A woman killed in Friday’s Dark Knight Rises movie theater shooting had narrowly escaped death only a month ago, when she was minutes away from being a victim in a Canadian mall incident when a shooter opened fire at a popular foodcourt.
Jessica Redfield, also known as Jessica Ghawi, was among those killed in the Batman massacre, her parents told local media in her home state of Texas.
In a bizarre parallel, Redfield was at the Eaton Centre in Toronto on June 2 moments before a gunman opened fire, killing one and injuring seven.
Redfield later blogged about the moment:
“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.”
At the midnight showing of the premiere of the Dark Knight Rises, a masked gunman stormed into an Aurora, Colorado, movie theater, throwing tear gas grenades into the crowd, then opening fire.
Witnesses say stunned moviegoers initially thought the real-life shotguns were from the action in the film. Authorities, that were present to keep excited crowds under control during the premiere confirmed the deadly toll of 12 dead and 50 seriously injured.
The tragic and chaotic scene took place approximately 15 minutes into the movie – during the airplane scene, a gunshot-heavy opening scene. The Christopher Nolan movie, the most anticipated film event of the summer, centers in part on Bane (played by Tom Hardy), a murderous rebel who wears a gas mask and incites violence.
According to KDVR, the shooting began the moment Batman first appeared on screen. A witness told CNN that he saw a "guy slowly making his way up the stairs and firing, picking random people."
Witnesses say life tragically imitated art, as the 24-year-old suspect was seen wearing goggles, guns (one rifle and two handguns) and a gas mask. The suspect, whose identity has not been released yet, is currently in custody. He was apprehended without offering resistance at the movie theater's parking lot where he fled after the shooting. He reportedly told police he had explosives in his apartment.
The last line of Redfield's June blog post reads: “I wish I could shake this odd feeling from my chest. The feeling that’s reminding me how blessed I am. The same feeling that made me leave the Eaton Center. The feeling that may have potentially saved my life.”
What a tragic, tragic event.