SAN ANTONIO - A woman who recently moved from San Antonio to Denver was killed during the mass shooting at a Colorado theater Friday morning, KPRC Local 2's sister station, KSAT-TV, reported.
The parents of Jessica Ghawi confirmed the death over the phone with KSAT around 5 a.m.
"I'm sending my son to Denver to confirm what's happened," said Nick Ghawi, fearing that reports of her death are true. She was in a movie multiplex in the Denver suburb of Aurora when a gunman burst in and began shooting, leaving 12 people dead and 38 injured.
"She had a huge heart," said Sandy Phillips, Jessica Ghawi's mother. "Cared deeply for other people."
They said she moved to the Denver area about a year ago. Some of Ghawi's family members went to Colorado.
"The last thing she texted to me was, 'I'm so excited your trip here next week, and I need my momma."
Ghawi tweeted on Thursday that she was headed to see a midnight showing of "The Dark Knight Rises," the latest installment of the Batman series.
"Movie doesn't start for 20 minutes," she wrote in her last message.
"I'll never have her to hug again or to get a text message again or get a funny Facebook picture," Phillips said. "That's the hard part, knowing those are things that I'm never going to get to experience again."
Ghawi's friend and fellow movie-goer, Brent Lowek, 27, was shot by the gunman and recently emerged from surgery at a nearby medical facility, his stepfather, Dan Greene, said in an interview.
"It looks like he's going to be OK," Greene told CNN.
Lowak told his mother that he saw tear gas and then heard gunfire. He had originally planned to return to San Antonio on Saturday.
Ghawi was an aspiring sportscaster, friends said.
Nate Lundy, program director at the radio station in Denver where Ghawi interned said, "Jessica was a wonderful person with a beautiful soul. She was an aspiring sportscaster who had moved to Denver to pursue her dream and was well on her way. She interned here at The Fan, and as an avid hockey fan she was excited to cover the Colorado Avalanche on behalf of the station. She will be missed by anyone who had the chance to spend time with her and her infectious personality. My thoughts and prayers are with her family."
Ghawi also interned at the Ticket 760 and KABB-TV in San Antonio prior to moving to Colorado.
Ghawi's brother, Jordan, is blogging about the tragedy. He wrote on his blog Friday that his family had informed him that his sister was among the victims, taking two rounds, including one to the head. Read his blog at www.jordanghawi.com/blog.
This wasn't the first time that Ghawi had been involved in a shooting. In June, she narrowly escaped a shooting in a mall in Toronto. She blogged about the incident.
Ghawi had been visiting her boyfriend, a minor league hockey player, in Toronto when they narrowly escaped a deadly shooting in the city's main downtown mall.
"I can't get this odd feeling out of my chest," she wrote in a blog posted on June 5. "This empty, almost sickening feeling won't go away. I noticed this feeling when I was in the Eaton Center in Toronto just seconds before someone opened fire in the food court. An odd feeling which led me to go outside and unknowingly out of harm's way. It's hard for me to wrap my mind around how a weird feeling saved me from being in the middle of a deadly shooting."
She added that "gun crimes are fairly common where I grew up in Texas, but I never imagined I'd experience a violent crime first hand."
"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," she wrote. "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."
Ghawi said the incident reminded her that "every moment we have to live our life is a blessing."
"So often I have found myself taking it for granted. Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. Every second of every day is a gift. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given," she wrote.
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