Colorado theater shooting victim, graduate of Hug High in Reno, shielded girlfriend from gunman

A local hero.

Colorado theater shooting victim was graduate of Hug High in Reno, shielded girlfriend from gunman

6:45 PM, Jul 21, 2012   |
People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., at the scene of a mass shooting early Friday morning, July 20, 2012.

People gather outside the Century 16 movie theatre in Aurora, Colo., at the scene of a mass shooting early Friday morning, July 20, 2012. / Karl Gehring/Denver Post

Jonathan T. Blunk, a Hug High School graduate, Navy veteran and father of two, was one of the victims of the deadly Aurora, Colo., theater shooting — and also one of its heroes.

His girlfriend Jansen Young told the Today Show she survived the shooting after Blunk, 26, shielded her from the bullets by lying on top of her.

“Jon just took a bullet for me,” she said.

Blunk always wanted to be a hero, his estranged wife, Chantel Blunk of Reno, told NBC News.

“He always talked about if he were going to die, he wanted to die a hero,” Chantel Blunk said.

The couple had met at Reno’s Procter Hug High School in 2004 before he enlisted in the Navy, serving out of San Diego aboard the USS Nimitz. They were married in 2007.

He left the service in 2009 and after separating from his wife moved to Colorado, where he worked at a hardware store.

Close friend James Gill of Brighton, Colo., said Blunk served three tours of duty in the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea between 2004 and 2009. He said Blunk planned to re-enlist to become a Navy SEAL and the circumstances surrounding his friend’s death didn’t surprise him.

“Jonathan Blunk is a hero,” Young told the Reno Gazette-Journal via telephone from Aurora, Colo., Saturday afternoon. She could not speak further at the time.

Before and After Massacre, Puzzles Line a Suspect’s Path

What a sick man! You have to wonder why nobody he knew got him help.

This attack is no reason for pushes for gun control. The vast majority of gun owners are responsible citizens.

Before and After Massacre, Puzzles Line a Suspect’s Path

Shannon Stapleton/Reuters

Mourners at a vigil for the victims. Many said they had come because it could have been them, or their brothers or sisters or aunts or mothers, who died. More Photos »

By  and 
Published: July 21, 2012

AURORA, Colo. — Killing a dozen people and wounding more than 50 others was apparently not enough for James Eagan Holmes, according to the police. Inside his otherwise ordinary apartment, lay an intricate series of explosive booby traps, seemingly designed to kill anyone who entered while pursuing his trail.

Multimedia
Sam Hodgson for The New York Times

James Holmes in 2005. More Photos »

Mr. Holmes, 24, who the police say brought terror to a midnight movie screening in this Colorado community, also left behind a litany of questions, many of them focused on how and why a once-promising student could now stand accused of being the lone gunman behind the deadliest mass shootings in Colorado since the 1999 Columbine High School attacks.

Mr. Holmes had been a shy, awkward boy who once seemed quietly bound for big things. He was a science student from Southern California who won scholarships and internships, graduated “at the top of the top” from the University of California, Riverside, and moved to Colorado last year to take the next step: a doctoral program in neuroscience.

But Mr. Holmes struggled through his first academic year at the University of Colorado, Denver, and had dropped out by this spring. Neighbors from his gang-ridden neighborhood in Aurora described him as a solitary figure, recognizable as one of the few white residents of a largely Hispanic neighborhood, and always alone. Alone as he bought beer and liquor at neighborhood shops, as he ate burritos at La California restaurant or got his car fixed at the Grease Monkey auto shop. Alone as he rode his bicycle through the streets.

Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism

Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Reynolds School of Journalism (RSJ) is a professional school of the University of Nevada, Reno. Established in 1984, it counts six Pulitzer Prize recipients among its alumni.

In 2006, the RSJ launched an innovative professional master’s degree program with a focus on interactive journalism and the environment. The essence of the program is an intensive 10-month immersion in thinking about, experimenting with and creating new forms of journalism, including Web 2.0 journalism.