AURORA, Colo. (AP) — Ashley Moser drifted in and out of consciousness in the ICU, bullets 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 Ashley Moser’s aunt Annie Dalton. “She 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 young girl was among the 12 people killed when a gunman barged into a crowded Colorado theater, set off gas canisters and opened fire as spectators dove for cover. Dozens of others were injured, including the 25-year-old Ashley Moser and 10 others in critical condition as of Friday night.
Colorado authorities on Saturday released the names of those killed, eight men, three women and Veronica Moser-Sullivan. The oldest victim was 51-year-old Gordon Cowden.
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. Scott’s account could not be immediately verified.
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 on 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, was also among the dead, her father’s cousin, Anita Busch, told the Associated Press.
Busch said the news, while heartbreaking, was a relief for the family after an agonizing day of waiting for news.
“I hope this evil act … doesn’t shake people’s faith in God,” she said.
On Saturday morning, parents of John Larimer released a statement that Navy officials notified them about midnight that their 27-year-old son was one of the 12 killed.