By now you know what happened in Denver last night. Multiple deaths. One victim is a three-month-old baby. Another senseless tragedy perpetrated by a madman bent on taking as many lives as possible. The difference this morning is that one of our friends, and a former BC writer, was one of those killed. Jessica Ghawi (Redfield), 24, was an aspiring sportscaster, writer and a sports fanatic.
Ghawi was attending the premiere of the latest Batman movie with long-time friend Brent Lowak, of Bulverde. Lowak was shot at least once, his father confirmed.
Jessica’s last tweet was to Sporting News hockey writer Jesse Spector, “MOVIE DOESN’T START FOR 20 MINUTES(.)”
And that was it. At least 12 souls gone.
At approximately 0215 CST, I received an hysterical, and almost unintelligible, phone call from my mother stating that my sister, Jessica Ghawi, had been shot while attending the midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” in Denver, CO. I was able to contact the man that was with my sister, mutual friend Brent Lowak, who stated that they were in the theatre when an incendiary device was fired into the crowd and that shots rang out immediately afterwards. Brent further stated that he took two rounds and that my sister took one round followed by an additional round which appeared to strike her in the head.
Jessica had a writing stint with BC, working on hockey posts. It was your typical blog/Internet writing relationship. She understood the madness on this site and was willing to come on to learn the ropes and have fun writing about the sport she loved.
More than anything, Jessica just wanted to be involved. Soon there were calls on how to work through issues on WordPress and her throwing out post ideas. There were calls in the afternoon and calls in the evening. She would update me on where she was; Vancouver, Vegas, Avalanche games. It was the life all 20-somethings dream about.
Eventually, Jessica had moved on to other projects and was busy traveling.
[I Like My Hockey How I Like My Men - Jessica Redfield]
From when I asked her about the Redfield name.
On June 5, Jessica wrote on her personal blog about narrowly escaping a shooting at the Eaton Center mall in Toronto.
I can’t get this odd feeling out of my chest. 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.
I say all the time 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.
What can I really say?
Jessica was headed for big things in life. She could write, had a huge personality and possessed that Texan drive that was going to eventually pay off with a great career in hockey.
She leaves this life with lessons for all of us. Every day is a gift. Don’t take tomorrow for granted. Keep pushing and driving yourself.
Sounds so cliché until you lose someone to a senseless massacre.