AURORA, Colo. — Ashley Moser drifted in and out of consciousness in the ICU, a bullet lodged in her throat and a gunshot wound to her abdomen. In her waking moments, she called for her 6-year-old daughter Veronica.
Nobody had the heart to tell the 25-year-old mother that Veronica was already dead, the youngest victim killed at a Colorado movie theater in one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history.
“All she’s asking about, of course, is her daughter,” said Annie Dalton, who is Ashley Moser’s aunt.
Dalton said Veronica was “a vibrant 6-year-old. She was excited, she’d just learned how to swim. She was a great little girl, excited about life — she should be at 6 years old.”
The little girl was among those who died when a gunman barged into a crowded theater in a Denver suburb, set off gas canisters and opened fire, killing 12 people and wounding 58 others.
Colorado authorities Saturday released the names of the victims killed in the rampage. There were eight men, three women and Veronica Moser-Sullivan, the youngest slain. Gordon Cowden was the oldest. He was 51. All died of gunshot wounds, according to the release by the Arapahoe County coroner’s office.
One of the 12, Matthew McQuinn, has been tentatively identified and is awaiting final identification, though his family’s attorney confirmed to The Associated Press that McQuinn was among those killed.
Rob Scott of Dayton, Ohio, said McQuinn died after diving in front of his girlfriend and her older brother to shield them from the gunfire.
His girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, was in fair condition after being shot in the knee. Her brother, Nick Yowler, was not injured.
The couple had moved to Colorado from Ohio last fall, Scott said.
For Alex Sullivan, it was to be a weekend of fun: He planned to ring in his 27th birthday with friends at the special midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” and then celebrate his first wedding anniversary Sunday.
Late Friday, Sullivan’s family confirmed that police told them he was among those killed.
“He was a very, very good young man,” said Sullivan’s uncle, Joe Loewenguth. “He always had a smile, always made you laugh. He had a little bit of comic in him. Witty, smart. He was loving, had a big heart.”
Micayla Medek, 23, also was killed.
Her father’s cousin, Anita Busch, told the Associated Press that the news, while heartbreaking, was a relief for the family after an agonizing day.
“You can’t go that long without knowing,” she said. “I hope this evil act … doesn’t shake people’s faith in God.”
Navy cryptologist John Larimer went to the theater with three other sailors from nearby Buckley Air Force Base, Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski said. Larimer was shot and killed, and Jakuboski said losing Larimer felt like losing “one of my sons.”
“Losing a sailor, whether it’s in combat or whether it’s in a horrific domestic situation like this, it’s hard. It’s tough,” he said.
Larimer’s family said his brother is working with the Navy to take his body home to Crystal Lake, Ill.
An Air Force reservist who worked at Buckley also was killed in the rampage. Sgt. Jesse Childress, 29, was a cyber-systems operator from Thornton, Colo., said Air Force Capt. Andrew Williams.
Williams described Childress as knowledgeable, experienced and respectful. He says Childress was athletic and played in a kickball and volleyball tournament on base. “He was always our star,” Williams said.
A vigil was to be held Saturday night for Alexander J. Boik of Aurora. His family issued a statement saying that he was loved by all that knew him and was dating “a beautiful young lady” who was with him at the theater and survived.
“We want to try and focus on the beautiful lives that were ended and not the evil that is responsible,” the family said.
The family of Cowden, another Aurora resident, didn’t want to speak to the press Saturday afternoon.
After graduating from high school in Reno, Nev., victim Jonathan Blunk, 26, of Aurora, Colo., served in the Navy between 2004 and 2009 and most recently worked at a hardware store, according to close friend James Gill of Brighton, Colo.
Blunk had plans to re-enlist with a goal of becoming a Navy SEAL, said Gill, who lived with Blunk several years in the Navy and later in Aurora.
Gill described his friend as an avid outdoorsman and gun rights advocate.
“Pretty much every weapon the guy in the theater used he owned,” Gill said. “If you asked if he was still alive, he would have said his only regret is he didn’t have his sidearm with him and he couldn’t do anything to stop him.”
Victim Rebecca Ann Wingo, 32, had started a job several months ago as a customer relations representative at a mobile medical imaging company.
Shannon Dominguez, who worked with Wingo on weekends, said she was friendly with everyone and always seemed to be in a good mood.
“I didn’t really know her well but she had a really bubbly personality,” Dominguez said. “She was a pretty happy person. She just never really seemed … like with work, she never got irritated. She was pretty happy to be here.”
Alexander C. Teves, 24, graduated in June from the University of Denver with a master’s degree in counseling psychology, the school said.
The university identified Teves’ hometown as Phoenix. School officials said they had no other information immediately available.
An aspiring sports reporter who recently wrote a blog post about surviving a Toronto shooting was killed, the woman’s brother said.
The death of Jessica Ghawi, who was also known as Jessica Redfield, was a “complete and utter shock,” said her brother, Jordan Ghawi.
Jessica Ghawi, 24, moved to Denver from Texas about a year ago and friends and colleagues described her as outgoing, smart and witty.
Ghawi blogged at length about surviving the Eaton Centre mall shooting in Toronto that killed two people and sent several others to the hospital.
Jessica Ghawi wrote of the Toronto shooting: “I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. 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.”