AURORA, Colo. (CBS4) – As 12 families are grieving the loss of their loved ones and many more remained hospitalized, a vigil was held at Aurora’s Gateway High School Saturday evening and another large vigil is planned for Sunday evening.
There were a lot of tears as emotional friends, family members and strangers attended the vigil at Gateway High School. They say now is the time to talk about the good times, start celebrating lives, and not focus so much on the bad.READ MORE: Mauricio Eduardo Anchondo-Olivas Convicted Of Killing Former Roommate In Colorado, Gets Life Sentence
One of the lives lost was that of Alexander J. Boik, known as AJ. He attended Gateway High School and friends say he was liked by everybody and was described as a goofball. They say he had a passion for art and managed to make everybody’s life around him a little bit brighter.
Boik was at the movie with his high school sweetheart who friends say he planned to marry.
“He was an amazing person. He was someone to always put a smile on your face,” friend Daikota Perry said.
Perry’s 17-year-old cousin was also at the movie.
“He’s in critical condition and they think he may be paralyzed from the neck down, but he’s doing good and making eye contact and movements,” Perry said.
Gateway Principal William Hedges asked for the large media presence at the vigil to stay back so the community could grieve in private.READ MORE: Pausing Use Of Johnson & Johnson Vaccine Impacting Distribution In Rural Colorado
“This is a somewhat spontaneous gathering of people,” Hedges said. “Especially right at the beginning we want to make sure people have the space they need.”
Some were clearly overcome with emotion and were led off the football field as stories of an enthusiastic AJ Boik were told. Balloons were released to celebrate his memory and thoughts were left behind as the entire community copes with the tragic loss.
One person wrote, “Inhale faith, exhale fear,” after one night changed so many lives.
“It’s changed me in a lot of ways; to be grateful every morning that I’m alive and to live my life to the fullest I can,” student Itzi Miranda said.
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Boik had recently been admitted into the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design and planned to major in art education.MORE NEWS: Aurora Police Investigate Hit & Run Involving Pedestrian
Another vigil is planned for Sunday at 6 p.m. at the Aurora City Center located at Sable and Alameda.