A young woman who was shot and killed while attending the Aurora, Colo., midnight screening of "The Dark Knight Rises" had narrowly escaped a separate shoot-out in a Toronto mall last month.
Jessica Ghawi, an aspiring sportscaster, was killed when 24-year-old James Holmes burst into the movie house early this morning and methodically began shooting patrons, killing at least 12 and injuring at least 50.
Ghawi, who had recently moved from San Antonio, Texas, to Denver, had narrowly escaped a June 2 shoout-out at a Toronto food court that killed one person.
Ghawi attended the screening of the movie with her friend, Brent Lowak, and had been tweeting about the movie minutes before it began.
Lowak said he and Jessica were sitting in the middle of the theater when it filled with smoke from a device that was thrown into the crowd, according to an account of the shooting posted by Ghawi's brother, Jordan Ghawi, on his blog.
The friends dropped to a prone position to take cover from the spray of bullets.
"Brent then heard Jessica scream and noticed that she was struck by a round in the leg. Brent began holding pressure on the wound and attempted to calm Jessica. It was at this time that Brent took a round to his lower extremities. While still administering first aid, Brent noticed that Jessica was no longer screaming," Jordan Ghawi wrote.
Lowak "took what may have been his only chance to escape the line of fire" and exited the theater. Once safe, he contacted Ghawi's mother.
Six weeks ago, when the young sports writer had just missed getting caught in the Toronto food court shoot-out, she reflected on how lucky she was and how fragile life is in a blog post about the attack.
"I found out after seeing a map of the scene that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot where I just ate, and opened fire in the food court full of people. ... I would've been in the same place where one of the victims was found," Ghawi wrote.
After graduating from the University of Texas at San Antonio, Ghawi had been looking for a job in broadcasting. After interning with Mike Taylor, a sportscaster at San Antonio's Ticket 760, she got a new job in Denver, primarily covering hockey.
Taylor confirmed to ABC News that Ghawi had been in Toronto's Eaton Center mall at the time of the June 2 shootings.
"She was in Toronto, I think she was just there for vacation. She was having lunch in a mall in Toronto and there was a shooting in the food court where she was. She had just left," Taylor said.
On her blog, Ghawi described the harrowing experience of seeing the victims of gun violence.
"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. For one man, it was in the middle of a busy food court on a Saturday evening," she wrote.
Ghawi's brother, a firefighter in San Antonio, arrived in Denver this morning. Ghawi blogged that he'd received a "hysterical and almost unintelligible phone call" from his mother telling him Jessica had been shot while at the midnight show of "The Dark Night Rises."
Ghawi tweeted: "It appears that my sister has been fatally wounded in a mass shooting at a movie premiere in Denver. Well this could easily be the worst night of my life."Also Read