Hero who helped save Gabrielle Giffords dies

Updated 3:51 PM EDT, Wed July 1, 2015
CNN —  

Bill Badger, who helped tackle the gunman that shot then-Rep. Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona has died, his wife Sallie Badger tells CNN.

He was 78 years old and died of pneumonia, according to Badger.

“Saddened by the passing of Bill Badger, a great man and hero who ran towards danger on Jan. 8 2011”, Gabrielle Giffords said on her verified twitter account.

“I’m so sad to learn that Bill Badger has passed away. Bill was not only a great man and a proud Army veteran, he was a hero,” Giffords said in a statement. “On Jan. 8, 2011, Bill was wounded in the head by a bullet from the gun of my would-be assassin. Not even pausing to realize he had been injured, Bill ran towards the shooter and towards danger so that he could help subdue him until the authorities arrived. I believe that Bill helped save lives that morning. And I will always be grateful to him for his selfless, brave actions. My heart, thoughts, and prayers are with Bill’s loved ones as they mourn the loss of a great man.”

CNN’s Tristan Milder contributed to this report.