- (Photo: REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton)
Mourners remembered three of the victims of a mass shooting in Colorado as their funerals were held Saturday, more than a week after the incident at an Aurora theater killed 12 people and injured 58 others.
Mourners on Saturday morning packed the Maiden Lane Church of God in Springfield, Ohio, for the funeral of Matt McQuinn, who saved his girlfriend Samantha Yowler by taking three bullets aimed at her.
Yowler came to the funeral on crutches, and wept quietly during the funeral.
Pastor Herb Shaffer, the victim's uncle, told the mourners that McQuinn had been a gift to his family since he was born and that his actions during the shooting incident showed his selflessness. "In moments of crisis, true character comes out," The Associated Press quoted him as saying. "His immediate response was to protect the woman he loved."
The same morning, friends and relatives of 24-year-old aspiring sportscaster Jessica Ghawi got together in San Antonio, Texas, for her funeral.
"If this coward could have done this with this much hate, imagine what we can do with this much love," Ghawi's brother was quoted as telling mourners.
"What we will not do today is focus on how she left us," said a victim's friend from Colorado, Peter Burns, who was reading a statement from Ghawi's mother, Sandy. "Jess was a force to be reckoned with. She was a jolt of lightning. A whirlwind. A Labrador puppy running clumsily with innocent joy."
Ghawi's boyfriend, Jay Meloff, was also at the funeral. He remembered her not only as "a tough, redheaded spitfire," as others described her, but also as "a beautiful, warm-hearted and passionate woman with a capacity for love. ... She was as mushy as they come."
The third funeral on Saturday was held for Navy Intelligence Officer John Larimer in Crystal Lake, Ill., according to Chicago Sun-Times.
Members of the Illinois Old Guard, the Warriors' Watch Riders and the Illinois Patriot Guard escorted hearses from O'Hare International Airport to Davenport Family Funeral Home.
More victims' funerals are set for next week.
The suspect, James Eagan Holmes, used a military-style semi-automatic rifle, a shotgun and a pistol to open fire on the unsuspecting theatergoers who were watching the screening of the latest Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises," at Century Aurora 16 theater on the early morning of July 20. He said he was mimicking Batman's arch-enemy, the Joker.
Holmes, a graduate from the University of California, Riverside, was a brilliant neuroscience student. His mother Arlene is a nurse and his father Robert a software company manager. He enrolled in a neuroscience Ph.D. program at the University of Colorado-Denver last year but quit in June.
Holmes was arrested soon after the shooting incident, and is facing a trial.