HEALTH

Utahn paralyzed during Trolley Square mass shooting has died

Nov 28, 2023, 4:50 PM | Updated: Nov 29, 2023, 11:12 am

SALT LAKE CITY — One of the survivors of the 2007 mass shooting at Trolley Square, who was paralyzed after being shot multiple times, has died.

Stacy Hanson, 70, passed away Nov. 5. His death was announced in an obituary last week.

“Our world is now without its kindest, most caring, most lovable curmudgeon. Stacy Hanson, a man of unshakable conviction, compassion, principle and loyalty, bid us farewell on Nov. 5, 2023. The passion he poured into life is now a legacy of memories that we can all cherish,” the obituary says.

Hanson’s life was forever changed on Feb. 12, 2007, when he was at Trolley Square shopping for a Valentine’s Day card. An 18-year-old man killed five people and wounded four others at random before being killed in a shootout with police. Hanson was one of the wounded who survived. He remained hospitalized for two months before returning home.

“With a fortitude and courage few others possess, he stood up to the gunman and attempted to negotiate by humanizing the victims and de-escalating the situation, telling the gunman, ‘We all have families we love and just want to go home.’ Unfortunately, like so many other innocent victims in mass shootings, Stacy became another number in the growing epidemic of gun violence. He was the worst injured but managed to survive. The three gunshot wounds he took forever confined him to a wheelchair. However, Stacy resolved to walk again despite more than 30 surgeries and the constant presence of debilitating pain. Through it all, Stacy remained gracious, inspiring us as he strove to live his life to the fullest,” his obituary states.

On the one-year anniversary of the shooting, Hanson shared his thoughts in a column in the Deseret News. He encouraged others to recognize how fragile life is, to get involved in their communities and recognize mental health issues, called on leaders to crack down on illegal sales of assault weapons to minors, and expressed his gratitude that there are far more good people in the world than bad ones.

His wife reflects back

Hanson’s wife, Colleen, spoke with KSL TV’s Shara Park on Tuesday.

“He had so much courage,” she said. “He was incredibly kind and thoughtful; he was truly a gentleman.”

Colleen Hanson also says her husband was a fan of the local college teams.

“He loved watching the Utes and the Utah State games, those were his favorites,” she said.

Colleen Hanson says her husband’s life was cut short because of the tragic event at Trolley Square.

“I think he died partially of a broken heart, based on that he kept getting sick and couldn’t get better,” she said.

In his obituary, Hanson’s family encouraged others to vote for responsible gun reform.

He is survived by his wife, five children and four grandchildren. A celebration of life will be held for Hanson in the spring.

KSL TV’s Shara Park contributed to this story.

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Utahn paralyzed during Trolley Square mass shooting has died