A U.S. Navy veteran who served three tours of duty in the Middle East. A 6-year-old girl excited about her swimming classes. A Target employee who shielded his girlfriend and her brother with his own body.They and nine others were killed in the shooting rampage during a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" in a Denver suburb. Here are their stories.
Jessica Ghawi Redfield was an aspiring sports writer in her mid-20s who had narrowly escaped another mass shooting in Toronto just last month.She had recently moved to Denver from San Antonio to pursue her dream and was working as an intern at a Denver sports radio station.Six weeks ago, when the young sports writer had just missed getting caught in the Toronto food court shoot-out, she reflected on how lucky she was and how fragile life is in a blog post about the attack."I found out after seeing a map of the scene that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot where I just ate, and opened fire in the food court full of people. ... I would've been in the same place where one of the victims was found," Jessica wrote.Her brother wrote on his blog Friday, "The outpouring of support for my family is overwhelming. Hearing from people from all of the world. My family thanks you."
Alex Sullivan was at the movie as part of this 27th birthday celebration. Sunday was to be his wedding anniversary.His family released a statement Friday night saying, "The Sullivan family lost a cherished member of their family today. Alex was smart, funny and above all loved dearly by his friends and family."
Matt McQuinn was killed while trying to provide cover for his girlfriend, a family spokesman said.McQuinn and his friend, Nick Yowler, dove on top of Samantha Yowler to shield her from bullets, the family said.Yowler was shot in the knee, and is recovering in the hospital.
Petty Officer Third Class John Larimer was a U.S. Navy sailor from Crystal Lake, Ill.He was assigned to the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet at Buckley Air Force and worked as a a cryptologic technician.His family said they were making arrangements to bring the remains back to Illinois. "We love you John and we will miss you always," the family said in a statement.
Micayla Medek is among the dead, her father's cousin, Anita Busch, told the AP.Busch said the family heard the news after waiting for 19 hours."I hope this evil act ... doesn't shake people's faith in God," Busch said.
AJ Boik graduated from Gateway High School this year where he played baseball, a family spokesman said.According to a statement from the family, "AJ was a wonderful, handsome and loving eighteen year old young man with a warm and loving heart."Boik was at the movie with his girlfriend, who was not hurt.
Jesse Childress was injured in the shooting and died at the hospital.He was a reservist with the Air Force and worked as a cyber-systems operator at Buckley Air Force Base.He lived in Thornton and was single.
According to friends and family, Blunk wanted to be a hero."He always talked about if he were going to die, he wanted to die a hero," his estranged wife, Chantel Blunk, told NBC News.Blunk was at the movie with a friend who credited him with saving her life.Blunk leaves behind his wife, Chantel, and two children.
Alex Teves' father, Tom Teves, told ABC News that his son had blocked his girlfriend from a bullet when he was shot and killed.Teves was a graduate of Desert Vista High School in Tempe, Ariz. and was attending the University of Denver graduate school.Teves' father said he had "a heart of gold."
Rebecca Wingo, 32, lived and worked in Aurora and was the mother of two.She worked at Schryver Medical as an intake specialist.Wingo's father wrote an emotional Facebook post about the loss of his daughter."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????," Steve Hernandez wrote.
Gordon W. Cowden was 51, and was a "Loving father, outdoorsman and small business owner," said a family spokesman."Cowden was a true Texas gentleman that loved life and his family. A quick witted world traveler with a keen sense of humor, he will be remembered for his devotion to his children and for always trying his best to do the right thing, no matter the obstacle”, spokesman said.Cowden had taken his two teenage children to the theater the night of the tragedy. The teenagers escaped unharmed.