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Former Texas resident among those killed in Colorado shooting

By MEAD GRUVER - Associated Press
July 20, 2012 at 2:20 a.m.
Updated July 21, 2012 at 2:21 a.m.

Shooting victims Jessica Ghawi and Brent Lowak.

AURORA, Colo. (AP) - A sports blogger who recently wrote of surviving a Toronto shooting was among those killed in the deadly rampage in suburban Denver, the woman's brother said Friday.

Jessica Ghawi, who was also known as Jessica Redfield, was fatally shot when a gunman barged into a crowded theater and began firing at spectators during the midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises."

Jordan Ghawi said his sister's death comes as a "complete and utter shock."

He has been using his blog and Twitter account to update what he knew about his sister's condition throughout the ordeal. He also appeared on the Today Show.

Jordan Ghawi said on his website that a man who was with his sister at the theater described the chaos, saying he and Jessica Ghawi dropped to take cover when the gunman first started shooting. Jessica Ghawi was shot in the leg, her brother wrote, describing details relayed to him by a man identified on the blog only as a mutual friend named Brent.

Jessica Ghawi began screaming when she was shot, and the man with her tried to calm her and stop the bleeding, according to Jordan Ghawi.

The man was then shot, but he continued attending to Jessica Ghawi's wound before he realized she had stopped screaming, Jordan Ghawi stated. The man said Jessica Ghawi had been shot in the head.

Jordan Ghawi said the friend escaped the theater after being shot twice, but was expected to survive. Jordan Ghawi also praised the man, saying his "actions are nothing but heroic."

Jessica Ghawi, 24, moved to Denver from Texas about a year ago and friends and colleagues described her as outgoing, smart and witty.

"She was always kind of a sponge as far as how she could be an even better journalist and sports broadcaster," said Peter Burns, a radio sports show host with Mile High Sports Radio in Denver, where Ghawi recently interned.

Ghawi blogged at length about surviving the Eaton Centre mall shooting in Toronto that killed two people and sent several others to the hospital. Burns and his girlfriend, Lauren Anuskewicz, both said the blog reflected everything she told them.

"She was like, 'You guys would never believe what happened,'" Anuskewicz said.

Ghawi wrote of the shooting: "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."

Anuskewicz said Ghawi had been in Toronto visiting a boyfriend and "it obviously was a very scary situation."

"And to be just so close to it," she added. "It's just impossible to imagine that not even a month and a half later this would happen, and she would be involved. It's just awful."

Yet, Burns said, Ghawi seemed more enlivened than intimidated by surviving that shooting.

"After the Toronto incident, I think she even looked at that like, 'Hey, even after that, I'm able to pursue my dream," he said.

Burns said he was close to Ghawi's family. He moved to Denver from Texas a few years ago and talked with Ghawi about establishing a sports radio career there, he said.

"She scrounged up some money and came here to Denver without really knowing anybody besides myself," Burns said.

He added that she "quickly became well known in the sports community because of her hard work."

Adrian Dater, hockey writer for the Denver Post, said Ghawi particularly liked hockey and was serious about getting a full-time job in the sports media, saying she was ambitious "and asked me a lot of questions about the business."

Another former colleague, Mike Taylor, a sports host at KTKR-AM in San Antonio described how she reluctantly changed her name for her career, taking the name "Redfield" as a play on her red hair because it was easier to say than her given name.

Jessica Ghawi was a prolific social media user under the new name. Her last tweet stated in all capital letters, "movie doesn't start for 20 minutes."

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