Aurora Batman shooting: A night out with friends and family turns to horror

THE YOUNGEST was just six years old. The oldest was celebrating his 27th birthday.

As the names – and stories – of the 12 victims killed in the Colorado shooting massacre were slowly released yesterday, a picture of a cinema filled with young Americans on a fun night out with friends, family and loved ones started to emerge.

Six-year-old Veronica Moser was killed outright, while her mother, Ashley Moser, 25, is in critical condition with a bullet in the throat and in the abdomen.

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Alex Sullivan meanwhile, was celebrating his 27th birthday, and looking forward to marking his wedding anniversary with a party today. He even tweeted: “Oh man one hour till the movie and its going to be the best BIRTHDAY ever.” It was his last tweet. The bartender was killed at point blank range when the gunman opened fire. His family were informed of his death on Friday night.

Matt McQuinn, 27, who had gone to the movie with his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, and her brother, Nick, threw himself in front of his partner in an attempt to shield her from the gunfire. It was to be his last living act. His girlfriend, 26, who he met when they both worked at US chainstore Target, survived with a gunshot wound to the leg, and is in fair condition after undergoing surgery.

Jessica Ghawi, meanwhile, a 24-year-old aspiring sports­caster, had narrowly survived a shooting at a food court in Toronto’s Eaton Centre in June and written a poignant blog in which she said she would hold life more preciously as a result. She sustained fatal wounds to the leg and the head. Her brother, Jordan live blogged developments on Friday as he struggled to establish whether his sister was alive or dead.

Yesterday, he used his blog and Twitter account to update what he knew about what happened in the cinema. Jordan Ghawi said on his website that a man who was with his sister at the film screening described the chaos, saying he and Jessica Ghawi dropped to take cover when the gunman first started shooting. Jessica Ghawi was shot in the leg, her brother wrote. He said he was told by the man that his sister that she began screaming when she was shot. Her friend tried to calm her and stop the bleeding but was then shot himself. He continued attending to Jessica Ghawi’s wounds before he realised she had stopped screaming and succumbed to her injuries.

Meanwhile Alex Teves, 24, whose friend – identified only as Caitlyn – had been plaintively tweeting that she could not find him after the shooting had broken out in the cinema, was also confirmed dead yesterday, as was sailor John Larimer, whose parents released a statement that US Navy officials notified them that their 27-year-old son was one of the 12 killed.

The family said that Larimer’s brother was working with the navy to take his body home to Crystal Lake, Illinois.

Micayla Medek, 23, was also among the dead.

Her father’s cousin, Anita Busch, said the news, while heartbreaking, was a relief for the family after an agonising day of waiting for news. “I hope this evil act… doesn’t shake people’s faith in God,” she said.

Other victims named yesterday included 18-year-old AJ Boik, and Jesse Childress, a member of the US Air Force Reserve.