(AURORA, Colo.) — Of the 12 people killed in the Aurora, Colo., theater shooting, four of them were men who made the ultimate sacrifice to protect their girlfriends. Now, each of these women are struggling to come to terms with both their grief and their gratitude.
Alexander Teves, 24, attended the midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises with his girlfriend Amanda Lindgren, 24, and another friend.
When suspected gunman James Holmes opened fire in the sold out theater, Teves immediately lunged to block Lindgren from the gunfire.
“I was really, really confused at first about what was going on, so confused,” Lindgren told ABC News. “But, it’s like Alex didn’t even hesitate. Because I sat there for a minute, not knowing what was going on, and he held me down and he covered my head and he said, ‘Shh. Stay down. It’s ok. Shh just stay down.’ So I did.”
Teves blocked the bullets from Lindgren but he was shot and killed. She was not hit.
“He was my angel that night, but he was my angel every day I knew him,” Lindgren said. “I’m broken.”
Lindgren reflected on the profoundly close relationship she had with Teves, saying that the couple would not go an hour in the day “without missing each other terribly.”
“My other half was just ripped apart from me and so for me it’s still unreal,” she said. “I can’t picture my life without him. How do you? When someone loves you that much and you love somebody that much…how do you believe that this is real? And of all places. We were in that theater, that specific room. We were just supposed to watch a movie.”
When asked if she thought Teves knew he was putting himself in danger for her, Lindgren said, “I know he did. He’d do anything for me. He always told me that, too. I just wish I could have protected him the same way he protected me.”
Elsewhere in theater nine, U.S. Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class John Larimer, 26, and his girlfriend Julia Vojtsek, 23, went through a similar situation; they were sitting in the middle of the theater when the shooting began.
“John immediately and instinctively covered me and brought me to the ground in order to protect me from any danger,” Vojtsek wrote in a statement. “Moments later, John knowingly shielded me from a spray of gunshots. It was then I believe John was hit with a bullet that would have very possibly struck me. I feel very strongly that I was saved by John and his ultimate kindness.”
The couple had known each other since they were 21 and 18 years old when they met working at a Chili’s in Illinois, where they are both from.
In addition to these two couples, Matthew McQuinn, 27, and Jon Blunk, 26, died saving their girlfriends in similar ways. Their girlfriends Samantha Yowler, 26, and Jansen Young, 21, did not respond to requests for comment.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Betsy Klein, CNN
Jennifer Graham, Deseret News
Dylan Byers Sara Murray and Kevin Liptak, CNN
Jackie Wattles and Amanda Barnett, CNN