Jessica Ghawi's boyfriend, Aurora theater shooting survivors speak out

(CBS News) Jay Meloff, the boyfriend of Jessica Ghawi - the aspiring sports reporter who died in the massacre Friday - is speaking out, along with several other victims and family members of those affected by the Aurora, Colo. theatre shooting.

Complete coverage: Massacre in Aurora

For Meloff, the loss of his girlfriend is still too much. "We both had a lot of dreams and we both were very excited about our future," he said.

The two met about a year ago, when Ghawi interviewed Meloff, a hockey player, for one of her stories. Meloff lives in Toronto. The two of them were video conferencing before the movie started.

Meloff said, "I was kinda falling asleep, and she told me to sleep well, and that was five minutes before it all happened. And so that was the last thing she ever said."

Ghawi was at the theater with her good friend from Texas, Brent Lowak, who studied to be an emergency medical technician. He survived, and told his mother Sue Holt what happened during those awful moments.


"He actually got shot about the same time she did," Holt said. "So when she was crying out that she had been shot, he crawled over to her and was applying pressure on her leg wound. He was focused on that, and shooting bullets were flying everywhere, and he said, all of a sudden she stopped and he looked at her face, and he said it was not good."

Alejandra Cardona, her sister and their friends were also trapped by the gunfire. Cardona said, "I just screamed. And when I screamed, my boyfriend was like, 'Did you get hit?' And as soon as I said, 'Yes,' he picked me up and he ran me out the theater from the upstairs emergency exit."

Cardona now has four holes in her leg and shrapnel left behind. Yet she feels lucky. One of her friends, A.J. Boik, did not make it out.

Cardona said, "It's harder to talk to my friends who knew both of us, because of how they're thankful that I'm still here, and they still have to think about the fact that he's gone."

Even though Cardona's injuries make it difficult to stand, let alone walk, she wanted to be at Sunday night's vigil. "I'm really lucky that I wasn't one of those 12 people," Cardona said. "I'm really, really thankful for that. And God was watching over me that night. And I'm still here for my family and friends."

Meloff knows this feeling too. He and Ghawi barely avoided a shooting at a Toronto shopping mall just last month where two people died.

Jessica Ghawi, Colorado theater victim, had survived Toronto mall shooting last month

Meloff said, "When something like that happens, no matter how aware you are of what we each have, being here every day, and being able to wake up every day, it just makes that that much more precious, and that much more special. I'm trying not to think so much about what her loss means to me as much as what her life means to me and what she still means to me."

A memorial service is being held for Ghawi in San Antonio, Texas, on Saturday.

For more on this story, watch Jeff Glor's full report in the video above.

  • Jeff Glor

    Jeff Glor was named anchor of the Sunday edition of the "CBS Evening News" in January 2012 and Special Correspondent for "CBS This Morning" in November 2011.

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