Funerals held for 3 Colo. shooting victims

advertisement | advertise on newsday

SPRINGFIELD, Ohio -- A man who saved his girlfriend's life at the Colorado movie shooting was remembered for his selfless sacrifice yesterday, while an aspiring sportscaster was praised for her boundless energy and an Air Force reservist as a good friend.

The girlfriend who Matt McQuinn saved by taking three bullets aimed at her wept as pastors spoke of the senselessness of the shooting spree at the suburban Denver theater where 12 people were killed more than a week ago.

Mourners packed a church in this western Ohio town where McQuinn came from, while family and friends gathered in San Antonio on the same day to remember Jessica Ghawi and a private funeral service was held at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., for Staff Sgt. Jesse Childress. More funerals are set for next week.

When gunfire broke out in the Aurora theater, McQuinn, 27, dove in front of his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, and was shot three times.

Yowler, who was shot in the knee, arrived at McQuinn's funeral on crutches yesterday and wept quietly with his parents and other family during the funeral.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Mourners at Ghawi's funeral also touched briefly on the massacre.

"If this coward could have done this with this much hate, imagine what we can do with this much love," her brother said at Community Bible Church in San Antonio.

But most of the service focused on the life and energy of the aspiring 24-year-old sports journalist.

"What we will not do today is focus on how she left us," said Peter Burns, a friend from Colorado, reading a statement from Ghawi's mother, Sandy. "Jess was a force to be reckoned with. She was a jolt of lightning . . . a Labrador puppy running clumsily with innocent joy."

After the funeral for Childress, 29, about 200 people attended a private burial service at Fort Logan National Cemetery southwest of Denver. Friends have described the Air Force cyber-systems operator as a good friend, experienced and knowledgeable. Childress was from Thornton, Colo., and worked at Buckley Air Force Base. -- AP

You also may be interested in: