupted, you did not take away her determination and compassion – nor her desire to serve.
Her recovery has been an inspiration to the entire country.
You did not diminish her one bit. In fact, the whole world now knows the full measure of this great leader and the civility she has brought to our political process.
The tragedy your brutal violence inflicted was not – and will not – be the event that defines who we are individually or as a community.
Read the entire statement here.