The TRUE HEROES Of The Colorado Movie Theater Shooting
Know more about the true heroes that gave their lives trying to protect their loved ones and friends during a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises.
Jessica "Redfield" Ghawi, 24
In early June, Jessica Ghawi walked out of a Toronto mall moments before a gunman walked in. The shootings that followed killed two people and wounded half a dozen more.
“I was shown how fragile life was,” Ghawi wrote on her personal blog. “… I was reminded that we don't know when or where our time on Earth will end.”
Ghawi, who went by Jessica Redfield professionally, had moved to Denver from Texas a year ago to pursue a career as a sports journalist. She worked as an intern at Denver sports radio station 104.3 The Fan, and with the You Can Play Project, a gay-rights group that supports equality in the locker room.
"I specialize in sports media and snark," Ghawi wrote on her blog. "Not your typical sarcastic feisty redhead attempting to perfect the trifecta of class, sass, and crass. Yankee born, Texas raised, Colorado blooming."
Micayla C. Medek, 23
On her Facebook page, Micayla identified herself as a Subway sandwich artist. A graduate of William C. Hinkley High School in Aurora, she said she was a member of the class of 2015 of the Community College of Aurora.
"I'm a simple independent girl who's just trying to get her life together while still having fun,” she wrote.
Friends tried to carry Cayla, as she was called, out of the theater after the shooting, but paramedics told them to leave her behind, aunt Jenny Zakovich of South Milwaukee, Wis., told the Times.
John T. Larimer, 27
John Larimer had been in the United States Navy for just over a year when he died, officials said. He was a petty officer third class and had been stationed at Aurora’s Buckley Air Force Base since October. Larimer worked as a cryptologic technician in a unit from the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet.
The Navy informed Larimer’s family of his death Friday, his parents said in a statement. His brother is working with the Navy to bring Larimer’s body home to Crystal Lake, Ill.
"I am incredibly saddened by the loss of Petty Officer John Larimer--he was an outstanding shipmate,” Larimer’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski, said in a statement. “A valued member of our Navy team, he will be missed by all who knew him. My heart goes out to John's family, friends and loved ones, as well as to all victims of this horrible tragedy.”
Alex M. Sullivan, 27
Friday was Alex Sullivan’s 27th birthday, and he apparently died a hero.
Based on his wounds, friends said, Sullivan shielded those around him from the bullets.
"He was on the end and he stood up to cover the girls," said Shelly Fradkin, whose son grew up with and was best friends with Sullivan. She said his love for Batman and other stars shaped his character. “His heart was ready to be that real life superhero.”
Sullivan graduated from Grandview High School in 2003 and studied culinary arts, Fradkin said. In the past, he had worked at movie theaters but was most recently working at Red Robin. He was a newlywed and had no children.
Alexander C. Teves, 24
Teves, 24, attended Desert Vista High School in Phoenix in 2006. He earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology in June from the University of Denver. Arapahoe County coroner's officials have identified Teves as one of the 12 victims.
Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32
Rebecca Wingo had two daughters, ages 4 and 6. She worked at a medical company in Aurora, friends said, and had gone to see the new Batman movie with Marcus Weaver, 41.
As the bullets flew in the theater, Weaver said he tried to protect her as best he could.
“… When I lifted her up, she was unconscious,” Weaver said. “She may have already passed.”
According to her Facebook page, Wingo was born in Quinlan, Tex. and spent 11 years working for the United States Air Force. She most recently worked as an intake specialist at Schryver Medical in Denver.
Wingo’s family is from California, Weaver said, and she had planned to fly out for a wedding this fall. Her mother identified her body Friday.Wingo’s father Steve Hernandez posted the following to Facebook, “I lost my daughter yesterday to a mad man, my grief right now is inconsolable. I hear she died instantly, without pain, however the pain is unbearable. Lord why, why, why???? I sit here and resist this entry, however I feel I must, in disgust, in dismay, in prayer, I love you my daughter Rebecca, we all will miss you.”
Jonathan T. Blunk, 26
When the bullets started coming, Jon Blunk pushed his girlfriend Jansen Young to the theater floor, she told the “Today” show. She shook him, saying, “Jon, Jon, we gotta go!” and tried to call 911. Then she raised her head, looked around and saw other people doing the same.
“I think Jon just took a bullet for me,” she remembered thinking. Blunk had told her that he was born to serve his country, Young said, and was re-enlisting in the armed forces.
“It was just what he wanted to do, and he loved it,” Young said. “He saved me, and he gave me the opportunity to live – he would have done it for anybody that day.”
Jesse E. Childress, 29
Jesse Childress, 29, will be remembered as loyal and athletic, friends said Saturday as they gathered at a makeshift memorial across the street from the theater.
The U.S. Air Force reserves cyber systems operator died at a nearby hospital, officials said. Childress was single and had no children. He had a pet dog and family in the Los Angeles area.
Friends placed an Air Force flag at the foot of the memorial, where a teddy bear in a miniature uniform and small, folded blue-and-white flags rested.
“He was athletic, fun to be with—he really just wanted to serve,” said Ashley Wasinger, 31, who served with Childress in the Air Force’s 310 Force Support Squadron. She sobbed as she recalled the last time she talked to Childress on Thursday.
“He talked about the movie,” she said. “We’ve all been excited to go. He tried to talk me into going.”
Gordon W. Cowden, 51
Arapahoe County coroner’s officials have identified Cowden as one of the 12 victims.
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6, was a “vibrant little girl” on a mother-daughter outing to the midnight screening, a relative said Saturday.
Her mother, 25-year-old Ashley Moser, was getting ready to attend nursing school, Ashley’s aunt Annie Dalton said. Moser remains in critical condition with bullets in her throat and abdomen, the Associated Press reported.
Matthew R. McQuinn, 27
Coroner’s officials described McQuinn’s identification as presumptive. They said they are awaiting a definitive identification.
These men, women and children are the true superheroes, and their stories and faces are the ones that I'm choosing to remember, instead of that animal. Words are failing me now, so I'd like to end this article with the following messages:
"I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given."
- Jessica "Redfield" Ghawi (1987-2012)
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