Patricia Maisch looks like a grandmother, but she is being hailed as a hero today for helping to stop alleged Tucson shooter Jared Loughner by wrestling away a fresh magazine of bullets as he tried to reload.
Maisch, 61, effectively disarmed the shooter as several men pounced on him and threw him to ground. As they struggled to hold him down, Maisch joined the scrum on the ground, clinging to the gunman's ankles.
Maisch and her fellow heroes -- identified as Bill Badger, Roger Sulzgeber and Joseph Zamudio -- stopped the carnage after 20 people were shot, including Rep. Gabrielle Giffords. Six people died.
"[I] knew right away it was a gun... I heard a continuation of shots," Maisch told a news conference today.
Maisch, who has a crown of snow-white hair, was standing towards the back of the line to greet and snap a photo with Giffords at the "Congress in Your Corner" event at a Safeway grocery store.
Speaking to the press today, Maisch recalled how she stopped Loughner as he tried to reload his Glock 9 mm weapon.
"I could see him coming. [He] shot the lady next to me," Maisch said.
As he was shooting, she said, she was expecting to be hit and she wondered what it would feel like.
There was "lots of blood and confusion," she said.
She considered trying to run away, she said, but thought that would make her more of a target, so she laid down on the ground. But then something unexpected happened.
"Then he was next to me on the ground," she said. "The gentleman knocked him down.
"I kneeled over him. He was pulling a magazine [to reload] and I grabbed the magazine and secured that. I think the men got the gun, and I was able to get the magazine," she said.
Maisch said Badger and Sulzgeber both sat on the gunman while she held his ankles down. Police said that Zimudie helped by hanging on to Loughner's legs.
Sulzgeber was reportedly standing with his wife, third in line to meet with Giffords, while Zimudie was in the nearby Walgreens and came running out once he heard the shooting.