Aurora victim laid to rest in San Antonio

July 28, 2012 8:26:46 PM PDT
The life of Jessica Ghawi was honored Saturday, just over a week after her tragic death in a Colorado movie theater.

Jessica was one of the 12 killed in the movie theater massacre in Aurora. The 24-year-old and a friend were at the theater to watch the midnight premiere of the newest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises."

At a service Saturday in her hometown of San Antonio, she was remembered for her energy and kindness.

It was a highly emotional day for the hundreds of family members, friends and complete strangers who gathered at Community Bible Church to honor Jessica.

"What we will not do here today is focus on how she left us," friend Peter Burns said. "We will focus instead on how she lived."

It was a celebration of life.

The church filled with tears, laughter at times, and most of all love.

"Let us not miss any opportunity to spend time with those who mean the most to us, to help those in need and pursue our dreams. This will be Jessica's legacy," relative Lila Ibrahim Liebat said.

The Texas native was described as a force to be reckoned with, silly, a jolt of lightning, and most of all clumsy.

With story after story, she was remembered.

"I actually saw someone trip yesterday, and that actually reminded me of Jessica, because we all know Jessica. Our little Jessica was a little clumsy," Burns said.

As an aspiring sports broadcaster, she moved to Denver to pursue her dreams.

Her very first interview played for the world to see. In it, she took a total of three tumbles in a matter of minutes.

There were also touching words from her boyfriend, professional hockey player Jay Meloff.

"We were looking forward to building our future. We had no idea where that was going to take us, but we were very, very excited to live it," Meloff said.

Jessica's brother, Jordan Ghawi, decided to share his thoughts during the last minutes of the service.

"If you're putting your dreams on hold, you stop that right now. You chase those dreams. You don't know how long you have here," he said.

Those closest to Jessica said they believe she will continue to chase those dreams up above.

"Don't forget to turn your mic on. Try not to fall on the ice, kids. We'll miss you, Jessi Red," friend J.C. Carpenter said.

Brent Lowak was the friend with Jessica when she was shot and killed. Some of his local friends updated us on his condition Saturday. They held a fundraiser for the 27-year-old at Saint Arnold's Brewery.

Lowak was seriously injured during the shooting. They say he's already undergone several surgeries. While the hospital treating him is covering his stay, Lowak still needs help paying for surgery and his ongoing therapy.

His friends say he is back home in Texas recovering, and he has posted a note on Facebook thanking everyone for their support.

Another victim of the mass shooting was buried Saturday in Ohio. Matt McQuinn, 27, died when he dived in front of his girlfriend to shield her from gunfire. He received three gunshot wounds.

Two other Texas natives shot to death in the movie massacre were laid to rest Friday.

Gordon Cowden, 51, took his two teens to see "The Dark Knight Rises" last Friday. He was the oldest of the 12 people killed. Neither of his children was injured. He was buried in Austin.

Veteran Rebecca Wingo, originally from East Texas, was also killed in Aurora. Her family held a private memorial service on Friday. Wingo was a former U.S. Air Force linguist and a mother of two. The 32-year-old was described as having a "bubbly" personality.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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