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Colorado rampage kills woman who narrowly escaped Toronto shooting

posted 20 Jul 2012, 15:01 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 20 Jul 2012, 15:01 ]

A young woman who barely escaped the Toronto mall shooting a month ago, becomes one of the victims from Colorado's movie shooting rampage in Aurora.

AURORA, COLORADO, UNITED STATES  (JULY 20, 2012) (NBC) - Among the victims of Friday's mass shooting at a midnight screening of the latest "Batman" movie was an aspiring sportscaster from Texas who missed by minutes being on the scene of another shooting rampage just a month before in Toronto.

Jessica Ghawi, who used the name Jessica Redfield, was killed Friday (July 20) when a gunman opened fire in a crowded theater in Aurora, Colorado, during the opening moments of the "The Dark Knight Rises," her mother confirmed to Reuters by phone.

Redfield had been commenting on Twitter from the theater moments before the shooting broke out.

"Of course we're seeing Dark Knight, red-headed Texan spitfires, people should never argue with me," she wrote under the Twitter handle @JessicaRedfield. "Maybe I should get in on those NHL talks."

Later she tweeted, "the movie doesn't start for 20 minutes." That was her final tweet.

Just a month before on a visit to Toronto, Ghawi, who was in her mid-20s, narrowly missed being on the scene of another shooting rampage. On June 2, Ghawi left the food court of Toronto's Eaton Centre less than five minutes before a man opened fire at the downtown mall.

"I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders' faces," she wrote in a blog post titled "Late Night Thoughts on the Eaton Center Shooting" at the site

"I saw the victims of a senseless crime," Ghawi wrote. "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."

In that incident, one man was pronounced dead at the scene, another later died from his wounds, and several others were wounded. Toronto police said it appeared the first victim was targeted in the gang-related shooting.

Her brother, Jordan Ghawi, a Texas firefighter and paramedic, said that he received a "hysterical" call from his mother.

"It is never a good thing when you get a phone call at one in the morning. That is what happened with me and I had a phone call from my mother, picked it up, knew something was immediately wrong. And before she even started talking I could hear the hysterics and all I could get out of it was my sister had been shot," he said.

He continued to explain what happened as Ghawi and a friend, Brent, were sitting in the middle of the theater. Brent then called Jordan:

"He told me he was inside the theater when some sort of incendiary or diversion device was deployed, into the crowd at which point the crowd began to rise out of their seats. Shots were fired. They dropped to the ground. My sister called 911, he attempted to call 911. My sister was struck by a round on the leg. He immediately, with his EMT training, began to put pressure to that wound, to help stabilize her and she was screaming, and as he was on the ground, he took a round to the leg. And he realized my sister was no longer screaming. And he looked over and it appeared she had had a fatal shot directed to her head.

 At which point he found a way to exit the building, I believe while the shooter was still actively engaging the crowd and was able to contact my mother," Jordan said.

He called Brent a hero and said he was recovering well in hospital.

The suspect has been identified by police as James Eagan Holmes, 24 -- due to make his first court appearance on Monday.