Jul 19, 2013 9:12 PM by Jennifer Horbelt
AURORA, CO- It was one year ago that a gunman walked in to the Century 21 theater in Aurora and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 70 others.
The commemoration actually began two nights ago, with the Aurora community gathering for a prayer service at the Potter's House Church of Denver. More than 3,000 people, including victims, their families and first responders, were in attendance to show the strength and resiliency of this community. It was framed as a "service of prayer for peace".
The focus of this one year anniversary is not so much on the man accused in this violent act, but rather the 12 lives lost and the countless lives changed as a direct result of the violence. Among the victims:
Matt McQuinn. He shielded his girlfriend during the shooting.
Jesse Childress was an Air Force cyber-systems operator based at Buckley Air Force Base.
Alex Sullivan was celebrating his 27th birthday at the movie premier. The following Sunday would have been his first wedding anniversary.
Veronica Moser-Sullivan was the youngest person killed at just 6-years-old. Her mother Ashley was pregnant at the time. She miscarried and is paralyzed as a result of the shooting.
Alexander C. Teves was a 24-year-old from Phoenix, who earned a master's degree in counseling psychology in June from the University of Denver. Teves was with his girlfriend at the theater in Aurora when the shooting happened. His aunt, Barbara Slivinske, said: "He pushed her, his girlfriend down, so that she would be safe and he was getting to the ground but the shots got him before he got to the ground."
Jonathan Blunk was a 26-year-old father of two. He'd served three tours in the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea between 2004 and 2009. Blunk was also a certified firefighter and emergency medical technician. Blunk died in the shooting after throwing himself in front of friend Jansen Young, and saving her life. He told her to stay down.
Alexander Jonathan ("A.J.") Boik enjoyed baseball, music and making pottery, and dreamed of becoming an art teacher. He was a 2012 graduate of Gateway High School who had been accepted at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design, where he planned on attending classes in the fall.
Petty Officer Third Class John Thomas Larimer, of Crystal Lake, Ill., died from his injuries. Larimer was one of 12 people, including two active-duty service members, who died in the mass shooting.
Micayla Medek loved a night out with her friends, and she was with a group of about 10 of them at the "Dark Knight Rises" premiere. Medek, "Cayla" to family and friends, was 23 years old and juggling classes at Aurora Community College with a job at a Subway sandwich shop, said her aunt Jenny Zakovich.
Gordon Cowden had gone to the midnight movie premiere with his two teenage children. At 51-years-old, he was the oldest of the victims killed in the shooting. His children escaped unharmed.
Jessica Gawhi, 24-years-old, was an aspiring sportscaster, interning at 104.3 "the Fan". The month before her death, she escaped a mass shooting in Toronto by just minutes.
Rebecca Wingo, 32-years-old, joined the Air Force after high school. She was raising two daughters while putting herself back through school to become a social worker.