TUSCON, AZ (KMOX) – The woman credited with helping neutralize gunman Jared Loughner, during the Tucson Arizona shootings, is a St. Louis native.
Patricia Maisch, who moved to Arizona in 1983, says she watched Loughner shoot a woman who was using her body to shield her teenage daughter, and thought, “I’m next.” But Loughner ran out of bullets after shooting the woman next to her three times and paused to reload. That’s when, Maisch says, two other men tackled him.
“He was pulling a magazine out of his pocket with his left hand and someone said, ‘Grab the magazine,’ Maisch said. “So I grabbed the magazine before he could.” Maisch is being credited with preventing even more bloodshed. But she says she does not deserve any praise. “The two men who secured him were the heroes. I just was an assistant.”
The 61-year-old Maisch – a graduate of St. Francis Assisi grade school and Notre Dame high School – moved from Oakville, MO to Arizona in 1983, because of the climate. She and her husband own a heating and cooling business in Tucson. Maisch says she was near the front of the line to meet Rep. Gabrielle Giffords during her “Congress On Your Corner” event the morning of the shootings, to thank Giffords for her vote on the stimulus bill, but went into the nearby Safeway to get a banana. When she came out she was 25th in line; witnesses say Loughner was just a few spots in front of her, 20th in line, before he walked to the front of the queue and began shooting. She says if she hadn’t gone inside, she probably would have been one of the victims.
Giffords, who was shot in the head at close range, has responded to some commands in the hospital. Six people, including a federal judge, died in the shooting rampage. Loughner is charged with five federal charges, including one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress. More charges are expected. The 22-year-old is expected in court today.