Canada shooting survivor among dead21/07/2012 - 01:55:46
A sports blogger who wrote of surviving a Canada shooting just over a month ago was among those killed in the deadly cinema rampage.
Jessica Ghawi, also known as Jessica Redfield, was fatally wounded when the gunman barged into the crowded cinema and began firing at spectators during the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
Her brother Jordan Ghawi said his sister’s death was a “complete and utter shock”.
He had been using his [url=http://www.jordanghawi.com/denver-theatre-shooting-jessica-ghawi/]blog[/url] and Twitter account to update what he knew about his sister’s condition throughout the ordeal and also appeared on The Today Show.
Mr Ghawi said on his website that a man who was with his sister at the cinema described the chaos, saying he and Miss Ghawi dropped to take cover when the gunman first started shooting.
Miss Ghawi, 24, was shot in the leg, her brother wrote, describing details relayed to him by a man identified on the blog only as a mutual friend named Brent.
She began screaming when she was shot and the man with her tried to calm her and stop the bleeding, her brother said.
The man was then shot, but continued helping Miss Ghawi before he realised she had stopped screaming, Mr Ghawi stated. The man said she had been shot in the head.
Mr Ghawi said the friend escaped after being shot twice, but was expected to survive. He praised the man, saying his “actions are nothing but heroic”.
Miss Ghawi, 24, moved to Denver from Texas about a year ago and friends and colleagues described her as outgoing, smart and witty.
“She was always kind of a sponge as far as how she could be an even better journalist and sports broadcaster,” said Peter Burns, a radio sports show host with Mile High Sports Radio in Denver, where Miss Ghawi recently interned.
Miss Ghawi had [url=http://jessicaredfield.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/late-night-thoughts-on-the-eaton-center-shooting/]blogged at length[/url] about surviving the June 2 Eaton Centre mall shooting in Toronto that killed two people and injured several others. Mr Burns and his girlfriend, Lauren Anuskewicz, said the blog reflected everything she told them about that incident.
“She was like, ’You guys would never believe what happened’,” Ms Anuskewicz said.
Miss Ghawi wrote of the shooting: “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.”
Ms Anuskewicz said: “It obviously was a very scary situation. And to be just so close to it. It’s just impossible to imagine that not even a month and a half later this would happen and she would be involved. It’s just awful.”
But Mr Burns said Miss Ghawi seemed more enlivened than intimidated by surviving that shooting.
“After the Toronto incident, I think she even looked at that like, ’Hey, even after that, I’m able to pursue my dream’,” he said.
He said he was close to Miss Ghawi’s family. He moved to Denver from Texas a few years ago and talked with Miss Ghawi about establishing a sports radio career there, he said.
“She scrounged up some money and came here to Denver without really knowing anybody besides myself,” he said.
He added that she “quickly became well known in the sports community because of her hard work”.
Adrian Dater, hockey writer for the Denver Post, said Miss Ghawi particularly liked hockey and was serious about getting a full-time job in the sports media.
Another former colleague, Mike Taylor, a sports host at KTKR-AM in San Antonio, Texas, described how she reluctantly changed her name for her career, taking the name Redfield as a play on her red hair because it was easier to say than her given name.
Jessica Ghawi was a prolific social media user under the new name. Her last tweet stated in all capital letters: “Movie doesn’t start for 20 minutes.”