A look at the lives of Colorado shooting victims

By Kristen Wyatt

Associated Press

Published: Monday, July 23 2012 1:05 p.m. MDT

Gordon Cowden loved life and his family, and he had gone to the midnight movie premiere with his two teenage children.

At 51, he was the oldest of the victims killed in the shooting. He lived in Aurora, but was described as a "true Texas gentleman" in a family statement. He loved the outdoors and owned his own business.

"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," his family said.

His teenage children escaped the shooting unharmed.

His family declined to be interviewed in their request for privacy but expressed appreciation for words of concern offered in the wake of the shooting.

"Our hearts go out to everyone that has been harmed by this senseless tragedy," they said.

Jessica Ghawi recently wrote a blog post after surviving a shooting at a Toronto mall, saying it showed her "how fragile life was."

Friends say the 24-year-old, who moved to Colorado from Texas about a year ago, didn't let the June 2 shooting in Toronto change her outlook on life as she pursued a career in sports journalism.

"I think she even looked at that like, 'Hey, even after that, I'm able to pursue my dream,'" said Peter Burns, a radio sports show host with Mile High Sports Radio in Denver, where Ghawi recently interned.

That shooting left two dead and several injured. Her blog post last month said: "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."

Former colleagues described her as ambitious and hardworking. She went by the name "Redfield," a play on her red hair, because it was easy to say and remember, both professionally and on her social media accounts.

She was a regular tweeter and her last post to the micro-blogging website stated in all capital letters, "movie doesn't start for 20 minutes."

Brent Lowak, Ghawi's close friend who was with her at the theater, described to his family how he tried to tend to her wound before she was fatally shot.

Lowak was expected to make a full recovery from a wound in his backside.

"He wants so badly to be well enough to be at her memorial service," said his mother, Sue Greene.

John Larimer was a Navy sailor based at Buckley Air Force Base, where he was a cryptologic technician — a job that the Navy says on its website should be filled by someone with "exceptionally good character, above-average writing and speaking skills, a good memory, curiosity and resourcefulness."

Those who knew him described him in similar terms.

The 27-year-old and another active service member, Air Force Sgt. Jesse Childress, were killed in the shooting rampage, the military said Saturday.

Larimer, who grew up in the Chicago suburb of Crystal Lake, Ill., joined the service just over a year ago, the Navy said.

"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 the victims of this horrible tragedy," said Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski, his commanding officer, in a written statement.

A family member told the Daily Herald newspaper in Arlington Heights, Ill., that Larimer was the youngest of five siblings. Neighbors in his hometown recalled his sense of humor.

"We love you, John, and we will miss you always," his parents said in a statement.

As the attack in the movie theater unfolded, Matt McQuinn dove in front of his girlfriend and her older brother to shield them from the gunfire.

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