These 3 died using their bodies as human shields during the Aurora theater shooting.. They deserve to be recognized...
COURTESY BLUNK FAMILY
Jon Blunk and his girlfriend Jansen Young, whose life was saved when Blunk threw himself on top of her in the hail of gunfire at the Century 16 movie theater in Aurora, Colo.
Three survivors of the Colorado movie-theater massacre escaped with minor wounds, but were left with broken hearts because their heroic boyfriends died saving them.
In final acts of valor, Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends as accused madman James Holmes turned the Aurora cineplex into a shooting gallery.
Blunk’s girlfriend, Jansen Young; McQuinn’s girlfriend, Samantha Yowler; and Teves’ gal pal Amanda Lindgren made it out of the bloodbath — but they would have been killed had it not been for the loves of their lives.
“He’s a hero, and he’ll never be forgotten,” a tearful Jansen Young told the Daily News of Blunk. “Jon took a bullet for me.”
She was too distraught to speak more, but her mother called Blunk, 25, who had two young children from a previous relationship, “a gentleman.”
“He was loving, the kind of guy you want your daughter to be with, and ultimately, she’s alive because of this, because he protected her,” Shellie Young said.
She said Blunk, a security guard, had served in the Navy and had recently filled out papers to reenlist with a goal of becoming a Navy SEAL. “To her, he was a hero anyway because he wanted to serve his country,” she said of her daughter, who was left with shrapnel wounds to her side. “He said that all the time: ‘I was born to serve my country.’”
Jansen Young, 21, said Blunk took her to see Friday’s midnight premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises” to celebrate her graduation from veterinarian school. As the black-clad killer burst into the theater and unleashed tear gas and a torrent of indiscriminate gunfire, Blunk selflessly protected his girlfriend.
He pushed Jansen on the ground and under her seat, then threw his body on top of her, the mother said. “He was 6-feet-2, in incredible shape, which is why he was able to push her down under the seats of the theater,” the mother said. “He pushed her down on the floor and laid down on top of her and he died there.”
Alex Teves pushed his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, to the floor to shield her when bullets began flying in the movie theater and was struck himself.
She said her daughter instantly fell in love with Blunk when they met at a local mall, where he worked as a security guard. “She just plain fell in love with his good looks,” the mother said. “She walked up and handed him a piece of paper and said, ‘Here’s my number.’”
“She just found it incredible that someone would spend eight years of their life in the Navy.”
Blunk’s estranged wife, Chantel Blunk, 26, of Reno, Nev., said he died fulfilling a lifelong dream. “He always wanted to be a superhero, he’s wanting to save someone or do something greater,” said the mother of Blunk’s kids, Hailey, 4, and Maximus, 2.
Blunk was scheduled to travel to Reno Saturday to see his children and resolve some marital issues, she said. “My daughter can’t comprehend it, and keeps wanting to call him,” said Chantel Blunk. “I try to tell her that her daddy loves her and will always be there.”
Randall Blunk, 47, of Reno, said his son had served in the Navy for more than five years, mostly aboard the Nimitz in the Persian Gulf. “He’s a badass. That’s just how he was. He’s not afraid,” Randall Blunk, who raised his son as a single father, told The News. “I love my boy, I just loved him.”
Jansen Young told her mother she could feel Blunk holding her tight as chaos reigned in the movie theater. She said she heard a woman nearby screaming, “I’ve been shot!” and recalled the “boom, boom, boom” of gunfire and smelling gunpowder.
“There was kind of a break in between each gunshot,” Jansen told the “Today” show. “Every gunshot, I was like, ‘This is it . . . I’m done for.’ Jon gave me one good push against that concrete again and then . . . I didn’t really feel his arms against my back anymore but I knew he was still there.”
When the shooting subsided, she realized Blunk was shot. “I started shaking him and saying, ‘Jon, Jon, we have to go . . . it’s time for us to get out of here,’” she said, adding that she tried to pull Blunk by the shoulder, but he didn’t move.
Equally heroic was the 24-year-old Teves, who hurled his girlfriend to the floor as bullets whizzed through the theater.
“He pushed her to the floor to save her and he ended up getting a bullet,” said his aunt, Barbara Slivinske, 57. “He was gonna hit the floor himself, but he never made it.”
MATT MCQUINN VIA FACEBOOK
Heroic Matt McQuinn, 26, and his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, who is recovering from a gunshot to her knee.
Samantha Yowler had a similar story of horror and heroism about her boyfriend, Matt McQuinn, whose last living act was to shield her from death. Yowler, 26, survived with a gunshot wound to the knee and is in fair condition after undergoing surgery.
McQuinn’s family credited his quick actions for saving Samantha’s life. Witnesses said he dove on top of his girlfriend as the shooting started and that Samantha’s brother, Nick, who was also in the theater, helped get her out of harm’s way. Nick Yowler was unharmed in the shooting.
“Both the Yowler and McQuinn families thank everyone for their concerns, thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the McQuinns’ lawyer, Robert Scott, said in a statement. “Unfortunately, Matt perished from the injuries he sustained during the tragic events that unfolded . . . and went home to be with his maker.”
McQuinn, 27, and Yowler met at a Target store in Springfield, Ohio, where they worked. They transferred to a Target in Aurora last November.
“He was a great outgoing person,” a co-worker at the Colorado Target told The News. “We lost a great person and we still can’t picture or realize that he’s gone.”
Co-worker Shelly Aquino said she works closely with Yowler, who was to help her open the store Saturday morning. She said she cried when she opened the store on her own. “This morning was very hard, but I need to work,” Aquino said. She said she last spoke to Yowler Thursday afternoon.
“The last hug we gave each other was on Thursday. She’s a great person, she’s very responsible ... she doesn’t hesitate to help out.”