Slain Staffer's Father: 'I Want People to Remember Him'

Gabrielle Giffords staffer Gabe Zimmerman's dad speaks out about his son.

January 10, 2011, 9:02 AM

Jan. 10, 2011 — -- The father of a congressional staffer who was killed in Saturday's deadly rampage in Arizona says that he wants people to honor his son's legacy.

"I just want people to remember him," Gabe Zimmerman's father, Ross Zimmerman, told ABC News' Christiane Amanpour.

Six people were killed and 14 wounded in the weekend shooting at a meet-and-greet event hosted by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords outside a grocery store in Tucson. Among them was Gabe Zimmerman, 30, Giffords' director of community outreach who organized the event

The alleged gunman, Jared Lee Loughner, 22, will appear in court today for the first time.

A criminal complaint filed in federal court charges Loughner with one count of attempted assassination of a member of Congress, two counts of killing an employee of the United States and two counts of intent to kill employees of the United States.

Ross Zimmerman frantically looked for his son in the emergency room Saturday afternoon but was unable to find him.

"Nobody could find him and that's when the horrible realization dawned on us that they couldn't find him because he wasn't in any emergency room," Zimmerman said. "He had died at the scene. And half of my future is gone."

Zimmerman got the head's up to rush to the hospital from his son's fiance.

"I got a call from Gabe's fiance, Kelly, saying people have been shot, they're going to University Medical Center," he said.

Gabe Zimmerman had planned to marry Kelly O'Brien in April 2012. The couple visited potential wedding chapels last week for their spring ceremony.

"For the moment, at least, Kelly has lost her future," Zimmerman said.

The former social worker had worked for Giffords since 2006. Both shared a passion for being out among the people.

"He had a real knack for connecting with people," his father said.

Gabe Zimmerman 'Beloved' by Gabrielle Giffords' Staff

President Obama called Ross Zimmerman on Sunday to offer his condolences.

Gabe Zimmerman's colleagues were devastated by his death.

"It's extraordinarily hard," C.J. Karamargin, Giffords' communications director, said on "Good Morning America" today. "Gabe was a great guy. He was beloved by our office, beloved by the community."

Another victim of Saturday's shooting had also spent his life serving the greater good; federal Judge John Roll. He was appointed by George Bush Sr. in 1991.

"Unfortunately, he was at the wrong place at the wrong time," Sheriff Clarence Dupnik of the Arizona Police Department said.

Roll had just left church and was on his way home when he stopped by the event to support his good friend Giffords.

Roll leaves behind his wife, three sons and five grandchildren.

ABC News' Emily Friedman, Devin Dwyer, Jessica Hopper and Brooke Strangeland contributed to this report.

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