Almost three years ago, James Holmes walked into a crowded Aurora movie theater just before a showing of "The Dark Knight Rises" and began firing a gun into the crowd. Twelve people died that day, ranging from 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan to 51-year-old Gordon Cowden.
Jonathan Blunk, 26
Blunk is remembered for protecting his girlfriend Jansen Young when gunshots erupted in the theater. He left behind two children, ages 4 and 2, in Reno, Nevada.
Alexander J. Boik, 18
Boik attended Aurora's Gateway High School and had been accepted into the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design before the shooting. Friends say that Boik was a goofball who was liked by everyone.
Jesse Childress, 29
Childress was an Air Force sergeant who put himself in front of a fellow service member when gunfire began. Munirih Gravelly told NBC Los Angeles that Childress saved her life. "I feel really sorry ... that he's gone," she said, "that none of us were able to at least hold his hand and look him in the eye while he passed."
Gordon Cowden, 51
Cowden took his 16-year-old and 17-year-old daughters to see the midnight showing of the "The Dark Knight Rises," reported the New York Daily News. Through the chaos and gunfire, Brooke Cowden heard her father shout, "I love you! I love you both!"
Jessica Ghawi, 24
Ghawi was a sports writer interning at Mile High Sports Radio. Nearly a month earlier, she narrowly avoided a shooting at a Toronto Mall. "Who would go into a mall full of thousands of innocent people and open fire? Is this really the world we live in?" she wrote on her blog.
John Larimer, 27
After the shooting, Julia Vojtsek stood outside her home and handed out a statement about her boyfriend John Larimer, reported the Chicago Tribune. Larimer "knowingly" shielded her from "a spray of gunshots" before he was killed, she wrote. Larimer also told one of his brothers that the best way to die would be saving someone's life.
Matt McQuinn, 27
McQuinn is also remembered for protecting his girlfriend from gunfire in the theater. The New York Daily News wrote that McQuinn's actions, along with Nick Yowler's actions, saved Samantha Yowler's life.
Micayla Medek, 23
Medek graduated from Hinkley High School in Aurora and worked at Subway as a "sandwich artist," according to her Facebook page. On the night of the shooting, friends told the Los Angeles Times that they tried to carry her out, but emergency personnel said to leave her inside.
Veronica Moser-Sullivan, 6
Five days before her death, blue-eyed little Moser-Sullivan was bragging about learning how to swim, her great-aunt Annie Dalton told the Denver Post. "She loved to dress up and read and was doing well at school," Dalton said, "She was beautiful and innocent."
Alex Sullivan, 27
Sullivan was known as a gentle giant, according to the Alex Sullivan Fund. He "always had a glowing smile," loved comic books and movies, and he made friends with everyone, says the page. Sullivan died just two days before his one-year anniversary to his wife, Cassandra, according to the New York Daily News.
Alexander C. Teves, 24
Teves had a master's degree in counseling from DU and was working on a doctorate in physical therapy before his death, reported the Denver Post. He died shielding his girlfriend Amanda Lindgren from the gunfire that broke out in the theater.
Rebecca Wingo, 31
Wingo was a devoted mother to two girls, who was remembered for her bubbly personality. She grew up in Texas, joined the Air Force, and became fluent in Mandarin Chinese before her death. Her mother said that she lived life "with abandon. "
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