Jessica Ghawi, one of 12 people killed in the shooting at a Colorado movie theater after midnight on Friday, witnessed a deadly shooting a month and a half before in Toronto.
Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster who wrote under the name Jessica Redfield, wrote a post on her personal blog June 5, describing the scene.
She had been eating in the food court at a Toronto mall just minutes before a gunman opened fire, killing two people and wounding others.
“My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm […] The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would’ve been in the midst of gunfire,” Ghawi wrote.
She then described her feelings of panic, as well as what happened outside:
“Another stretcher came rushing out of the mall. I saw a man on a stretcher, the blanket underneath him spotted with blood. Multiple gunshot holes in his chest, side, and neck were visible. It’s not like in the movies when you see someone shot and they’re bleeding continuously from the wound. There was no blood flowing from the wounds, I could only see the holes.”
In a true twist of fate, it was a midnight showing of one such movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” that would serve as the setting for her final moments on earth.
Ghawi, who blogged about hockey for sports website Busted Coverage as “The Pucktress,” was tweeting from the theater.
“Of course we’re seeing Dark Knight. Redheaded Texan spitfire, people should never argue with me. Maybe I should get in on those NHL talks ... ” she wrote at one point.
Her brother, firefighter Jordan Ghawi, later took to Twitter to express his sadness, and updated a blog with any news of what happened.
The shooting on Thursday, at the Century 16 in Aurora, Colo., has already mobilized national news organizations to cover the shooting incessantly, and among the victims, Ghawi has been a particular focus.
Jesse Spector, a reporter for the Sporting News, has written a tribute that opens: “Jessica Redfield was going to be a sportscaster, and she was going to be a good one. She was sharp, funny, enthusiastic and had the kind of passion for sports and journalism that makes people succeed.”
Peter Burns, a former colleague, told CNN Ghawi was a “brave, brave soul.”
The Denver Post's Adrian Dater spoke with Ghawi the day before about possible internships, advising her on her future career. She was already interning at a local radio station.
“I literally am sick to my stomach as I write this," Dater wrote, "trembling a little at the keyboard and in total shock."