Jessica Ghawi was an aspiring journalist and blogger well on her way to a promising media career.
“I only met her twice, but felt like I knew her for years, just goes to show how powerful of a personality she had online,” Jesse Spector, a national hockey writer for Sporting News, told PEOPLE exclusively, after the 24-year-old was identified as one of the 12 reported victims of the Aurora, Colo., The Dark Knight Rises shooting on Friday. “She had such a bright future in this business, because people like that find a way to succeed.”
On the night she died, Ghawi (who went by @JessicaRedfield on Twitter) was excitedly Tweeting about the movie, and conversing with Spector. She had 2,957 followers with whom she shared everything from her opinions on the NHL to excitement over being named a godmother.
“The thing that stood out to me most about Jessica was how sharp-witted she was, and funny at that,” Spector said. “It’s what made following her on Twitter so much fun. She was amazingly enthusiastic about hockey, journalism and life in general.
Ghawi’s parents called KSAT 12 News in San Antonio to confirm her death early Friday morning.
Her brother Jordan, a student and firefighter, Tweeted, “this could easily be the worst night of my life,” and is sharing with followers a website he set up to track how he found out and his journey to Denver.
Previous Mass Shooting Escape
Just last month, Ghawi wrote on her blog about narrowly avoiding the June 2 shooting at the Toronto Eaton Centre that killed 24-year old Ahmed Hassan.
“I was shown how fragile life was on Saturday. I saw the terror on bystanders’ faces. I saw the victims of a senseless crime. I saw lives change. I was reminded that we don’t know when or where our time on Earth will end. When or where we will breathe our last breath,” she wrote at the time.
“I say all the time that every moment we have to live our life is a blessing,” she wrote. “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. Every second of every day is a gift.”
While studying at The University of Texas at San Antonio, Ghawi interned at Ticket 760 Radio and KABB-TV, where her bubbly personality and ambition made her a indispensable member of both teams. Another internship would take her from San Antonio to Denver, where Ghawi joined the staff at Sports Radio 104.3 The Fan. An avid hockey fan, Ghawi was excited to cover The Colorado Avalanche for the station.
She used the pen name Redfield in honor of her grandmother, who always wanted to be a journalist, but “never had the chance,” she once shared.