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Jonathan Blunk had high hopes for the future, with plans to re-enlist in the Navy and the goal of becoming a Navy SEAL.
The 26-year-old served three tours in the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea between 2004 and 2009, said close friend James Gill of Brighton, Colo.
"It was guts or glory for him," Gill told The Associated Press. "It always surprised me that he didn't serve in a situation more on the front line. He wanted to be a first responder on the front line."
Blunk was also a certified firefighter and emergency medical technician, Gill added.
He died in the shooting Friday after throwing himself in front of friend Jansen Young and saving her life, she told the NBC "Today" show. He told her to stay down.
Alexander J. Boik, an 18-year-old known as AJ, had a reputation for making people laugh and tried to bring back the mullet hair cut in his freshman year of high school.
"He tried to rock the mullet," said Tyler Lynch, 20, who played baseball with Boik on their high school team.
Boik, a catcher who played on the team through his junior year, had recently graduated from Gateway High School in Aurora. He also played in the school orchestra.
He was to start classes at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the fall. Gateway principal Bill Hedges said Boik planned to become an art teacher.
A friend, Jordan Crofter, described Boik as someone who "didn't hold anything back. He was just his own person."
"He was a ball of joy. He was never sad or depressed. He wanted everybody to be happy," Crofter said.
Jesse Childress was an Air Force cyber-systems operator based at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora.
Air Force Capt. Andrew Williams described the 29-year-old from Thornton, Colo., as knowledgeable, experienced and respectful. "We're going to miss him incredibly," he said.
Gordon Cowden loved life and his family, and he had gone to the midnight movie premiere with his two teenage children.
At 51, he was the oldest of the victims killed in the shooting. He lived in Aurora, but was described as a "true Texas gentleman" in a family statement. He loved the outdoors and owned his own business.
"A quick witted world traveler with a keen sense of humor, he will be remembered for his devotion to his children and for always trying his best to do the right thing, no matter the obstacle," his family said.
His teenage children escaped the shooting unharmed.
Jessica Ghawi recently wrote a blog post after surviving a shooting at a Toronto mall, saying it showed her "how fragile life was."
Friends say the 24-year-old, who moved to Colorado from Texas about a year ago, didn't let the June 2 shooting in Toronto change her outlook on life as she pursued a career in sports journalism.
"I think she even looked at that like, 'Hey, even after that, I'm able to pursue my dream,'" said Peter Burns, a radio sports show host with Mile High Sports Radio in Denver, where Ghawi recently interned.
That shooting left two dead and several injured. Her blog post last month said: "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."
John Larimer was a Navy sailor based at Buckley Air Force Base, where he was a cryptologic technician — a job that the Navy says on its website should be filled by someone with "exceptionally good character, above-average writing and speaking skills, a good memory, curiosity and resourcefulness."
Those who knew him described him in similar terms.
The 27-year-old and another active service member, Air Force Sgt. Jesse Childress, were killed in the shooting rampage, the military said Saturday.
As the attack in the movie theater unfolded, Matt McQuinn dove in front of his girlfriend and her older brother to shield them from the gunfire.
He died protecting them, said Rob Scott, an Ohio attorney retained by the families of McQuinn and his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler. Scott confirmed McQuinn's death to The Associated Press. He was 27.
"Unfortunately, Matt McQuinn perished from the injuries he sustained during the tragic events that unfolded in Denver, Colorado, and went home to be with his maker," Scott said in a statement. "As both families mourn the loss of Matt, they ask for everyone to give them distance and time. Again, the families thank everyone for their love, prayers and ask that we respect their families' wishes."
Micayla Medek loved a night out with her friends, and she was with a group of about 10 of them at the "Dark Knight Rises" premiere.
Medek was "Cayla" to her family and friends. She was 23 years old and juggling classes at Aurora Community College with a job at a Subway sandwich shop, said her aunt Jenny Zakovich, 57, of South Milwaukee, Wis.
"She didn't know what she wanted to do," Zakovich said. "I think her plans were to finish community college and go into a better paying job — probably in the computer field."
The youngest of the victims killed in the attack was Veronica Moser-Sullivan.
She had just learned to swim, and at age 6, she was a "great little girl, excited about life," her great-aunt Annie Dalton said. "She should be at 6 years old."
Her mother, Ashley Moser, remains hospitalized with gunshot wounds to her neck and abdomen. She has been in and out of consciousness and asking for her daughter during moments of lucidity.
"Nobody can tell her about it," Dalton said. "She is in critical condition, but all she's asking about is her daughter."
Alex Sullivan's family called him "their real life super hero," and he was at "The Dark Knight Rises" premiere celebrating his 27th birthday and his first wedding anniversary.
"Alex was a gentle giant, known and loved by so many. He always had a glowing smile on his face and he made friends with everyone. Alex enjoyed all sorts of movies, was an avid comic book geek and loved the New York Mets," the family said in a statement.
Whether he was running through obstacle courses at a Tough Mudder competition or interning at a school for students with special needs, Alexander C. Teves saw life as an adventure.
"Alex will be remembered as an intelligent young man with a passion for living life to the fullest," said Mary Gomez, a counseling psychology professor at the University of Denver and one of Teves' graduate advisors.
Gomez said Teves was a compassionate, positive person.
"His top priority was his relationships. His loyalty is admirable and he always put his friends first," Gomez said.
While officiating the wedding ceremony for her two friends in 2010, Rebecca Wingo shed tears of happiness.
She had played a role in the two meeting each other, having taken her pal Cody Shafer out on the town the night he would meet his partner, Marq. So when the two men planned their nuptials, they knew Wingo had to be a part of it.
"That I'll have forever," he said. "Her laughter and then breaking down in the middle of our ceremony and crying."