Denver victim just missed Toronto Eaton Centre shooting
Jessica Ghawi wrote that she left Toronto mall moments before fatal June shooting
One of the 12 people reportedly killed in a mass shooting at a screening of the latest Batman movie in Denver was at the Eaton Centre in Toronto on June 2 moments before a gunman opened fire in the mall's busy food court.
Jessica Ghawi, also known as Jessica Redfield, was among those killed in the shooting spree late Thursday night, her parents told local media in her home state of Texas.
Ghawi tweeted from the movie theatre in Denver before the fatal attack, saying that the movie was to begin in 20 minutes.
Shortly after the movie began, a gunman entered the theatre and began firing into the crowd from the front of the room, killing 12 people and injuring at least 38 others, authorities said.
Jordan Ghawi, who identified himself as Jessica's brother, tweeted a short time later that Jessica had been critically wounded in the theatre.
"Well this could easily be the worst night of my life," he wrote. "It appears that my sister has been fatally wounded in a mass shooting at a movie premiere in Denver, CO."
He also wrote in a blog post, saying that it appeared his sister had been hit by two bullets and that one may have struck her in the head.
On a blog attributed to Jessica Ghawi, she described herself as an aspiring sports reporter who was born in Texas and was living in Colorado.
She had befriended Vancouver Canucks superfans the Green Men, who tweeted early Friday morning that their "hearts go out to the victims of the Colorado Shooting. We knew one of the victims. RIP @JessicaRedfield."
Close call at Eaton Centre
In early June, Jessica Ghawi had written a blog post about surviving the Eaton Centre shooting in Toronto, in which two people were killed and six others were injured.
She had been in the city visiting her boyfriend, Jay Meloff, who lives in Markham, just north of Toronto.
After buying dinner in the mall's food court at 6:20 p.m., Ghawi wrote that she felt "funny" and left the mall to get some fresh air.
"It was almost a panicky feeling that left my chest feeling like something was missing. A feeling that was overwhelming enough to lead me to head outside in the rain," she wrote.
"The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would’ve been in the midst of gunfire."
Barb Meloff, the mother of Ghawi's boyfriend, spoke of the coincidence.
"I said to my son today, 'It's like lightning striking twice.' I don't know what to make of it. Here was this young girl with a really promising future."
Jay Meloff, a hockey player who met Ghawi when she interviewed him for an assignment, told CBC News that her death leaves a "massive void."
"She was just a wonderful person, and her personality was more beautiful than she is," Meloff said. "She was perfect to me. She made everything better, made me want to be better, made people better, made experiences better."
Aspiring sports reporter
Ghawi had moved to Colorado from Texas to pursue a career in sports broadcasting.
"[She was] a young, very beautiful girl, very vivacious girl, from Texas who's actually very interested in hockey," Barb Meloff said. "So that tells you a lot about Jess right there."
A YouTube video from 2010 shows Ghawi as an intern with radio station Sports Talk San Antonio conducting her first interview with a professional athlete, hockey player Chris Summers.
Meloff said Ghawi was passionate about sports and was involved in charitable projects. She had been working in Colorado for the You Can Play Project, an organization founded earlier this year by Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Brian Burke.
"Our staff is despondent today over the loss of our intern Jessica Redfield," the group said in a tweet Friday morning. "We will miss her intelligence, kindness, and work ethic greatly."