Woman from San Antonio among Colorado movie theater shooting victims

Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring broadcaster from San Antonio, was one of the victims in Friday's mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado
July 20, 2012 8:16:11 PM PDT
People are still trying to make sense of the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater. Twelve people are dead and another 59 are wounded, all at the hands of one gunman.

People in theater nine describe a man, dressed in black, wearing a gas mask -- just pointing at people and firing.

The massacre happened during a midnight showing of the new Batman movie. The suspect, 24-year-old James Holmes, was ready for battle. He was armed with four weapons, including an assault rifle.

One of the 12 victims is 24-year-old Jessica Ghawi -- a young woman from San Antonio, who went to Colorado with dreams of becoming a sportscaster.

And as these families grieved, they remembered Ghawi's positive outlook on life. She had been involved in another mass shooting last month.

After barely escaping gunshots in a Toronto mall, she wrote in her blog "I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing. So often I have found myself taking it all 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."

Ghawi's mother and stepfather are completely distraught. They spoke to their daughter right before she went into the movie. They said the last thing she had texted them was, "I miss my mama."

Inside their home, a mother and stepfather are learning more about what happened to their 24-year-old daughter.

Ghawi's stepfather says she moved to Colorado last year to study broadcast journalism.

Ghawi's best childhood friend, Brent Lowak, lives here in San Antonio, but he was visiting her in Colorado this week. The two friends went to see the midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.

Ghawi sent out an excited tweet, "MOVIE DOESN'T START FOR 20 MINUTES."

Her brother, Jordan, describes what happened next, after the gunman came into the theater:

"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 administrating first aid, Brent notice that Jessica was no longer screaming."

Ghawi was shot again -- this time in the head, according to her stepfather. He says Ghawi died in the theater and Lowak called them right away to let them know.

Lowak is still in the hospital recovering from his injuries.

"It must have been one of those bullets that fragmented because they found a fragment that went up to the shoulder so that means it went through his body, up to the shoulder and it missed the vitals, thank God, and so he's doing OK," said Larry Lowak, Brent's father.

Ghawi's brother is in Colorado. They do expect to hold a funeral for her in San Antonio but for now, they're just trying to get through the day.


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