9-Year-Old Shooting Victim Was Aspiring Politician

January 10, 2011 - 1:32 PM

scene of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords's shooting, Tucson Arizona

Law enforcement personnel listen to a briefing in Tucson, Ariz., Saturday, Jan. 8, 2011 near the scene of a shooting that involved Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz. (AP Photo/The Arizona Republic, David Kadlubowski)

Tucson, Ariz. (AP) - Christina Taylor Green's patriotism was inspired by a tragedy on her birth date - Sept. 11, 2001. Another national tragedy took the third-grader's life.

Christina was shot and killed Saturday, along with five other people killed outside a supermarket where a neighbor had taken her to meet Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.

"She was all about helping people and being involved. It's so tragic," Roxanne Green told the Arizona Daily Star. "She went to learn ... and then someone with so much hatred in their heart took the lives of innocent people."

The brown-eyed athletic 9-year-old girl was an aspiring politician and had just been elected to the student council at Tucson's Mesa Verde Elementary School.

Associate Superintendent Todd Jaeger said Monday that teachers would meet with a team of psychologists to discuss how to talk to kids about the third grader's death.

"One of the things we know is that we have to be honest with kids and answer their questions. We need to answer those questions without adding to their angst," Jaeger said.

A memorial of ribbons across a fence in front of the school was slowly growing as students arrived. Flowers, candles and cards signed by classmates and students at other schools were left there.

Amanda Stinnett, a parent who got teary upon seeing the memorial, said her two kids sometimes played together.

"My youngest said, 'She was so nice Mommy. She always let me play with her,'" Stinnett said.

At the same time, she said Christina seemed mature for her age and with a sharp vocabulary.

"It seemed like she was a grown adult."

Christina loved to swim with her 11-year-old brother Dallas, her only sibling. Her mother, Roxanna Green, told the newspaper that Christina loved animals, singing, dancing and gymnastics. She also had hopes of being the first woman to play major league baseball.

She was featured in a book called "Faces of Hope" that chronicled one baby from each state born on the day terrorists killed nearly 3,000 people.

The author, Christine Naman of Monroeville, Pa., said Sunday that Christina playing a role in both events was "somehow particularly tragic."

"I can't believe how a beautiful young life was taken in such an awful, awful way," Naman said.

The girl already had told her parents she wanted to attend Penn State and have a career that involved helping those less fortunate than her.

She was the only girl on her Canyon del Oro Little League baseball team and played second base. John Green said his daughter wanted to be the first woman to play major league baseball.

The game was in her blood. Her dad is a scout for the Los Angeles Dodgers and her grandfather, former big league pitcher Dallas Green, managed the 1980 world champion Philadelphia Phillies.

"She was a strong girl, a very good athlete," Roxanna Green told the newspaper. "She was interested in everything. She got a guitar for Christmas so her next thing was learning to play guitar."

John Green remembers making his daughter an omelet with bacon and cheese for breakfast Saturday morning and kissing her goodbye as the neighbor took her to the event to meet Giffords.

Hours later, John Green was at University Medical Center with his wife and son, with a doctor telling them the girl he called "Princess" was dead from a gunshot wound to the chest.

The unidentified neighbor was shot four times but survived and is recovering from surgery.