Judge Roll Called 'Hero' for Actions

The federal judge who was slain in Arizona appears to have tried to save the life of another man at the Tucson shooting scene, according to an investigator who watched surveillance video.

Chris Nanos, a captain with the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, told the Wall Street Journal that Judge John M. Roll (photo at left) can be seen in a video pushing Ron Barber, an aide to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, to the ground. Rep. Giffords apparently was shot first; Barber (photo at right) survived.

“It looks to us as though he is pushing against Ron Barber to move him out of the way,” Nanos said.

“Both men fall to the ground; both are shot. The judge was shot in the back and died,” the newspaper said in describing the sequence of events.

“It’s pretty evident to me that Judge Roll was a hero … if Judge Roll had not pushed Mr. Barber his wounds might have been fatal,” Nanos added. “Judge Roll’s actions are of a man trying to save another man’s life.”

Richard Kastigar, the investigative and operational bureau chief of the Pima County Sheriff’s Department, was quoted by a New York Times article as saying it appeared that Judge Roll died while trying to save Barber’s life.

“It’s very clear to me the judge was thinking of his fellow human more than himself,” Kastigar said.  Here is that newspaper’s report, based on Kastigar’s account:

“The judge guides Mr. Barber to the ground, shields him with his body, and then tries to push himself and Mr. Barber away from the gunman, who was no more than three to four feet away as he fired, Mr. Kastigar said.

“’He pushes Mr. Barber with his right hand and guides him with his left hand. The judge was on top of him and is covering up Mr. Barber, literally lying on top of him, and his back was exposed,’ Mr. Kastigar said. The judge was shot in the back.”

“Federal judge died saving a life,” was the headline for a Salon article.

Barber  left the hospital Friday to attend Judge Roll’s funeral. Learn more about the Tucson shootings and Judge Roll from Gavel Grab.