A victim's story: Blogger had witnessed a shooting spree just weeks earlier

  • @guyadams

A few weeks ago, a blogger called Jessica Ghawi wrote a vivid account of witnessing the horror of a shooting in a Canadian shopping mall where one man was killed and seven injured.

"Every second of every day is a gift," she concluded. "Every moment we have to live our life is a blessing."

On Thursday night, in keeping with her new-found appreciation of the preciousness of life, the 24-year-old aspiring sportscaster, pictured, headed to a midnight screening of the new Batman film with her friend, Brent Lowak. Only one of them would make it out of the cinema alive.

Ms Ghawi, who was known professionally as Jennifer Redfield, was sitting in the middle of the crowded auditorium when the shooting began. Her brother, Jordan, last night published an account of proceedings, based on a conversation with Mr Lowak, whom he had visited in hospital.

"Brent and Jessica immediately dropped to a prone position for cover," it said. "Jessica advised multiple times for someone to call 911, which Brent immediately attempted to do. Brent then heard Jessica scream and noticed that she was struck by a round in the leg. Brent began holding pressure on the wound and attempted to calm Jessica. It was at this time that Brent took a round to his lower extremities.

"While still administering first aid, Brent noticed that Jessica was no longer screaming. He advised that he looked over to Jessica and saw what appeared to be an entry wound to her head." Ms Ghawi never regained consciousness. Her death has reverberated across social media, with thousands of well-wishers forwarding messages she posted on Twitter during the final hours of her life.

One of those messages said that, as a "redheaded Texan spitfire" she was "of course going to see the Dark Knight".

Tens of thousands more people visited the personal blog on which Ms Ghawi had written about last month's Toronto shooting, which she narrowly escaped during a weekend visit to her boyfriend, a local ice hockey star.

"Life is a blessing," that account said. "So often I have found myself taking it for granted.

"Every hug from a family member. Every laugh we share with friends. Even the times of solitude are all blessings. After Saturday evening, I know I truly understand how blessed I am for each second I am given."