In Memoriam

Aurora, Colorado’s 12 Shooting Victims (Photos)

The Daily Beast looks at what we know of the dozen lives that were cut short in Aurora.

Colorado’s Fallen 12

Ranging in age from 6 to 51, the victims of Friday’s massacre were students, veterans, and parents. As tales of heroism and tragedy emerge from witnesses, The Daily Beast looks at what we know of the dozen lives that were cut short.

Veronica Moser-Sullivan

The youngest victim, blonde and blue-eyed 6-year-old Veronica, was attending The Dark Knight Rises premiere with her mother, Ashley Moser, when the shooter entered and began firing into the audience. Ashley Moser was shot in the neck and stomach and remains possibly paralyzed and in critical condition at the hospital. Veronica’s great-aunt Annie Dalton told reporters that Moser, who is in and out of consciousness, asks about her daughter, but hasn’t been told that the little girl was killed. “This is just a nightmare right now,” Dalton said. “It’s a nightmare.”

Barry Gutierrez / AP Photo

Alex Sullivan

Alex Sullivan intended to kick off his 27th-birthday celebrations with a midnight showing of the newest Batman movie. Sullivan, who was killed in Friday’s attack, tweeted right before going into the theater: “Oh man one hour till the movie and its going to be the best BIRTHDAY ever.” Sullivan was married and worked as a bartender. Photos of Sullivan’s distraught father waving a picture and pleading “Find my son!” brought the tragedy close to home for those following the Colorado massacre Friday.

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Jessica Ghawi

Tragedy rarely strikes twice in such a horrible way, but it sadly did on Friday for Jessica Ghawi. The 24-year-old budding sportswriter had in June narrowly escaped a shooting in a Toronto shopping center after an “odd feeling” led her out of the mall, she wrote on her blog. “I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday,” she posted. “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. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.” Sports announcer Mike Lavender talked to The Daily Beast about his former intern and friend: “One thing that really kills me, that really makes me truly sad, is that a couple weeks ago she sent me a message that she was working on getting together sporting equipment for families that lost their belongings in the fires in Colorado,” he said.

Jonathan Blunk

“He always talked about if he were going to die, he wanted to die a hero,” Jonathan Blunk’s estranged wife, Chantel, told reporters. When shots were fired, Blunk, a 26-year-old military veteran and father of two, did just that. He threw his girlfriend Jansen Young to the ground and pushed her under a chair, hiding her with his body. “Jon just took a bullet for me,” Young said. “I know I would not be here today if Jon had not been next to me in that movie theater.” Young said Blunk had been planning to reenlist to serve in the military.

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John Larimer

A cryptologic technician in the Navy, John Larimer had enlisted last year and was stationed at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora. The 27-year-old Illinois native was described as an “outstanding shipmate” by his commanding officer, who added that he felt he “lost one of his sons.” Larimer’s family is planning to bring his remains home and asked for privacy. “We send our thoughts and prayers out to the families of the other victims and those still recovering in the hospital,” they said in a statement. “We love you, John, and we will miss you always.”

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Matt McQuinn

There was no shortage of bravery on display as the Colorado gunman roamed the theater, shooting indiscriminately. Matt McQuinn, 27, attended the movie with his girlfriend Samantha Yowler and her brother Nick. The two had met working in a Target in his native Springfield, Ohio. They had decided to transfer to the Aurora store in November. As shots rang out, both McQuinn and Nick dived on top of Samantha to shelter her from the bullets. Samantha was shot in the knee, but her life was spared.

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Micayla Medek

Twenty-three-year-old “Cayla” was “a simple independent girl who’s just trying to get her life together while still having fun,” she wrote on her Facebook profile. She was a student at the Community College of Aurora and worked at Subway. Her aunt Jenny Zakovich told reporters that friends had tried to carry Medek from the theater, but she fell to the ground, and police told them there was nothing that could be done. Zakovich said that after a call from one of her friends, the wait to hear of Medek’s fate was torturous for her family. “He was absolutely hysterical, just sobbing, ‘I want to get my baby and bring her home,’” she said of Medek’s father. “He feels she is lying on the floor of the theater, and it is making him insane.”

Ted S. Warren / AP Photo

Alexander Jonathan Boik

A.J. Boik had just graduated from Gateway High School in Aurora and had dreams of becoming an art teacher and opening his own studio. He was planning on attending Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design this fall. “R.I.P Aj Boik.You constantly would brighten people’s day with your humor and good spirit,” a friend posted on Twitter.

Alex Teves

Alex Teves had a “heart of gold,” his father, Tom, told ABC News. The 24-year-old was attending graduate school at the University of Colorado when he went to the Dark Knight Rises premiere in Aurora with his girlfriend. Alex was blocking his girlfriend when he was shot and killed, his father said. She was not hit. The pair was with another friend, Caitlin, who also escaped and is requesting that people donate blood. “Alex Teves was a Arizona basketball fan, loved Spider-Man, was an amazing therapist, and died a hero,” she tweeted. “Alex Teves was one of the best men I ever knew. The world isn’t as good a place without him.”

Alex Brandon / AP Photo

Jesse Childress

Jesse Childress, a 29-year-old Air Force reservist, was injured in the shooting and later died in the hospital. “He literally touched everyone in the wing ... over a thousand people. It’s just hard, and I know our folks ... We’ll get through this, but it’s extremely difficult for us right now,” said Air Force Lt. Col. Pat Walsh at a news conference.

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Rebecca Ann Wingo

“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 on Facebook of his daughter’s death. Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32, had studied at the Community College of Aurora and worked as a translator for the Air Force. She later became an intake specialist at a medical-imaging company. The mother of two went to the theater with a friend, who described the terrifying event: “Twenty minutes in, gunfire erupted from the corner,” Marcus Weaver told TV station WGNT. “My friend Rebecca Wingo and I hit the floor. Round after round. It was insane. People screaming, bullets flying. I pulled her out but she was unconscious. I was shot in the arm and have fragments in my shoulder. I’m thankful to be alive. Please pray for Rebecca Wingo and all the wounded. I can’t believe this.”

Cowden family

Gordon W. Cowden

The oldest of the victims, Gordon Cowden was a real-estate appraiser and divorced father of four. He had taken his two teenage children to see the premiere. “He was a man who loved God, loved his country, loved the outdoors, but most of all loved his family,” his ex-wife said.