Aspiring Sports Reporter Killed In Theater Shooting
Jessica Redfield Among 12 Killed In Mass Shooting
Last Updated: 366 days ago
An aspiring sports reporter was one of the victims of the theater shooting.
Jessica Ghawi was a journalist and blogger who also went by the name Jessica Redfield. She had tweeted about the movie not long before the attack.
"Movie doesn't start for 20 minutes," she wrote in her last message.
Ghawi had recently moved to Denver from San Antonio, Texas to pursue her dream of becoming a sportscaster.
Ghawi's mother, Sandy Phillips, said she will miss communicating with her daughter.
"I'll never have her to hug again, or get a text message again or get a funny Facebook picture," Phillips told CNN affiliate KSAT in San Antonio. "That's the hard part right now ... knowing those are things I'm never going to experience again."
"She had a huge heart," Phillips said. "Cared deeply for other people."
Ghawi's friend and fellow movie-goer Brent Lowek also was shot during the attack, but later emerged from surgery at a medical facility, according to friends and relatives.
"It looks like he's going to be OK," his stepfather, Dan Greene, told CNN.
The Denver radio station where Ghawi had once interned posted on Facebook that she had been killed.
"Sending thoughts, prayers and love to my friend Jessica and her family," 104.3 The Fan posted.
Jordan Ghawi, Jessica's brother, wrote a blog that said, "essentially, she died quickly and painlessly. Now we will begin the process of bringing her home to celebrate her life."
Benjamin Hochman, a reporter for The Denver Post, described his friend Ghawi as an effervescent young woman, brimming with energy and a love of hockey that she sought to channel into the competitive world of sports reporting.
"I woke up this morning and saw that people had been texting me to make sure I was OK," said Hochman, who then checked Facebook and saw postings about Ghawi.
He'd written her a letter of recommendation just a few months earlier, and the two had become fast friends.
"I thought the world of her," he said.
Jordan Ghawi told CNN his sister was working hard to succeed in sports journalism.
"She left everything she knew in San Antonio to come out here to pursue that dream," he said
In June, Ghawi was visiting Toronto with her boyfriend, a minor league hockey player, when they narrowly escaped a deadly shooting in the city's main downtown mall.
Peter Burns, a friend of Ghawi's, said that attack seemed to heighten her zest for life, pointing to reflections she later posted on her blog.
"I can't get this odd feeling out of my chest," Ghawi wrote in a June 5 post. "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. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm's way. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting."
She added that "gun crimes are fairly common where I grew up in Texas, but I never imagined I'd experience a violent crime first hand."
"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," she wrote of the June shooting. "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."
Ghawi further reflected, saying the incident reminded her 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."
The Ghawi family has established the Jessica Redfield Sports Journalism Scholarship Fund in honor of Jessica. Learn more.
CNN's Phil Gast contributed to this report.
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