Safeway reopens a week after mass shooting

Jan. 15, 2011 at 2:35 PM
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TUCSON, Jan. 15 (UPI) -- The Tucson supermarket where six people were killed and U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was wounded a week ago reopened for business Saturday.

An employee removed a sign that read "temporarily closed" as a few onlookers stood in the parking lot at 7 a.m., The Arizona Republic reported. The first customers walked in a few minutes later.

Safeway employees, who plan a moment of silence at 10:11 a.m., the time the shootings began, held a vigil Friday. They gathered inside the store, listened to a reading of letters of support and condolence from other store managers, and emerged carrying red and white carnations they left at a temporary memorial at the site of the shooting.

"It was extremely difficult walking out of the store," said Aggie Westendorf, who has worked at the Safeway for 13 years. "That's when it got to me."

A college dropout, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, of Tucson, has been charged with the shooting, which left 13 people injured. Those killed include a Giffords aide, a federal judge and a 9-year-old girl who had come to the Giffords event outside the Safeway hoping to meet the congresswoman.

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