11.27.1987 – 7.20.2012
We have now established the Official Jessica Redfield Sports Journalism Scholarship Fund. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. We also would like to note that there are 11 other families who have lost loved ones and funds of equal importance will be setup in their names.
At approximately 0215 CST, I received an hysterical, and almost unintelligible, phone call from my mother stating that my sister, Jessica Ghawi, had been shot while attending the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Denver, CO. I was able to contact the man that was with my sister, mutual friend Brent, who stated that they were in the theatre when an incendiary device was fired into the crowd and that shots rang out immediately afterwards. 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. At this time, I do not have confirmation that she is alive or dead. Brent has been transported with non-life threatening injuries to a local hospital. I am on the next flight out of San Antonio to Denver and have already contact Aurora PD, operating jurisdiction, as next of kin.
I will update this as more information becomes available to me.
0510: NBC news reporting 14 confirmed fatalities and 50 wounded
0630: Flying solo on SWA flight 218 to Denver
0745 (local): In Denver and on the way to Aurora to see Brent in the hospital.
0830 (local): Arrived at Children’s Hospital of Denver to see the man who was with Jessica. Difficult time obtaining access to see him due to heightened security. He is stable after being shot at least once. He was able to relay what happened in the theatre.
1000 (local): I again want to thank everyone who has reached out to myself and my family. A few people I want to thank specifically: Rackspace, Vid Luther, Nan Palmero, City of Seguin Fire Department (for going to visit my mother and bringing her breakfast) and Peter Burns for acting as our family liaison.
1015 (local): This is what I have been told by Brent, who was with my sister at the time of the shooting. This will be the only statement that I will make on the events surrounding what appears to be her death.
Jessica and Brent were seated in the middle portion of the theatre when a device was thrown into the theatre that produced a “hissing” sound. The theatre than began to fill with smoke which is when patrons began to move from their seats. At that time, shots were fired. Brent and Jessica immediately dropped to a prone position for cover. Jessica advised multiple times for someone to call 911, which Brent immediately attempted to do. Brent then heard Jessica scream and noticed that she was struck by a round in the leg. Brent, began holding pressure on the wound and attempted to calm Jessica. It was at this time that Brent took a round to his lower extremities. While still administering first aid, Brent noticed that Jessica was no longer screaming. He advised that he looked over to Jessica and saw what appeared to be an entry wound to her head. He further stated that Jessica presented with agonal respirations. Brent then took what may have been his only chance to escape the line of fire and exited the structure where he then contacted my mother. Brent’s actions are nothing but heroic. The veracity of any other statements not issued by myself or Peter Burns should be questioned.
1055 (local): I have yet to be contacted directly from Aurora PD. After getting the runaround from APD, I was able to speak with someone within the department who states that the deceased have yet to been identified.
1118 (local): Have established a media “base camp” to act as a family PIO with Peter Burns in LoDo.
1227 (local): Have received word from the coroner’s office that Jessica has indeed died of injuries sustained in the shooting.
1315 (local): Established a temporary base camp at the local NBC affiliate with Peter Burns. Going to continue to give interviews until the victims names are remembered and not the coward of a shooter.
1405 (local): For those of you who may not know, my sister was also involved in the mass shooting at the Eaton Centre mall a little over one month ago. Her thoughts on the incident can be read here: http://jessicaredfield.wordpress.com/2012/06/05/late-night-thoughts-on-the-eaton-center-shooting/
Also, to show what type of person she was: http://youtu.be/SY8l1gZTPoA
1516 (local): What will you remember most of Jessica?
1600 (local): Heading to Aurora for the first time.
1616 (local): Coroner now has me listed as next of kin. Official cause of death is severe cranial cerebral trauma caused by a penetrating GSW to the head. Essentially, she died quickly and painlessly. Now we will begin the process of bringing her home to celebrate her life.
1515 (local): Will be on CNN with Anderson Cooper at 6pm mountain, 7 central.
2000 (local): The outpouring of support for my family is overwhelming. Hearing from people from all of the world. My family thanks you. Let us continue to focus on the victims.
2005 (local): Been doing interviews all day in the name of my sister and all the other victims. Going to interview with Greta Van (with Peter Burns) followed by Erin Burnett.
2200 (local): Peter and I will not be fielding anymore interviews tonight. Thank you so much to ABC, NBC, CNN, FOX, and CBS. Special thanks to Anderson Cooper. You have all brought Jessica’s story forward. We can only hope that we can do the same with the rest of the victims.
2208 (local): Recevivng word that another victim has been identified. Alex Sullivan died of wounds sustained in the shooting. It was his 27th birthday. It appears that he leaves behind his wife and extended family. I look forward to hearing about his life through his family and friends. Let us remember his name.
Day Two 7/21
1015 (local): Meeting with a funeral home at 11 to discuss bringing Jessica home.
1025 (local): We will be declining all interviews today in hopes that the media will grant the other victims of this tragedy the same amount of airtime that they gave Jessica yesterday. Let us learn the stories, and celebrate the lives, of Alex Sullivan (27), Micayla Medek (23), Veronica Moser (6), Matt McQuinn (27), Jesse Childress (29), John Larimer (27), John Blunk, AJ Boik, Alexander Teves, and Rebecca Ann Wingo.
1215 (local): Jessica will be released from the coroner’s office on Monday. We are having her cremated in Denver and will fly her remains back home. I am expecting this to be competed by Wednesday.
1330 (local): Just spoke with Brent’s mother. She states that Brent is currently in surgery and has been doing well with the exception of a low grade fever.
1420 (local): I can now confirm that we will be holding a memorial service for my sister in San Antonio on the 28th.
1700 (local): We now know all of the names of those killed. They are as follows:
Jessica Ghawi, 24
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse E. Childress, 29
Gordon W. Cowden, 51
John Blunk, 26
AJ Boik, 18
John Larimer USN, 27
Matt McQuinn, 27
Micayla Medek, 23
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6
Alex Sullivan, 27
Alexander Teves, 24
Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32
My thoughts are with you, your families, and the lives that you have all touched. I also want to thank the physicians at the area hospitals who are still caring for critically injured.
1925 (local): Spoke with Brent’s mom who states that he is out of surgery and doing well. He has additional surgeries scheduled in the upcoming week. He is staying strong and fighting on.
Day Three 7/22
1045 (local): Read the victim’s stories. Learn their names and celebrate their lives here.
1245 (local): Meeting with the other families. Their strength as individuals and a whole is amazing. The world has lost 12 amazing individuals.
1400 (local): I have had the honor to meet all 11 families. Their courage and strength, both individually and as a whole, can not be expressed in words.
1630 (local): I have met with White House Press Secretary Carney and now have his assurance that he will not speak the suspect’s name in the press. Keeping the focus on the victims.
1800 (local): Met with President Obama after he had sat down with the rest of the families. Not only was he there to express his condolences to them, but he wanted to learn who they were. He has offered any and all services to the families. President Obama sat down with Peter, Jacob, and I and immediately began talking about Jessica. He already knew about her and we made sure that he left knowing more. He has also provided assurance that he will not.mention the suspect’s name in the press.
1815 (local) Chief Mackey (another incredible man) with APD has provided us with an escort to see Brent at a neighboring hospital. Thank you APD.
1830 (local): Have met with Brent and his parents again. Brent was able to take his first steps since the shooting today. He is doing well and is slowly recovering. More surgeries are scheduled for this week. Hoping to have him transferred to San Antonio by the end of the week. If you would like to assist with offsetting his medical expenses, you can do so here.
Day Four 7/23
1320 (local): Jessica’s memorial service will be held this Saturday at Community Bible Church in San Antonio. Memorial starts at 10am. 2477 North Loop 1604 East, San Antonio TX 78232
We have now established the Official Jessica Redfield Sports Journalism Scholarship Fund. If you would like to donate, you can do so here. Please also remember that my sister is just one of eleven other victims.
Day Five 7/24
0800 (local): I met with my brothers and sisters of the Aurora Fire Department today. Specifically the first in units, Station #8 and Station #2. These men and women are heroes and are directly responsible for the proliferation of life within that theatre. Let us also remember that these brave men and women have taken part in a life altering event. I hope the community will continue to support them.