Remembering Those Killed In The Aurora Movie Theater Shooting
DENVER (CBS4/AP) – The following is a list of the names of those killed in the Aurora movie theater shooting:
Veronica Moser Sullivan, 6
The youngest of the victims killed in the attack was 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan. Her mother, Ashley Moser, was also shot and was partially paralyzed.
“She was a very special girl. She was very intelligent … she was a sweetheart to everybody, and lovable; she was a very emotional little girl, but in a good way,” Veronica’s grandmother Anne Moser said. “She knew how to make people happy.”
Veronica had just learned to swim.
Jessica N. Ghawi, 24
Jessica Ghawi recently wrote a blog post after surviving a shooting at a Toronto mall, saying it showed her “how fragile life was.”
Friends say the 24-year-old, who moved to Colorado from Texas about a year ago, didn’t let the June 2 shooting in Toronto change her outlook on life as she pursued a career in sports journalism.
“I think she even looked at that like, ‘Hey, even after that, I’m able to pursue my dream,'” said Peter Burns, a radio sports show host with Mile High Sports Radio in Denver, where Ghawi recently interned.
That shooting left two dead and several injured. Her blog post last month said: “I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change.
“I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath.”
Former colleagues described her as ambitious and hardworking. She went by the name “Redfield,” a play on her red hair, because it was easy to say and remember, both professionally and on her social media accounts.
She was a regular tweeter and her last post to the micro-blogging website stated in all capital letters, “movie doesn’t start for 20 minutes.”
John T. Larimer, 27
John Larimer was a Navy sailor based at Buckley Air Force Base, where he was a cryptologic technician – a job that the Navy says on its website should be filled by someone with “exceptionally good character, above-average writing and speaking skills, a good memory, curiosity and resourcefulness.”
Those who knew him described him in similar terms.
The 27-year-old and another active service member, Air Force Sgt. Jesse Childress, were killed in the shooting rampage, the military said Saturday.
Larimer, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, Ill., joined the service just over a year ago, the Navy said.
“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 the victims of this horrible tragedy,” said Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski, his commanding officer, in a written statement.
A family member told the Daily Herald newspaper in Arlington Heights, Ill., that Larimer was the youngest of five siblings. Neighbors in his hometown recalled his sense of humor.
“We love you, John, and we will miss you always,” his parents said in a statement.
Alexander J. Boik, 18
Alexander J. Boik, an 18-year-old known as A.J., had a reputation for making people laugh and tried to bring back the mullet haircut in his freshman year of high school.
“He tried to rock the mullet,” said Tyler Lynch, 20, who played baseball with Boik on their high school team.
Boik, a catcher who played on the team through his junior year, had recently graduated from Gateway High School in Aurora. He also played in the school orchestra.
Boik was voted by Gateway High School classmates as “most likely to become the next Pablo Picasso.” He was to start classes at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the fall. Gateway principal Bill Hedges said Boik planned to become an art teacher.
A friend, Jordan Crofter, described Boik as someone who “didn’t hold anything back. He was just his own person.”
“He was a ball of joy. He was never sad or depressed. He wanted everybody to be happy,” Crofter said.
The family said in a statement that Boik was loved by all who knew him and was dating “a beautiful young lady” who was with him at the theater and survived.
Crofter said Boik and his girlfriend Lasamoa Cross made a “perfect couple,” and people expected them to get married.
“If he were still here, he’d try to make everyone have a positive outlook of the situation and not allow it to affect their outlook of life,” Crofter said.
Jesse E. Childress, 29
Jesse Childress was an Air Force cyber-systems operator based at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.
Air Force Capt. Andrew Williams described the 29-year-old from Thornton, Colo., as knowledgeable, experienced and respectful. “We’re going to miss him incredibly,” he said.
Tech Sgt. Alejandro Sanchez, a co-worker, told the AP that Childress was his good friend and they were on a bowling team together.
“He would help anyone and always was great for our Air Force unit,” he said.
Another co-worker, Ashley Wassinger, said Childress “was a great person fun to be with, always positive and laughing.”
“Really just an amazing person, and I am so lucky to have been his friend,” she said
Jonathon T. Blunk, 26
Jonathan Blunk had high hopes for the future, with plans to re-enlist in the Navy and the goal of becoming a Navy SEAL.
The 26-year-old served three tours in the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea between 2004 and 2009, said close friend James Gill of Brighton, Colo.
“It was guts or glory for him,” Gill told The Associated Press. “It always surprised me that he didn’t serve in a situation more on the front line. He wanted to be a first responder on the front line.”
Blunk was also a certified firefighter and emergency medical technician, Gill added.
He died in the shooting Friday after throwing himself in front of friend Jansen Young and saving her life, she told the NBC “Today” show. He told her to stay down.
“That’s something he would do,” Gill said. “If he was going to choose a way to die, that’s how he wanted to go – defending someone from a (person) like that.”
Blunk, a 2004 graduate of Hug High School in Reno, Nev., most recently lived in Aurora and worked for a small flooring company.
His estranged wife, Chantel Blunk, lives with their 4-year-old daughter and 2-year-old son in Reno.
Alex M. Sullivan, 27
Alex Sullivan’s family called him “their real life super hero,” and he was at “The Dark Knight Rises” premiere on his 27th birthday. He also was celebrating his first wedding anniversary.
“Alex was a gentle giant, known and loved by so many. He always had a glowing smile on his face and he made friends with everyone. Alex enjoyed all sorts of movies, was an avid comic book geek and loved the New York Mets,” the family said in a statement.
Sullivan was a big man with a warm smile and an innocence that endeared him to people, said Shelly Fradkin, whose son Brian was good friends with Sullivan. She sat next to a makeshift memorial Friday near the theater where an oversized birthday card with a photo of a smiling Sullivan was displayed.
“He’s amazing. He was just a big teddy bear. Great hugs,” she said.
She said Sullivan was such a big movie fan that he took jobs at theaters just to see movies.
Fradkin and her son spent an “excruciating” day Friday trying to find Sullivan before learning of his death, she said.
“We’re shocked. We’re numb. We’re sick,” she said. “Our hearts are broken and we’re crushed.”
Micayla C. Medek, 23
Micayla Medek loved a night out with her friends, and she was with a group of about 10 of them at the “Dark Knight Rises” premiere.
Medek was “Cayla” to her family and friends. She was 23 years old and juggling classes at Aurora Community College with a job at a Subway sandwich shop, said her aunt Jenny Zakovich, 57, of South Milwaukee, Wis.
“She didn’t know what she wanted to do,” Zakovich said. “I think her plans were to finish community college and go into a better paying job – probably in the computer field.”
An ardent Green Bay Packers fan, Medek, who lived in the Denver suburb of Westminster, would plan her schedule around watching Packers games with her sister and father.
“It was probably just like going to church every Sunday,” Zakovich said.
Zakovich said she was planning to look for tickets to a Packers game so her brother could surprise Medek and her sister.
Medek was an independent-minded and sweet girl who rarely asked her family for anything, Zakovich said.
“She was one who wouldn’t hurt anybody. She was a very loving person. This shouldn’t have happened to somebody like her.”
Matthew R. McQuinn, 27
As the attack in the movie theater unfolded, Matt McQuinn dove in front of his girlfriend and her older brother to shield them from the gunfire.
He died protecting them, said Rob Scott, an Ohio attorney retained by the families of McQuinn and his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler. Scott confirmed McQuinn’s death to The Associated Press. He was 27.
“Unfortunately, Matt McQuinn perished from the injuries he sustained during the tragic events that unfolded in Denver, Colorado, and went home to be with his maker,” Scott said in a statement. “As both families mourn the loss of Matt, they ask for everyone to give them distance and time. Again, the families thank everyone for their love, prayers and ask that we respect their families’ wishes.”
Yowler was recovering from surgery after she was shot in the knee at the theater. Her 32-year-old brother, Nick Yowler, who also shielded his sister, was not injured.
McQuinn and Yowler moved to Colorado from Ohio last fall. A Colorado co-worker told the Springfield News-Sun that McQuinn and Samantha Yowler worked with her at Target.
“They’re really fun people. We always go out together,” said Melissa Downen.
Alexander C. Teves, 24
Alexander C. Teves, 24, of Phoenix, earned a master’s degree in counseling psychology in June from University of Denver.
He was a lovable person who made friends quickly and had a lot of them, said his grandfather, Carlo Iacovelli of Barnegat, N.J.
As a boy, Teves moved from New Jersey to Phoenix with his parents. Iacovelli and his wife wintered there and spent a lot of time with him.
“He was what you might call an ideal grandson,” Iacovelli said. “He was a fun guy. He loved to eat.”
Teves was planning to become a psychiatrist, his grandfather said.
“He had a lot to look forward to,” Iacovelli said.
Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32
Rebecca Ann Wingo was a single 32-year-old mother who leaves behind two daughters. Friends said she had everything going in the right direction.
After high school Rebecca joined the Air Force and spoke fluent Mandarin. She was taking classes at a community college. She started a job a few months ago at Schryver Medical in Denver as an intake specialist.
Her daughters were ages 9 and 5, and friends and family say Wingo loved them dearly.
“Every time she walked into a room it would just lighten up,” said Rebecca’s friend Michael Ignace.
“She had both sides of her brain working and she had heart,” her mother Shirley Wygal said.
She was passionate about Rockies baseball and action movies. Rebecca had been waiting to see the Batman series finale for years.
Gordon W. Cowden, 51
Gordon Cowden loved life and his family, and he had gone to the midnight movie premiere with his two teenage children.
At 51, he was the oldest of the victims killed in the shooting. He lived in Aurora, but was described as a “true Texas gentleman” in a family statement. He loved the outdoors and owned his own business.
“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,” his family said.
His teenage children escaped the shooting unharmed.
His family declined to be interviewed in their request for privacy but expressed appreciation for words of concern offered in the wake of the shooting.
“Our hearts go out to everyone that has been harmed by this senseless tragedy,” they said.
(TM and © Copyright 2012 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)