Jesse Childress was one of two service members from Buckley Air Force base killed in the mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater.
Childress, 29, was a Staff Sergeant in the Air Force and worked as a cyber-systems operator. He lived in Thornton.
"This tragic event has affected everybody here at Buckley Air Force Base and our local community friends and neighbors," base commander Col. Daniel Dant said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by the loss of each and every loved one."
"He was a huge part of our unit, and this is a terrible loss. The person that did this was an incredible coward," said Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Schwald, who spoke on behalf of the three Air Force members after the shooting. She declined to give her first name.
Friends said he spent nearly every day of the week playing sports -- softball on Mondays, bowling on Tuesdays, reported the Denver Post.
Tech Sgt. Alejandro Sanchez, a co-worker, told the Associated Press that Childress was his good friend and they bowled together.
"He would help anyone and always was great for our Air Force unit," he said.
Another co-worker, Ashley Wassinger, said Childress "was a great person fun to be with, always positive and laughing."
"Really just an amazing person, and I am so lucky to have been his friend," she said.
But Childress was also a "big nerd," his friend Kevin Thao told the newspaper. Childress loved comics and superhero movies. He had recently bought a black Scion, a car he nicknamed the "Batmobile."
Thao said he and another friend had tickets to "The Dark Knight Rises" in Theater 8, and tried to get Childress to sneak into their theater. Childress had tickets to Theater 9 and decided to stay there in order to be with a friend.
Thao said Childress was shot when he dove in front of his friend, a female Air Force member from Buckley.
"He would have done that," Thao told the newspaper.