July 23rd, 2012
11:13 PM ET

Anderson Cooper remembers the victims in Aurora

Stories of heroism, zest for life and a birthday celebration that turned tragic emerged as family and friends spoke of loved ones killed in Friday's mass shooting at an Aurora movie theater.

Almost all of the 12 victims were young - including a 6-year-old girl who had just learned to swim - with so much life ahead of them.

The cause of death in all cases is related to gunshot wounds, according to the Arapahoe County Coroner's Office.

Jonathan T. Blunk, 26

Jonathan Blunk served five years in the U.S. Navy. He was supposed to fly Saturday to Reno, Nevada, to see his wife Chantel, his 4-year-old daughter and his 2-year-old son.

"We were going to have a family day," said wife Chantel Blunk.

Instead, she put away the dress her daughter had picked out to wear to the airport. "I tried to tell her we wouldn't see Daddy anymore, but that he would still love us and look over us."

The couple married in 2007 and separated in 2010, she said. The pair remained on good terms after Jonathan moved to Colorado. Blunk died shielding his girlfriend from the gunfire inside the theater.


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  1. Barbara

    Every single time one of these tragic shootings occur the focus is on guns and gun violence. While I beleive we need to revisit the 2nd Amendment and get those horrible assult weapons off the streets I also believe we miss the opportunity to bring to the forefront yet another tragedy-and that is the horrific lack of services for the mentally ill. Funding continues to be cut from programs for those suffering from a brain disease meaning more of our mentally ill wander the streets, flood the ERs and become unmonitored and off their meds. We should be ashamed. We need a nationwide discussion of Mental Illness. We need to educate our young and go out into the streets and bring those poor souls back into the fold-with quality services so they can become well and become productive members of our society.

    July 24, 2012 at 11:33 pm |
  2. natalie

    Anderson, What happened in Aurora is sad and tragic. I noticed you are refusing to say the alleged gunman's name on your program; however, have you thought about the possibility that he is suffering from mental illness? It is AWFUL what he did; however, he may have been extremely sick and may have been hearing voices. Those people should not have died as they did and I cannot imagine what their loved ones are feeling, but what about shedding some light on some people that are walking our streets and struggling as they are losing their grip on reality. I say this because my brother is schizophrenic and I watched him lose touch with reality. Luckily he eventually got on medication and now lives with my mother, but I can't imagine what would have happened to him if he had lived out in the world on his own with stresses of school and life and living without medication. Please try to look at these events from this angle.

    July 24, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
  3. John Bergin

    James Holmes has a very "bug-eye" appearance, which does not seem present in his high school yearbook photo. The bug-eye effect is often associated with the medical condition known as hyperthyroidism, a hormone issue that can have various effects on behavior. This may deserve looking into.

    July 24, 2012 at 8:44 am |
  4. matt

    A – with all due respect – I appreciate the wanting to not discuss the mans name who killed these people, however I watch you to see the news and analysis of the day. To omit his name is akin to trying to wash this away. What happened is tragic, how, who and what are all important and warrant attention, no matter how uncomfortable it makes us. His name, and his story is just as important – we as a society need to do the work that you purport to do for us. It is times like this when we omit all the FACTS based on emotions that the situation is not fully understood.

    July 24, 2012 at 4:10 am |