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.

Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism

Donald W. Reynolds School of Journalism
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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.