Jessica Ghawi, who was shot and killed on Friday at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater, narrowly escaped a different massacre just last month.
While visiting Toronto last month, the 24-year-old was nearly caught in the Eaton Centre mall shooting, which left two dead and six injured. On her blog, she wrote that she left the mall just three minutes before the gunman opened fire on the food court, right where she was previously standing. Her blog post touches on her experience cheating death that day and opines on the fragility of life. As she watched emergency responders rush victims out on stretchers, she wrote:
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.
Tragically, hers came just seven weeks later as she watched the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises at an Aurora, Colo. movie theater. Her excitement over the film could hardly be contained, splayed all over Twitter as she tweeted using her handle @JessicaRedfield. In her last exchange, just before the film, she teased a friend who was missing the late-night screening.
The massacre took the lives of 12 moviegoers and injured nearly 50 others, as gunman James Holmes, who was wearing a gas mask, entered the theater 20 minutes after the movie began and opened fire.
Ghawi, originally from Texas, was working as an intern for Denver sports-radio station 104.3 The Fan. She had been living in Denver for just over a year, according to an earlier tweet. She was also noted as an intern for the You Can Play Project, a Denver-based sports organization that advocates for fairness and equality for gay athletes. Both of her employers tweeted their sadness over Ghawi’s death.
Ghawi’s brother Jordan described on his blog his heartache and confusion when he was alerted of his sister’s death. “At approximately 0215 CST, I received an hysterical, and almost unintelligible, phone call from my mother.” He then explained he called Brent Lowak, Jessica’s friend who had attended the movie with her. “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.” After these conversations, he wrote that he quickly jumped on a plane from San Antonio to Denver in order to be there with his sister.
After fortuitously escaping the Eaton Centre shooting, Jessica Ghawi wrote in her blog post: “My mind keeps replaying what I saw over in my head. I hope the victims make a full recovery. I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest.”