AURORA, Colo. (CBS 8) – A former Coronado sailor with dreams of becoming a Navy SEAL was among twelve victims killed in the mass shooting at a Colorado movie theater.
Jonathan Blunk had high hopes for the future, with plans to re-enlist in the Navy. The 26-year-old served three tours in the Persian Gulf and North Arabian Sea between 2004 and 2009, said close friend James Gill of Brighton, Colo.
"It was guts or glory for him," Gill said. "It always surprised me that he didn't serve in a situation more on the front line. He wanted to be a first responder on the front line."
Blunk was also a certified firefighter and emergency medical technician, Gill added.
He died in the mass shooting in the Aurora AMC Theaters on Friday, after throwing himself in front of friend Jansen Young and saving her life. He told her to stay down.
"That's something he would do," Gill said. "If he was going to choose a way to die, that's how he wanted to go - defending someone from a (person) like that."
Blunk, a 2004 graduate of Hug High School in Reno, Nev., most recently lived in Aurora and worked for a small flooring company.
Also in the audience on that tragic night were a group of Navy and Air Force members out for a fun evening to see the midnight screening of "The Dark Knight." Instead, their colleagues are mourning the loss of these rising stars in the U.S. military.
Petty Officer Third Class John Larimer was killed. The 27-year-old cryptologic technician joined the Navy a year ago and was considered a blossoming leader.
"He truly did have a bright future ahead of him in the Navy," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Jeffrey Jabubowski. "This was his first Navy command and he was excelling in all aspects."
Air Force Staff Sgt. Jesse Childress was also killed. The 29-year old was a reservist and cyber systems operator.
"Jessie was an invaluable part of the family. He literally touched everyone in the wing... over a thousand people," said Jabubowski. "As a father of three, I feel like I lost one of my sons."