One of the victims killed in the Aurora theater shootings was a sportswriter and television hopeful named Jessica Ghawi. Ghawi, who went by Jessica Redfield in her journalism as an homage to her grandmother, was also present at the Eaton Center mall shooting in Toronto, about which she wrote this blog post — the final addition to her personal site before last night. (She described herself: “I specialize in sports media and snark. Not your typical sarcastic feisty redhead attempting to perfect the trifecta of class, sass, and crass. Yankee born, Texas raised, Colorado blooming.”)
I found out after seeing a map of the scene, that minutes later a man was standing in the same spot I just ate at and opened fire in the food court full of people. Had I had sushi, I would’ve been in the same place where one of the victims was found.
My receipt shows my purchase was made at 6:20 pm. After that purchase I said I felt funny. It wasn’t the kind of funny you feel after spending money you know you shouldn’t have spent. 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 to get fresh air instead of continuing back into the food court to go shopping at SportChek. The gunshots rung out at 6:23. Had I not gone outside, I would’ve been in the midst of gunfire. …
That’s when it really hit me. I felt nauseas. Who would go into a mall full of thousands of innocent people and open fire? Is this really the world we live in?
Ghawi, originally from San Antonio, had recently moved to Colorado to pursue her dreams of being a sportscaster. (She adopted the persona of “Pucktress” for her work at the site Busted Coverage.) Before the shooting, her last tweets were about going to see the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight.
After her death, there’s been a profound outpouring of support and admiration for Redfield from other sportswriters on Twitter.
And Jesse Spector, a friend of Jessica’s and the recipient of her last tweet, just wrote a touching remembrance for the Sporting News.
Jessica Redfield was going to be a sportscaster, and she was going to be a good one.