Jewish Tucson Victim to Gunman: 'This Is Done'

Uses Yiddish Word 'Fartik' To Describe Jared Loughner

By Sheila Wilensky (Arizona Jewish Post)

Published November 14, 2012.
  • Print
  • Share Share

After 22 months, Suzi Hileman finally got to step into a courtroom and confront Jared Lee Loughner, the gunman who killed six people and wounded her and 12 others who had come to meet with U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a Tucson Safeway on Jan. 8, 2011.

Jared Lee Loughner
getty images
Jared Lee Loughner

“I have wanted to speak to him since it happened,” Hileman, of Tucson, Ariz., told the Arizona Jewish Post. “It had nothing to do with him. It had more to do with me. I’m not used to being passive. I’ve been on the receiving end of bullets, of surgeries, of such sadness because of him.”

On Nov. 8, the 24-year-old Loughner was sentenced to seven consecutive life sentences and 140 years by U.S. District Judge Larry Burns in the Special Proceedings Courtroom at Tucson’s federal courthouse. His guilty plea enables the convicted killer to avoid a federal death sentence.

State prosecutors said they would not file separate charges, “largely to spare the victims continued pain, and given that Loughner will never see freedom again,” according to the Arizona Daily Star.

The sentence marked the end of a nearly two-year saga in which Loughner, who has schizophrenia, was forcibly medicated at a Missouri federal prison medical facility so he could be competent to understand the charges against him.

“He’s a seriously ill young man and he has been for a long time,” said Hileman, a retired social worker who is Jewish. “It’s heartbreaking to me that a kid who’s younger than my children will spend the rest of his life in a box. But he armed himself with a weapon and pulled the trigger. He shot me three times. He killed a 9-year-old girl. He put a bullet in Gabby’s brain. He has to pay for that.”

Before the Nov. 8 hearing, Giffords entered the waiting room with her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly.

“Gabby looked at me — with her eyes sparkling and her smile radiant — and pumped her fist, saying, ‘Strong, strong,’ ” Hileman recalled. “’ If she can do this, I can,’ I thought to myself.”

At the hearing, Hileman stood at a podium with her husband, Bill, by her side, turned to Loughner and read her statement.

“You turned a civics lesson into a nightmare,” she said. “That Saturday morning was filled with sunshine and smiles and excitement. We were gathered to participate in the process. We had made time in our lives to tell your congresswoman how government could better work for you.

“For you, you were part of society then. Your congresswoman. For whom you could have voted – or not. For whom you could have campaigned – or not. It was an opportunity to witness democracy in action. We brought our wives, our husbands, our children, our friends’ children. You brought a gun.”

At the hearing, Hileman said, there were things “I needed to get off my chest. I think my words hung there between us. He has agreed to take medication. Now he’s a heavily medicated young man who’s seriously ill. It’s so sad that it took such violence for him to get treatment.”

The general consensus among victims who spoke at the hearing, she said, is that “we’re comfortable with the resolution” bypassing the death penalty. Even Hileman’s 90-year-old mother, Esther Annis, told her, “Don’t let him bring you down to his level.”

Following the sentencing, “All I care about is he can’t hurt me or anybody else. I had a plan and he hijacked my agenda,” Hileman said. “He’s occupied enough space in my soul.

“There’s no appeal for seven consecutive life sentences. This is done, ‘fartik,’ ” she said, using the Yiddish word for “finished.”


The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.





Find us on Facebook!
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • What could be wrong with a bunch of guys kicking back with a steak and a couple of beers and talking about the Seder? Try everything. #ManSeder
  • BREAKING: Smirking killer singled out Jews for death in suburban Kansas City rampage. 3 die in bloody rampage at JCC and retirement home.
  • Real exodus? For Mimi Minsky, it's screaming kids and demanding hubby on way down to Miami, not matzo in the desert.
  • The real heroines of Passover prep aren't even Jewish. But the holiday couldn't happen without them.
  • Is Handel’s ‘Messiah’ an anti-Semitic screed?
  • Meet the Master of the Matzo Ball.
  • Pierre Dulaine wants to do in his hometown of Jaffa what he did for kids in Manhattan: teach them to dance.
  • "The first time I met Mick Jagger, I said, 'Those are the tackiest shoes I’ve ever seen.'” Jewish music journalist Lisa Robinson remembers the glory days of rock in her new book, "There Goes Gravity."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.