Tucson Angels will guard funerals of Arizona shooting victims from protestors
A biker group called the ‘Tucson Angels’ is prepared to guard the funerals of the victims of Saturday’s horrific shooting rampage, after a fundamentalist group vowed to protest the events.
A memorial for the youngest victim of the attack, 9-year-old Christina Green, is scheduled to take place on Thursday. She, along with five others was killed during a pubic event held outside a Tucson, Arizona grocery store by Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, who was shot in the head point blank, but miraculously survived.
Members of the Kansas-based Westboro Baptist Church have threatened to picket the services, releasing a statement saying “Thank God for the shooter – 6 dead… God appointed this rod for your sins! God sent the shooter to shoot you!”
In the past, the group has protested at funerals of fallen soldiers and those they believe are linked to behavior the church does not agree with, such as homosexuality and Catholicism, according to the Telegraph.
Westboro has also claimed the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings were due to a curse from God. The organization has been deemed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
On Tuesday, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed a law, which makes it a crime to protest within 300 feet of a funeral. The legislation was quickly prepared by state lawmakers after the Westboro threat. Anyone breaking the new law could face up to six months in prison and a fine of $2,500.
According to the Telegraph, Westboro agreed Wednesday not to protest Christina’s funeral, however, vow to be present at the Friday funeral of Judge John Roll, 63, who was also killed in the attack.
The threat has outraged thousands of people who plan to fend off the picketers. In addition, hundreds of people are planning to dress in white and hold a large set of angel wings to block the views of the funeral from any protestors.
The Tucson Angels are part of “Angel Action,” organized by Christina Gilmer.
“All we are trying to do is make it so that our community can heal, and the family and friends of the victims can grieve in peace. They deserve that much,” Gilmer said.
Jared Loughner, 22, has been charged with murder and attempted assassination in Saturday’s shooting deaths.
To see Loughner’s photos, click here.
To read the federal criminal complaint against Loughner, click here.
To view Loughner’s disturbing YouTube videos, click here.
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