Saturday, July 21, 2012

Identities Of 12 Deceased Victims Of Aurora Shooting Emerge

Let us not waste another breath on the foul name of James Holmes.  Let us give our energy to those lost to his stupid hatred instead.  Yesterday morning officials began to release the identities of the victims of Thursday’s terrifying mass murder in Aurora, Colorado. This writer trembles with effort to find the right words with which to present these unfortunate people with lives cut short needlessly, if not thoughtlessly, by an apparent madman.  Let’s take a moment and appreciate our loss.

From Left to Right
(top row): Gordon Cowden, Veronica Moser, Alex Teves,  Micayla Medeck, Rebecca Wingo, Jesse Childress
(bottom row) Alex Sullivan, Jessica Ghawi, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn, Aj Boik, John Larimer

Gordon W. Cowden was 51, and the oldest victim.  He had two teenaged children at the theater with him who escaped unharmed.  His family released this statement: "Loving father, outdoorsman and small business owner, 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."

Veronica Moser was six years old.  Her 25 year old mother was also shot in the throat and the abdomen. She remains paralyzed in critical condition and hasn't been told of her daughter's death.  Veronica’s great aunt speaks for her family, “This is just a nightmare right now. It's a nightmare.”  Veronica was supposed to start swimming lessons this Tuesday. "She was excited about life as she should be. She's a 6-year-old girl," her great-aunt said.
Alex Teves was 24.  A friend who was with Teves in the theater posted on Twitter that he had been killed. “Alex Teves was one of the best men I ever knew. The world isn’t as good a place without him,” wrote the friend, identified as Caitlin. “Alex Teves was a Arizona basketball fan, loved Spider-Man, was an amazing therapist, and died a hero...He could make us all laugh with his Gollum impression. I’ll never forget that.”
Micayla (Cayla) Medek was 23. Her personal Facebook account shows us just how much this world suffers, without Cayla.  From her FaceBook info page: “My name is Micayla, but everyone usually calls me Cayla. I’m a simple independant girl who’s just trying to get her life together while still having fun.”
The second pulls my heartstrings, it was her favorite quote: “We’re all a little weird. And life’s a little weird. And when we find someone whose weirdness is compatible with ours, we join up in mutual weirdness and call it love.”
Rebecca Ann Wingo was 32. Her father wrote an emotional Facebook post about the loss of his daughter, originally from Quinlan, Texas. "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. "I sit here and resist this entry however I feel I must , in disgust, in dismay , in prayer, I love you my daughter Rebecca, we all will miss you."
Jesse Childress was a 29 year old Air Force reservist.  He worked as a cyber systems operator. He enjoyed sports, and rooted for the Denver Broncos.  He enjoyed playing flag football, softball and competing in obstacle competitions.  "He was a huge part of our unit, and this is a terrible loss. The person that did this was an incredible coward," Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Schwald said Saturday at the memorial site.
Alex Sullivan was 27.  He was married.  He had a job with Red Robin.   "He was a very, very good young man," said Sullivan's uncle, Joe Loewenguth. "He always had a smile, always made you laugh. He had a little bit of comic in him. Witty, smart. He was loving, had a big heart."  Alex was at the theater with a group of friends that night to celebrate his birthday. He died the day before his wedding anniversary. Jessica Ghawi, also known as the blogger Jessica Redfield, was 24.  On June 2nd she had missed, by only a matter of minutes, a shooting in a food court in a mall in Toronto where five people were shot, and two people killed.  In her blog entry of June 5th, “Late Night Thoughts on the Eaton Center Shooting” Jessica described the scene, “It’s not like in the movies when you see someone shot and they’re bleeding continuously from the wound. There was no blood flowing from the wounds, I could only see the holes. Numerous gaping holes, as if his skin was putty and someone stuck their finger in it. Except these wounds were caused by bullets. Bullets shot out of hatred.”
In her final paragraph, Jessica says something haunting, “I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest….The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.”
Jon Blunk, a young veteran and hero was also at the movie with his wife, Jansen Young.  When the shooting started, he shoved her beneath a seat and covered her with his body.  Young said that it wasn’t until she tried to get out of the theater herself that she realized Jon was lifeless. “I tried to shake him and was saying his name, and like Jon, Jon we’ve got to go,” she said. “I kind of poked my head up at that point and realized oh my gosh, nobody’s in here, it’s just us. There were like a few other heads here and there I could see leaving the theater but really the theater was empty…that’s when I got out and I kept thinking that was…oh my gosh, I think Jon just took a bullet for me.”
Matt McQuin was 27 his last living act was to shield his girlfriend from the hail of bullets sprayed by the gunman behind the Aurora, Colo., multiplex massacre.  Matt’s girlfriend Samantha was shot, but survived, thanks to his quick and selfless thinking.  “He was a great outgoing person,” a co-worker at the Colorado Target super store told the News. “We lost a great person and we still can’t picture or realize that he’s gone.”
Alexander "A.J." Boik was 17.  He was a distributor at Organo Gold, a coffee company, and went to Gateway High School in Aurora. His friend, and girlfriend made it to the lobby, only to find that AJ didn’t make it with them.  A Facebook page has been set up in his honor where one friend posted,” RIP Aj Boik, you were such a great friend.”
John Larimer was a 27.  He was a Sailor who trained at the Great Lakes Naval Academy and was a Petty Officer 3rd Class had been assigned to Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora in October 2011, where he worked as a cryptologic technician. "I am incredibly saddened by the loss of Petty Officer John Larimer; he was an outstanding shipmate," Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski, Larimer's commanding officer, said in a statement early Saturday, according to the Chicago Tribune. "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 victims of this horrible tragedy."
May each of these individuals rest in peace.

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