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Former Blinn student one of 12 killed in CO

Suspected shooter may receive death penalty

Published: Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Updated: Wednesday, July 25, 2012 21:07

 

Jessica Ghawi, avid hockey fan, aspiring sports journalist and Texas native, was one of 12 people killed early Friday morning when a man opened a spray of gunfire at “The Dark Night Rises” premiere in Aurora, Colo.

Ghawi, a former College Station resident while attending Blinn College, moved from San Antonio, to study broadcast journalism near Denver, Colo., where Ghawi’s long-time high school friend from San Antonio, Brent Lowak, flew to visit Ghawi and see the midnight premiere.

Moments before the two close friends would be struck by bullets, Ghawi texted her mother for the last time.

“Get some sleep mom. I’m really excited for you to come visit. Need my mamma,” Ghawi texted her mother, who uploaded a screenshot of the conversation on Twitter.

The Associated Press talked with the parents of Lowak while he was in critical condition at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

Lowak’s mother, Sue Greene of Bulverde, Texas, said the two were sitting in their sixth or seventh row seats when they heard the hiss of gas canisters thrown by the gunman.

Greene said her son and Ghawi ducked, but not before Ghawi was hit in the leg.

According to Greene, as Ghawi screamed, her son applied pressure to the wound. Then she stopped screaming. Lowak realized his friend had been shot again, and soon she was dead. He had been wounded, as well. Shot in the backside, he couldn’t walk or run to safety.

Lowak crawled away, and he managed to find a van taking victims to the hospital.

“Only then did he leave her. They were best friends,” Greene said.

As of Sunday, Lowak was able to take a few steps for the first time since the shooting, and his condition was upgraded from critical to serious.

As part of her aspirations to become a sports broadcaster, Ghawi, known professionally in sports broadcast networks as Jessica Redfield, used a blog to cover the NHL. She also kept a personal blog, and in her last post she wrote about surviving a shooting in a Toronto mall food court in June.

“I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. This empty, almost sickening feeling won’t go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court,” Ghawi started the blog.

Ghawi wrote that right after she paid for her food, she had a “panicky” feeling that led her to go outside for some fresh air. She wrote that three minutes later, a man opened fire where she had just been standing.

“I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday … 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,” she wrote.

Senior mathematics major Rachel Robeson said it’s horrifying to consider that one man could massacre so many innocent strangers.

 

“No one could have seen this coming, so the gunman is the only one to blame. The perpetrator and the families of the victims are in my prayers,” she said.

 

The man accused of killing 12 people and wounding 58 more at the Aurora movie theater, James Holmes, made his fist appearance in court Monday morning for a brief procedural hearing. Holmes will face formal charges from prosecutors on July 30. District Attorney Carol Chambers for Arapahoe Country, Colo., said her office is considering the death penalty against him, according to The Associated Press.

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