Editor's note: Anderson Cooper is broadcasting from Aurora, Colorado at 8 and 10 p.m. ET. He'll honor the shooting victims, tell their stories and speak with a few family members who will share personal memories.
It’s been another heartbreaking day in Aurora, Colorado, as people struggle to come to terms with what happened when a gunman opened fire in a packed movie theater on Friday. At least 12 people were killed and 58 others wounded in what’s considered one of the worst mass shootings in U.S. history. In the face of grief, so many people are speaking out honoring the victims and remembering the lives that were cut too short by a senseless act. Here are some of the moving tributes:
"I lost my daughter yesterday to a mad man, my grief right now is inconsolable, I hear she died instantly, without pain, however the pain is unbearable. Lord why, why, why????. I sit here and resist this entry however I feel I must, in disgust, in dismay, in prayer, I love you my daughter Rebecca, we all will miss you."
- Steve Hernandez on Facebook, father of 32-year-old shooting victim Rebecca Ann Wingo.
“Her dreams were cut short and we are going to try to sustain those dreams as we move forward. She was an asset to her friends, an asset to her family, an asset to her community."
– Jordan Ghawi, brother of shooting victim 24-year-oldJessica Ghawi
"(Veronica was) a vibrant little girl ... just was bragging about learning how to swim on Tuesday."
– Great-aunt of the youngest victim, 6-year-old Veronica Moser-Sullivan
“It’s not surprising to me that his first thought would be her. That’s what a man does: He protects his loved ones. I’m very proud of him. I’m going to miss him.”
- David Jackson, stepfather of Matthew R. McQuinn, 27, who lost his life shielding his girlfriend from the bullets (told to CNN affiliate WHIO)
"It reminds you that even in the darkest of days, life continues and people are strong. Out of this darkness a brighter day is going to come."
– President Obama
"We pray that the wounded will recover, and that those who are grieving will know the nearness of God. Today, we feel not only a sense of grief, but perhaps also of helplessness, but there is something that we can do. We can offer comfort to someone near us who is suffering or heavy laden and we can mourn with those who mourn in Colorado."
– GOP Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney
“Johnny was the type of guy who always wanted to be a hero, he would help anyone and everyone with anything. He wanted to make people smile and laugh, he was always outgoing."
– Ex-wife of victim Jonathan Blunk, age 26
“He saved me and gave me the opportunity to live. I prayed to John last night. John, I love you. So grateful for what you've done for me.”
- Jansen Young, Jonathan Blunk’s girlfriend who was at the movie theater with him
“One of the best men I ever knew. The world isn't as good a place without him.”
- Caitlin, friend of 24-year-old victim Alex Teves, remembering him on Twitter
“I lost a precious soul.”
- Father of 23-year-old Micayla Medek
“She was a great kid, she was just finding herself, she never harmed everybody. She didn’t deserve to die this way.”
- Aunt of Micayla Medek
“Cowden was a true Texas gentleman that loved life and his family. 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”
- Family spokesman on the loss of Gordon Cowden, 51, who took his two teenage children to the theater
“When I think of Jesse, I think of a big nerd someone who was always humorous. Someone who always made the office brighter.”
– Airman Kevin Thao, friend of 27-year-old victim Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse E. Childress
“Jesse was an invaluable part of the 310th family. He literally touched everyone in the wing - over 1,000 people."
- Lt. Col. Pat Walsh on the death of Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse E. Childress
“John had a calming personality that everyone seemed to gravitate to. He was one of those extremely competent professionals that had an extraordinary work ethic and was truly dedicated to the Navy and all the sailors he worked alongside. He was a true gentleman in every way shape or form.
- Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski, remembering Petty Officer 3rd Class John Thomas Larimer.
"Alex was smart, funny, and above all loved dearly by his friends and family."
– Statement from the family of Alex M. Sullivan
“It is not this senseless act of violence that marks us as a community. It is the lives and acts of these heroes and the innumerable acts of kindness, love, and care for our neighbors that defines who we are. We will reclaim our city in the name of goodness, kindness and compassion."
– Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan
FINALLY......Mr. Teves has expressed in his interview what I have felt in my heart so.....many times. Do NOT give these killers a voice. IGNORE them and concentrate on the victims or we will 'turn the channel'. I understand you must cover details and trials but do NOT say his name or SHOW his face. God Bless Us ... God Help Us ... Anderson PLEASE help these victims be heard. Amen.
Mr Teves has it exactly right! Quit focusing on the shooter and more on the victims! Don't give this coward any attention!
Mr. Teves was awesome! In this time of grief I cannot even begin to imagine, he spoke so well what I think so many of us have wanted to say. If you continue to "reward" this kind of behavior, it will not stop. Please accept his challenge and let the criminal remain nameless and faceless, focus on the victims and survivors (please take his pic down, you could use that space for something better). Deny the criminals the attention they crave. Prayers for all the families.
I've worked on the back wards of state psychiatric hospitals for 17 years as a Social Worker. There are many like him there. One, in particular, was obessed with throwing stars and machetes. He was picked up one time on a college campus threatening students with his machete. If a man on the street talked with him, he might never realize the seriousness of his delusions, which we came to know in depth during his extended stay in the hospital. Now, THIS current young man, looks like his first obvious psychotic break, and his nodding off today certainly looked like needed meds have been started. His strong delusional system would NOT have interferred with his ability to ask for an attorney. Just thank God that he had a moment of lucidity in which to warn the first responders not to enter his apartment. He may never be able to show remorse. It will be interesting to watch the mental health issues unfold. This is not in his defense. But, perhaps we should be questioning the mental health laws. I had to fight the legal system many times to keep Mr. Machete away from society where he could become a danger to others.
We all struggle to try to make sense of this. Why? This bring so many issues to the forefront. I am torn on gun control, but one thing I am sure of we definitely need to make the current laws more strict. Why should anyone be able to purchase machine guns and assault rifles with unlimited rounds of ammunition (enough to kill an army) without so much as a red flag? Why should anyone be able to access internet sites that instruct you on how to assemble a bomb?
Why is there violence perpetrated every where we look – in movies, in video games, comic books – everywhere you look violence is displayed as something to attract attention, pull you into the fantasy? Is it any wonder that our youth find it so hard to separate fantasy from realtity. Where do you draw the line with morality? Is there something sick about all of us that crave this excitement and find normal life as too boring?
We have a serious issue with mental illness in this country, especially with our youth. How many teenagers and young adults commit suicide or commit some violent crime every year? Is it because they are raised on video games and are looking for a thrill or a high off of everything they do? Is it the drugs that are so available to them?
I wonder if society hasn't created its own monsters. Where in society is real intelligence and good grades valued? The intelligent young adult, especially those with superior inteligence, instead of being valued and looked up to as an example to aspire to are tormented and alienated from the rest of society. They are considered odd and are not allowed to fit in. Perhaps, this is the real injustice. Instead, we as a society put on pedestals, the celebrilty drug addict acting out. That's what our young people aspire to be. How truly sad.
Alex Teves father is absolutely correct. The media must take accountability and recognize that this type of behavior yearns for attention. NEVER give the killers the notoriety they long for. The media has great power, and influence, and with it comes great responsibility. Do what is right for us all. And not just on Anderson's program!
Alex's dad Tom said what all Americans feel. Stop making this about that coward. I will make the effort to remember all of the victims names forever. Go back and remember all the victims in the past. Bless all of you during this time but more importantly in all the years ahead of you. REMEMBER the beautiful people taken from us on earth.
I agree with Mr. Teves CNN needs to step it and stop putting (him) on the front page of everything and put these very very brave heros and victims as the main topic. I pray for everyone involved and for there family's.
What a good idea Mr Teves has. The networks don't show people running on to fields for sport games, Don't show any Mass murders on TV! CNN listen to this man! Our hearts go out to all the Victims and there familys.
I so agree with Mr Teves and this response. Our Media people need to stop focusing on the perpetrators and only on the Victims Maybe then when they see they aren't going to get Media Attention these senseless acts of violence will reduce. Gun laws are not the answer. Bad people will always circumvent laws if they want too. I believe they do it partly for the attention to be "famous". If they see we are taking that away maybe it will help
My husband and I wholeheartedly applaud Tom Teves! We will take up his challenge to only discuss the victims and to give no name or attention to the perpetrator of this cowardly crime. Too many of us tend to get sucked in to the lure of wondering what type of person the shooter is...but Teves was correct in pointing out that rewarding this pathetic person with our attention and the notoriety he craves, is not what we should do. We truly hope CNN will actually take a stand and refrain from putting the shooter in the spotlight at ALL. Thank you for allowing my Mr. Teves to enlighten us all. Nashville, TN
Kudos to Alex Teves father. He expressed what I feel so well....let the media take responsibility and lead... giving this coward publicity, showing his face, repeating his name, and showing his every breath...gives him what he wanted all along..INFAMY. Media is only PART of the problem..but we have all kinds of data, please let someone crunch it and up with some plausable theories.
May God have mercy on their souls, May God have mercy on HIS soul ~May angels walk with all.
Alex Teves' father has it right, stop talking about the perpetrator of the crime and honor those whose lives were taken. Take his picture off the website. God bless the families.
I agree 100 per cent. Stop showing his image, show the heroes and rescuers instead.
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