As details continue to emerge surrounding the shooting at a "Dark Knight Rises" showing on Friday (July 20) in Aurora, Colorado — which claimed the lives of at least 12 and wounded around 50 more — one victim's eerie connection to a previous shooting has come to light.
Among the 12 dead is Jessica Ghawi, known professionally as Jessica Redfield, who just last month was shopping in Toronto's Eaton Centre minutes before a gunman opened fire, killing two and injuring six others. The aspiring newscaster wrote about the June 2 incident on her blog.
"My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm," she wrote. "After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn't the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn't have spent. It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at Sport Chek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would've been in the midst of gunfire."
Redfield escaped the incident unscathed, only to be counted among the victims of Friday's shooting. Friend Natalie Tejeda, a traffic reporter for KENS 5 in San Antonio, Texas, was among the first to tweet the news. "My friend Jessica Ghawi was killed in the #Aurora Shooting — she was an aspiring sportscaster — she will be missed," she wrote.
Redfield's brother, Jordan Ghawi, blogged about the incident shortly after it happened.
"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," he wrote. "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 [contacted] Aurora PD, operating jurisdiction, as next of kin."
Jordan Ghawi later confirmed on his blog that his sister was among the 12 dead. "Have received word from the coroner's office that Jessica has indeed died of injuries sustained in the shooting."
Redfield's last tweets leading up to the screening were all about her excitement over the conclusion of Christopher Nolan's Batman trilogy. "Of course we're seeing Dark Knight. Redheaded Texan spitfire, people should never argue with me. Maybe I should get in on those NHL talks...," she wrote. Then, finally, "MOVIE DOESN'T START FOR 20 MINUTES."
Yet it's her blog post from June that puts the saddest punctuation mark on this tragic story. "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."
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