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Mitchell: Tempe prepared for Tucson-like shooting

PHOENIX -- It's been three years since Jared Loughner opened fire at a Tucson shopping center.

Six people died in the incident and former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head, but survived. Twelve others were also wounded.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said he has been working to make sure his city can handle an incident like the Tucson shooting and the city is ready.

"I think we are," he said. "I've had great conversations with Chief of Police Tom Riff, the city manager and members of the council about public safety in general. This council, as well as the leadership of the city of Tempe, value public safety and I think our residents understand that."

Mitchell believes Tempe residents would pull together and help each other in a time of crisis.

The shooting of Gabby Giffords hit close to home for Mitchell.

"I know Gabby personally," he said. "I've worked with her, and my father (former Tempe Mayor and current Arizona Congressman Harry Mitchell) worked with her in Congress. My thoughts and prayers are with the family members that did lose someone that day. We just hope that this doesn't happen again in the future."

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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