Flowers arrive as a portrait is seen at the entrance for at a memorial service for Gordon Cowden Wednesday, July 25, 2012 in Denver. Cowden was one of 12 people killed, and over 50 wounded in a shooting attack early Friday at the packed theater during a showing of the Batman movie, "The Dark Knight Rises." Police have identified the suspected shooter as James Holmes, 24. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

DENVER | A dad who took his teenage children to the new Batman movie and was killed when a gunman opened fire on the theater was mourned Wednesday, the first memorial service for a victim of the shootings.

Fifty-one-year-old Gordon Cowden was the oldest of the 12 people killed in the massacre at the “Dark Knight Rises.” His teenage children escaped unharmed.

Cowden lived in Aurora, the Denver suburb where the theater is located. A family statement described him as a “true Texas gentleman” who 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.

Carrying flowers and passing a large portrait of Cowden, about 150 mourners gathered for the memorial at a Denver church. Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper paused at the photo before entering the church.

The memorial was also attended by Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates.

Later this week, families of other victims planned to say their final goodbyes.

Funerals were planned in towns from San Antonio, home of aspiring sportscaster Jessica Ghawi, to Crystal Lake, Ill., hometown of Navy intelligence officer John Thomas Larimer.

Also Wednesday, residents of the apartment building where shooting suspect James Holmes lived were allowed to return.

The small building near the University of Colorado, Denver, medical campus was cleared as a precaution because police said Holmes had booby trapped his apartment with a trip wire, explosives and unknown liquids.

Because many of the shooting victims have families outside Denver, authorities have assigned each victim’s family a communications officer to keep them updated on the case.

Holmes is due in court next Monday, when he will hear the charges against him.


Associated Press photographer Alex Brandon contributed to this report.

12 replies on “Memorials begin for Aurora theater shooting victims”

  1.  Vision and Witness… of the “Violet Flame Heart” Aurora, Colorado
    July 22, 2012
    It was time for bed, and I sat on the edge of my bed and began to say my nightly prayers. As I was saying my prayers I began to experience the whole room being frozen in time, all had stopped including myself, and then a soft voice said, “You are the witness”. The room in front of me began to part… I could see the Movie Theater in Colorado, and was able to see inside the theater and all twelve souls that had lost their lives, they were all still there.
    Then my attention was drawn to the outside of the movie theater and looking very high above the theater, the top part of a very large outline of a Red Vibrant Heart began to appear flowing downward until the bottom tip of the heart extended deep into the ground covering the entire theater. As I watched… In the center of the Heart, a large burst of violet light appeared and the Violet Consuming Flame began to fill the entire Heart, Theater and Grounds.
    I turned my head to the right, and could see in the far distance a large beautiful Rainbow Arrow of Light moving very fast toward the Heart. I then turned my head to the left, and saw the killer, James Eagan Holmes. I turned my head back to the right and saw the Rainbow Arrow of Light shoot straight through the Violet Flame Heart, into the killer’s heart. I then looked back to the movie theater and I could see all twelve Souls again, they were at Peace and Happy. The Souls then held each others hand and all began to move upward into the “Light” until they were gone.
    I then saw the “Violet Flame Heart” surrounding the movie theater, expand larger and larger until the “Violet Flame Heart” covered all of Colorado.
    Then a soft voice said “Let not, hurt nor grief fill your heart, for your love ones are with us now… let love and forgiveness be in your heart now and forever”.
    As the vision ended a tear rolled down my cheek… O’ God, thank you for such a beautiful vision.
    Barbara Crystal

    1. That was truly beautiful. We serve a mighty and powerful God. God did not allow this, but he swiftly intervened and quickly brought control to a violent situation. Thank you for sharing such a beautiful vision that God allowed through you.

  2. My Heart goes to Aurora & Victims Families  also those’s still in Hosp., God Heal your City !!  God Bless Aurora,CO !! 

Comments are closed.