(AURORA, Colo.) — A young woman who was shot and killed while attending the Aurora, Colo., midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises had narrowly escaped a separate shoot-out in a Toronto mall last month.
Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster and former hockey blogger for BustedCoverage.com, was killed when John Holmes, 24, burst into the movie theater early Friday morning and methodically began shooting patrons, killing at least 12 and injuring at least 50.
Ghawi, who had moved from San Antonio to Denver, had been tweeting about seeing the new movie just before it began.
Six weeks ago, Ghawi had blogged about nearly escaping the June 2 shoot-out at a Toronto mall that left one dead and seven injured. Blogging as Jessica Redfield, Ghawi described how she had left the food court just minutes before a shooter gunned down two men.
“I found out after seeing a map of the scene that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot where I just ate, and opened fire in the food court full of people. … I would’ve been in the same place where one of the victims was found,” Ghawi wrote.
After graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Ghawi had been looking for a job in broadcasting. After interning with Mike Taylor, a sportscaster at San Antonio’s Ticket 760, she got a new job in Denver, primarily covering hockey.
Taylor confirmed to ABC News that Ghawi had been in Toronto’s Eaton Center mall at the time of the June 2 shootings.
“She was in Toronto, I think she was just there for vacation. She was having lunch in a mall in Toronto and there was a shooting in the food court where she was. She had just left,” Taylor said.
On her blog, Ghawi described the harrowing experience of seeing the victims of gun violence.
“I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end, when or where we will breathe our last breath. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening,” she wrote.
Ghawi’s brother, Jordan Ghawi, a firefighter in San Antonio, is now en route to Denver. Ghawi blogged that he’d received a “hysterical and almost unintelligible phone call” from his mother telling him Jessica had been shot while at the midnight show of The Dark Night Rises.
He also blogged that Brent Lowak, who’d accompanied Jessica to the screening, told him he “took two rounds and that [Jessica] took one round followed by an additional round, which appeared to strike her in the head.”
Ghawi tweeted: “It appears that my sister has been fatally wounded in a mass shooting at a movie premiere in Denver. Well this could easily be the worst night of my life.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Matt McFarland, CNN
Aaron Smith, CNN
Stephan Rockefeller & Nate Eaton, EastIdahoNews.com
John Newsome, CNN