TUCSON, AZ - The district director for U.S. Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was released from the hospital Friday after being shot during the Tucson attack last Saturday.
Sixty-five-year-old Ron Barber’s family said he had been released during a morning news conference at the University Medical Center.
In their statement, they credited Anna Ballis for saving his life.
Ballis applied pressure to Barber’s wounds moments after the shooting. Doctors told Barber that had she not administered this first aid, he likely would not have made it to the emergency room.
The attached photo of the two was taken on Thursday, one day before his release from the hospital.
"It was just a bad day," said Ballis when reflecting on Saturday.
The Tucson resident remembers the moment her trip to her neighborhood Safeway grocery store turned tragic.
"I really don't care to remember any of that right now," Ballis tearfully explained.
Ballis decided to meet her U.S. congresswoman, but stepped out of line because it was too long. Barber, a total stranger, encouraged her to come back after shopping.
Seconds later… gunshots.
Barber was hit twice, once in the cheek and once in the leg.
Ballis ran to his side, applying pressure to the most serious wound which she said was bleeding profusely.
When ABC15 asked Ballis what it was like seeing Barber for the first time since the deadly mass shooting Ballis replied, "A lot better than Saturday."
Before his release, Barber was wheeled from his hospital room to see the growing memorial outside UMC on Thursday.
Alongside Barber was his wife, family members, nurses and Ballis. The group tearfully walked around the memorial stopping to look at the many piles of flowers, candles, balloons and cards.
"I'm definitely part of the Barber family now, will always be," Ballis smiled. "I feel like I'm his angel, that's all that matters."
Meantime, a memorial outside Giffords' office continues to grow on the heels of an announcement from President Barack Obama Wednesday that the congresswoman had opened her eyes for the first time.
Christy Herriman dropped off flowers after hearing the promising progress doctors say Giffords continues to make in her recovery.
"I think it's pretty miraculous. Obviously she's a very strong woman," said Herriman.
The shrine includes hundreds of messages, some proudly on display, others tucked away inside message boxes for the lawmaker.
"It's really moving and it's wonderful to see how many Tucsonans really care about what happened and about Gabby," said Karen Blocher, another visitor to the Tucson office on Thursday.
Three of Giffords' staffers were also shot, including Barber. Staffer Gabe Zimmerman was killed in the Saturday shooting.
Copyright 2011 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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