Among the 12 people killed in the Colorado shootings early Friday was a young sportswriter named Jessica Ghawi. Ghawi, who wrote under the name Jessica Redfield for Busted Coverage as well as on her own blog, had gone to see The Dark Knight Rises and was confirmed dead by her family.
Redfield aspired to cover the NHL's Colorado Avalanche, and her last tweet was to hockey writer Jesse Spector and read, Movie doesn't start for 20 minutes, which Spector has since described as haunting in a piece for the Sporting News.
Redfield was originally from Texas and has been described as a proud redhead. She's been eulogized not only by Spector but also by her fellow reporters, as well as at the Mile High Hockey blog, for which she wrote.
Jessica became my friend over the last year, wrote her colleague Cheryl Bradley. She was starting a career in sports journalism, and I regularly picked her brain. She was granted the ever-elusive Avalanche press credentials, and from our seats, AJ [A.J. Haefele, another Mile High Hockey staffer] and I often watched her doing her thing in the press box. She was smart, friendly, and amazing. A red head through and through, she was a ball of energy and fire, with a quick wit and an infectious personality.
The young reporter also contributed to the NHL's You Can Play project, which is meant to help gay athletes with their perception in the sports world. It's an initiative that's quickly gained steam thanks to testimonials from NHL players and executives -- and Redfield was contributing by organizing endorsements from hockey media.
The Twitter feed for You Can Play announced the project would be declining all media requests for comment about her passing, leaving that to her family. The project did tweet, however: Our staff is despondent today over the loss of our intern Jessica Redfield. We will miss her intelligence, kindness and work ethic greatly. In addition, it encouraged donations to a charity chosen by the Ghawi family.
Dave Lozo of NHL.com also had kind words to say about her. My favorite story involving her has to do with Kevin Weekes, he wrote in a blog post Friday. At an Avs game in Denver, she happened to be seated next to him. I received a [direct message] about it. I told her to wait until intermission and introduce herself. It's Weekesy. He's the nicest guy on the planet. Just say hello to him. He'll be great about it.
I'm pretty sure she never mustered up the courage to say hi, but that was endearing. You don't meet -- or get to know via a social media construct -- a lot of people in the business who aren't pushy or carry a sense of entitlement. She had that oh, he's probably busy and I don't want to bother him attitude. Like I said, endearing.
Deadspin has also published a summation of some of Jessica's remembrances, but the thing that might best reveal the kind of person she was is the reason she chose to use Redfield as her last name instead of her real surname. It's my Grandma's maiden name. She always wanted to be a journalist, never had the chance, she once tweeted.
Here's a video of her goofing around at an internship while trying to interview some of the players from the Avalanche's minor-league team. It's as funny as it is sad.