The Names From Aurora That Truly Matter

By  · Published on July 23rd, 2012

The police already released the name of the suspect they have in custody for opening fire in a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises on Friday, but the names that truly deserve attention are now out.

Thanks to CBS Denver, a full list of those killed in the shooting gives us an idea of who they were.

They include two active duty military personnel, a redheaded spitfire, a true Texas gentleman, and a 6-year-old girl who had just learned how to swim.

Jon T. Blunk, 26

Enlisted in the Navy, he served in the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea over three tours and was planning to re-enlist in order to become a Navy SEAL. He was also a certified firefighter and medical technician. He was shot and killed after putting his body in front of friend Jansen Young and telling her to get down. She survived the attack.

Alexander J. Boik, 18

A high school baseball player and orchestra member who tried to bring back the mullet. He was headed to Rocky Mountain College of Art in the fall and planned on becoming an art teacher.

Jesse E. Childress, 29

An Air Force cyber-systems operator who is remembered by colleagues as respectful and always positive.

Gordon W. Cowden, 51

Described as a “true Texas gentleman” by his family, he was at the screening as a chaperone for his two teenage children. They were unharmed.

Jessica N. Ghawi, 24

The young sports reporter whose Twitter feed and blog have fascinated over the past few days, especially her account of escaping a similar shooting in Canada. She went by Redfield professionally and interned with Mile High Sports Radio in Denver.

John T. Larimer, 27

A member of the Navy who had joined just over a year ago. He was a cryptologic technician.

Matthew R. McQuinn, 27

McQuinn had moved to Aurora last fall with girlfriend Samantha Yowler. He died after shielding her and her older brother from the shooter. Yowler is still recovering from being shot in the knee; her brother Nick wasn’t hurt.

Micayla C. Medek, 23

A student at Aurora Community College with a job at a Subway, she was a huge Green Bay Packers fan who was described as “a very loving person” by her family.

Alex M. Sullivan, 26

Celebrating his birthday and 1st wedding anniversary at the screening, he was a big comic book geek and loved movies so much that he worked in theaters just to see them.

Veronica Moser Sullivan, 6

The youngest of the victims who had just learned how to swim. Her mother Ashley is still hospitalized with gun shots to the neck and abdomen.

Alexander C. Teves, 24

Trying to become a psychiatrist, he earned his Masters in counseling psychology this June from the University of Denver. His grandfather said Alexander was known for making friends quickly.

Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32

Wingo was described by a co-worker as always being in a good mood, having a bubbly personality and friendly with everyone.

There are also, of course, dozens more recovering in hospitals and dozens more who helped get people out of harm’s way, including law enforcement officials of every suit. There are also many who have donated to funds for the victims’ families.

It might seem like this kind of information doesn’t belong on a movie website – that the location of the attack was ancillary. Then again, it might be that simply by choosing that space and that particular collective experience that it’s affected the way we view the safety and escapism of the cinema.

Either way, I think we can all agree that their names (and the names of the others who acted out of courage that day) deserve every drop of ink and every byte of digital space that anyone can give, especially if it means not giving it to the killer.

You can read more about the victims and see their photos here.

You can get information on donating to the victims’ families here.

Movie stuff at VanityFair, Thrillist, IndieWire, Film School Rejects, and The Broken Projector Podcast@brokenprojector | Writing short stories at Adventitious.