Behind the Headlines: Aftermath of a Shooting: Anna, Daniel, Mary, Bill, Mavy


Anna was making a simple trip to the grocery store when she found herself in the middle of a nightmare. She was just feet away from Loughner during the shooting.

Anna makes an emotional return to the scene of the crime.

Anna fights back tears after watching the tape.

Dr. Phil asks her, "Did it help to go back to where this happened?"

"It did help me to go back," she says. "I think I needed to see that scene differently. I wanted to see that there were actually lives that were saved that day."

[AD]Dr. Phil credits Anna's quick thinking in aiding victim Ron Barber, who is the district director for Congresswoman Giffords. Ron had been shot in his groin and his face and was bleeding profusely. Anna applied pressure to stop the blood flow, which probably saved his life. "God bless you for doing that," he says.

Dr. Phil inquires about Anna's health, as she deals with what she witnessed.

"It's going to be a long time for me. I'm going to need some therapy, I'm sure," she says, her voice quavering.

"What haunts you most about it?" Dr. Phil asks.

"Just the senselessness of what happened. So many people lost their lives for no reason," she says. Anna says she remembers when she first noticed Loughner. She stopped at the table where people were waiting to meet Congresswoman Giffords. "I thought maybe I'll come back later, and I was about to enter the store. I didn't know it at the time, but Ron had extended his hand out to me and said, ‘Please come back and see us. I would love for you to meet Congresswoman Giffords.' About that time, Ron had stopped talking for a moment and was looking to the front of the table, and I looked over my shoulder and there was a gentleman standing at the table that had his hands in the pockets of his sweatshirt. He looked up briefly. I looked back at Ron, and it was just about that time when we released hands and the shooting just went from there." Anna leaned against a pillar and then dove under a table.

Dr. Phil makes it clear to Anna and anyone who has gone through a tragedy that it's not a weakness to have a reaction. "It's a very normal response to something that is so far outside your normal life pattern," he says.

Dr. Phil explains the warning signs to watch for in a loved one who may be having an adverse reaction to a recent tragedy:

  • Emotional pain, such as crying, angry outbursts or fear responses.
  • Reliving what happened, either awake or in dreams.
  • Withdrawing and isolating themselves.
  • Persistent signs of depression, anxiety or mood swings.
  • A major change in habits like grooming, hobbies, socialization or other typical patterns.

[AD]"You don't like being called a hero," Dr. Phil says to Anna. "You say you have two boys in Iraq and Afghanistan. You say they are the heroes. You were just an angel of the morning that day. I'm so glad you are well, and I'm so glad you were there to help others. Thank you for that."

In the midst of the chaos of the Arizona shootings, several other heroes emerged. One of them was Daniel Hernandez, an intern for Congresswoman Giffords who rushed in to help save her life after she was shot in the head.

Daniel sat down with Dr. Phil producers recently to explain what he experienced that day.

"I was helping to check people in for Congress on Your Corner for Congresswoman Giffords," Daniel recalls. "About 10 minutes into the event, we heard shots being fired, so I ran toward where the Congresswoman would be. When I got toward Congresswoman Giffords, she was kind of slumped over, and it was hard for her to breathe. I wanted to make sure that she didn't asphyxiate on her own blood, so I picked her up and propped her up against my chest, so she could breathe properly. Once she was sitting in an upright position, I then tried putting pressure to her wound to try to stem some of her blood loss. She was alert and conscious the entire time I was with her. She was still awake when we got to [University Medical Center] in Tucson."

At the Arizona memorial service, President Obama acknowledged Daniel's heroism to aid his boss.

"I still have to reject the title of hero, even though the President referred to me as such. I think the real heroes are people like Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, Ron Barber, her district director, Pam Simon, who works in her office, and also Gabe Zimmerman, who, unfortunately, lost his life. These are dedicated public servants who have given up a lot of their time and a lot of their lives to try to help others," Daniel says.

Miraculously, Gabrielle Giffords seems to be making amazing strides in her recovery. She recently was upgraded from critical condition to serious condition.

[AD]Dr. Neil Martin, chief of neurosurgery at UCLA Medical Center, says the path of the bullet in Giffords' head went from front to back, which is better than side to side. "The critical central areas of the brain that control consciousness, breathing and life-saving functions of the brain are injured from a side-to-side injury," he says. Dr. Martin says Giffords has already beaten the odds, so in the coming weeks and months, her doctors will be looking for signs of recovery, like speech, motor functions, memory, judgment and organization. All signs so far are very encouraging.

Mary is living proof of how far a mother will go to protect her children. She was shot three times during the rampage and used her body as a shield to protect her teenage daughter.

Mary joins the show via satellite from Tucson. She tells Dr. Phil she is recovering from her wounds. Mary was shot in both arms and in her back, in addition to having multiple shrapnel wounds.

"Every mother in America is standing up and applauding you," Dr. Phil tells her. "People always want to know what in the world goes through your mind at the time?"

Mary explains that when she saw the shooter, he had an oddly blank face about what he was doing, although she could see he was intent on shooting every person in line. "I'm a mama bear. That was not going to happen to my child," she says. Mary says she threw her daughter up against a wall and jumped in front of her.

Mary says her daughter missed a college interview because of the tragedy, and is having trouble with being identified as a survivor of the shooting.

Dr. Phil encourages Mary to seek therapy for herself and her daughter, to work through the trauma of the event, which may take some time. He recommends she let her daughter process what she experienced in her own time, and seek therapy if she needs it. He offers her resources in their town.

"Thank you," Mary says.

If you have a child recovering from a tragedy, here are some tips to help them through it:

  • Talk, talk talk. Reassure them as to their safety and security.
  • Limit exposure to media.
  • Conduct business as usual as far as school, life patterns and predictability.
  • Explain the isolated nature of the occurrence.
  • Let them know that telling is not tattling.
  • Be patient with individual reactions.


Bill's wife, Suzi, was shot three times by Jared Loughner. He says Suzi is tormented because she's the one who brought 9-year-old Christina Green to meet Congresswoman Giffords, and the little girl was shot and killed.

Bill joins Dr. Phil via satellite from Tucson. He gives an update on his wife. "Suzi has made real good progress in the past two days," he says. Suzi is still receiving intensive care, but her vitals have continued to get stronger. "Strength is returning to Suzi."

"I'm so glad to hear that," Dr. Phil says. He asks about Suzi's memories of that day and her emotional state.

[AD]"Her initial reaction was a very strong one of anger," he says. "What's been on Suzi's mind is her role as guardian to Christina," he says. Bill says his wife had a recent emotional breakdown after getting a full view of what the incident did to her physically, and her grief over the loss of Christina and the pain her parents must be feeling.

Bill says the little girl's parents reached out to Suzi the day after of the event, e-mailing her their well-wishes and love, despite the depths of their grief. Bill says he's had a few phone calls with Christina's father, John, and they plan to visit Suzi in the hospital soon.

Mavy also joins via satellite. She's recovering from multiple gunshot wounds to her leg. Her husband, Dorwan, protected her during the shooting and died.

Mavy and Dorwan have an incredible love story. They first met in the sixth grade and were each other's first kiss. They grew up and apart, each married other people and each had four children. They were both married for 40 years before their spouses passed away. Mavy's cousin reintroduced them when they were both 60 years old, and they married soon after. Mavy says they had a 15-year storybook marriage filled with a mutual love of travel. Dorwan was the head of maintenance at their church. Mavy says she could never find anything he couldn't fix, and he's probably fixing something in heaven right now.

"You say that you forgive the man who shot you and shot and killed your husband," Dr. Phil says.

"Yes. The Lord tells me not to hate; to love," she says.

"Mavy, I am so very sorry for your loss," Dr. Phil says. "You say you feel a degree of challenge now about what you do with your life since Dorwan gave his to protect yours?"

[AD]"That's right. I don't know quite what I'll do with it, but I'll have to be busy, and he will be sorely missed," she says.

"You will certainly be on my prayer list, and Robin's, and we thank you for your message that you've shared today," Dr. Phil says.

"Thank you, Dr. Phil."