the youngest of victims slain in the
Aurora theater shootings.
(Courtesy of the family)
Certainly the victims of the slayer's calculated midnight slaughter will never be forgotten by their kin and friends. And the survivors, those permanently crippled by his fusillade and those who escaped physically unscathed, will not forget the minutes that felt like hours of terror. But it will be the killer's name and visage that imprints itself on the national psyche. We'll see him and hear his name repeated over and over again, despite the efforts of folks like CNN's Anderson Cooper to avoid it. We've already got the news channels endlessly playing the loop of his first appearance in court.
The names and photos of the victims, the slain ones at least, will be included in media reports for a week or so and then mostly disappear until the first anniversary. After that, public oblivion.
Here are their names and a few words about each:
• Veronica Moser-Sullivan, age 6. Four days before the shooting she was bragging about learning to swim. She was to start first grade in the fall. Her mother, Ashley Moser, was shot in neck and abdomen and is partly paralyzed.
• Alex Teves, 24, had graduated in June with a master's degree in counseling psychology from the University of Denver. He graduated from the University of Arizona in 2010. He was one of five of the slain to save others with his courage. “He pushed [his girlfriend] to the floor to save her and he ended up getting a bullet,” Teves’ aunt, Barbara Slivinske told the Daily News.
• Jon Blunk, 26, a Navy veteran who wanted to become a Navy SEAL, was "a hero, and he’ll never be forgotten,” a tearful Jansen Young said. “Jon took a bullet for me.” Blunk had taken Young to the premiere of The Dark Knight Rises to celebrate her graduation from veterinary school. When the shooting started, he pushed her under the seats and threw himself on top of her. He had two children with his estranged wife.
• Matt McQuinn, 27, lost his life while shielding his girlfriend. Her brother tried to protect her, too. McQuinn dove on top of Samantha Yowler, who was shot in the knee. Her brother escaped without injury. McQuinn was from St. Paris, Ohio, where he met Yowler at the Target store where they both worked. The two had recently transferred together to work in a store in Denver.
• John Larimer, 27, a U.S. Navy Cryptologic Technician 3rd class, had been stationed at the U.S. Fleet Cyber Command station at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora since October. He was raised in Crystal Lake, Illinois. His girlfriend said he saved her life by getting between her and the bullets during the shooting.
• Jesse Childress, 29, a staff sergeant in the U.S. Air Force Reserve, was stationed at Buckley Air Force Base. He was a Cyber Systems Operation Technician with the 310th Force Squadron. He used his body to shield his friend Munirih Gravelly from the bullets: "I feel really sorry ... that he's gone, that none of us were able to at least hold his hand and look him in the eye while he passed."
• Jessica Ghawi, 24, was a hockey fan who grew up in Texas. She had recently moved from San Antonio to Colorado to follow a career in sports journalism. She had just left a shopping mall food court in Toronto on June 2 when a gunman shot eight, killing one. Writing as Jessica Redfield in a June 5 blog post, she said: "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."
• Alex Sullivan, 27, went to the theater with co-workers from a Red Robin restaurant to celebrate his birthday. Sunday would have been the first anniversary of his marriage. He had written a month ago on his Facebook page: ''Just took the wife to DIA going to be gone for 3 and a half weeks going to miss her a lot. I love you cassie." She had just returned home the day before the shooting.
• Micayla Medek, 23, a graduate of William C. Hinkley High School in Aurora, was attending the Community College of Aurora. On her Facebook page, she called herself a Subway sandwich artist. "I'm a simple independent girl who's just trying to get her life together while still having fun." She was saving her money to travel to India, where some of her co-workers were from.
• Alexander "AJ" Boik, 18, planned to attend Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the fall. He had just graduated this May from Gateway High School, a mile from the theater where he was shot to death. Classmates remembered him as the guy who would show up at any school sporting event, from women's volleyball to men's football, covered in body paint and cheering the players on.
• Rebecca Wingo, 32, an Air Force veteran who was originally from Quinlan, Texas, began working for a mobile medical imaging firm a couple of months ago. She also had a job at a seafood restaurant. She was the mother of two daughters, the youngest of whom just started kindergarten. A fund to help support the girls has raised $9,000 of its $20,000 goal.
• Gordon W. Cowden, 51, a small business owner, was the oldest of the victims killed. He had taken his two teenage children to see the movie. They escaped unharmed. His family declined to be interviewed but said in a 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."