Whenever you hear word of a mass shooting, you feel sadness for the victims, outrage towards the shooter and then you move on. We move on because that’s what life makes us do. But when you hear that one of the victims is someone you’re familiar with or have a connection with, then everything changes.
That happened this morning with the horrible shootings at a movie theater in Aurora, CO.
Jessica Ghawi, known as Jessica Redfield on Twitter, was in that movie theater to see the midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises”. She was one of the 12 victims who died when a gunman went into the crowded theater and started shooting.
Jessica was an aspiring sportscaster. She was a big hockey fan and wrote about the sport for Busted Coverage and other sites. She was one who seemed to be doing all the right things, getting her name out there. Many in NHL circles knew Jessica and exchanged tweets with her.
One of her last tweets I happened to see last night was this:
Never thought I’d have to coerce a guy into seeing the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises with me.
— Jessica Redfield (@JessicaRedfield) July 20, 2012
And just last month, Jessica happened to be in Toronto when the Eaton Centre shootings occurred. She narrowly escaped being one of the victims and she wrote about her experiences on her blog.
One of the more interesting passages was this:
I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. 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. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening.
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.
What she wrote was so true. Unfortunately, her life was cut short early this morning in Aurora. I followed her on Twitter and saw her many exchanges with NHL writers and bloggers. With her connections, it seemed just a matter of time before she would hit it big.
Today is dedicated to Jessica and thoughts and prayers go to her family and to all those affected by this tragedy.
At approximately 0215 CST, I received an hysterical, and almost unintelligible, phone call from my mother stating that my sister, Jessica Ghawi, had been shot while attending the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Denver, CO. I was able to contact the man that was with my sister, mutual friend Brent Lowak, who stated that they were in the theatre when an incendiary device was fired into the crowd and that shots rang out immediately afterwards. Brent further stated that he took two rounds and that my sister took one round followed by an additional round which appeared to strike her in the head. At this time, I do not have confirmation that she is alive or dead. Brent has been transported with non-life threatening injuries to a local hospital. I am on the next flight out of San Antonio to Denver and have already contact Aurora PD, operating jurisdiction, as next of kin.
So sad and tragic.
UPDATE, 12:50 p.m.: Jordan Ghawi has updated his blog with further information from his friend, Brent Lowak, who was with Jessica when the shootings occurred. This is extremely sad to read.
Jessica and Brent were seated in the middle portion of the theatre when a device was thrown into the theatre that produced a “hissing” sound. The theatre than began to fill with smoke which is when patrons began to move from their seats. At that time, shots were fired. Brent and Jessica immediately dropped to a prone position for cover. Jessica advised multiple times for someone to call 911, which Brent immediately attempted to do. Brent then heard Jessica scream and noticed that she was struck by a round in the leg. Brent, began holding pressure on the wound and attempted to calm Jessica. It was at this time that Brent took a round to his lower extremities. While still administering first aid, Brent noticed that Jessica was no longer screaming. He advised that he looked over to Jessica and saw what appeared to be an entry wound to her head. He further stated that Jessica presented with agonal respirations. Brent then took what may have been his only chance to escape the line of fire and exited the structure where he then contacted my mother. Brent’s actions are nothing but heroic.
Jordan says this will be his last public statement from him on the incidents in Aurora today.