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Nov 9, 2012 12:49 AM by Nathan O'Neal

Psychological impact of Loughner sentencing

TUCSON - Many of the victims of the January 8th shootings had to overcome both physical and emotional scarring, and for many the shooter's sentencing day couldn't come soon enough.

The images of the shooting will forever be burned into the minds of those who survived the shooting in January 2011.

"The event itself shatters everything that you know about how things work in the world," said Carol Gaxiola of Homicide Survivors.

Pima Community College Psychologist James Sanchez agrees, saying that the loss of life and injury has plagued survivors.

"It's a lot like grieving, you know everybody has a different way of grieving...there's no right or wrong way," Sanchez said.

Gaxiola said that every victim is now dealing with the long-term effects of those wounds.

"The people that their loved ones were murdered, they're learning how to live without them and that's an everyday task," Gaxiola told News 4 Tucson.

A sense of relief was felt today as victims came face to face with Jared Loughner, as he was sentenced to spend the rest of his life behind bars.

"All the victims are very relieved that this part of it is finished," Gaxiola said.

That face to face exchange, Gaxiola said, allowed the victims to get back that sense of control of their lives that Loughner took on that January day.

"Being able to look him in the eye and say ‘you many have taken my love one and you may have hurt me, but you're not getting the rest of it," Gaxiola said.

While today's sentencing closes one chapter for the community, most agree that it's still a long road ahead for the victims who have to live with the aftereffects of that fateful day.

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