Tucson Shooting: Remembering the Dead

Dorwan Stoddard shielded wife; Christina-Taylor Green was 9/11 baby.

ByABC News
January 9, 2011, 2:21 PM

Jan. 9, 2011 — -- When bullets started flying Saturday outside a Safeway grocery store in Tucson, Ariz., in an assassination attempt on Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Dorwan Stoddard and his wife Mavy Stoddard hit the ground trying to save themselves from the gunman's frenzy.

"He did what any loving husband would do, dive on a grenade for his wife," Michael Nowak, a pastor at Mountain Avenue Church of Christ in Tucson and a friend of the couple, said.

Dorwan Stoddard, 76, lay on top of his wife, Mavy, protecting her from the torrent of bullets. Mavy Stoddard thought her husband was hurting her by lying on top of her, not realizing that she'd been shot three times in the legs, Nowak said.

Dorwan Stoddard was fatally wounded, dying at the scene of the mass shooting that's left six dead and 14 injured.

The two had known each other all their lives but had only fallen in love 15 years ago after each had lost their spouses, Nowak said. Now Mavy Stoddard is preparing to bury a husband for the second time.

"It's a shock," Nowak said. "She has moments of breakdown, but is always positive that he's in heaven. When she comes to church here next week, it's really going to hit her very hard."

The Stoddards are an integral part of the 140-member congregation at Mountain Avenue. Dorwan Stoddard volunteered as the head of the benevolence ministry and the maintenance ministry.

"He was a teddy bear, he didn't have a mean bone in him," Nowak said. "He couldn't say no to anybody inside the church, outside the church. ... He was always reaching into his wallet to give people money."

The retired construction worker had a history of heart attacks but didn't let his health stop him. He was known to drive his truck to help people move.

Today, at church services, the congregation remembered Dorwan Stoddard and prayed for Mavy Stoddard's health. She is still in the hospital, Nowak said.

Church members also prayed for the other dead victims: John Roll, Gabriel Zimmerman, Phyllis Schneck, Dorothy Morris and Christina-Taylor Green.