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Slain judge was target of threats in ’09; officials doubt link to Giffords shooting

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Jerry Markon
Washington Post
Jan 9, 2011

John M. Roll, the chief federal judge in Arizona, has been the subject of hundreds of threats, some so serious he was for a time in 2009 placed under 24-hour protection. But it was an accident of bad timing – and his friendship with a congresswoman’s aide – that led to his fatal shooting Saturday at a political event in Tucson.

Roll was leaving a supermarket nearby when when he spotted Ron Barber, aide to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords(D-Ariz.), and “stopped by to say hi,” according to a spokeswoman for Giffords. A short time later, a gunman opened fire. Giffords, the apparent target, was wounded, as was Barber, her district director.

Roll was among six killed, making him the first federal judge killed since U.S. appeals court Judge Robert S. Vance was slain by a pipe bomb at his Birmingham, Ala., home in 1989.

“He was just in the wrong place at the wrong time,” said a law enforcement official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation was still unfolding.

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This article was posted: Sunday, January 9, 2011 at 8:25 am





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