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Colorado nurse who drowned had treated Aurora shooting victim

August 20, 2012|By Evan Wagstaff

A Colorado woman who drowned while swimming in a lake in Iowa has been identified as an ICU nurse who had treated a victim of the Aurora theater shooting weeks earlier.

According to the Dickinson County Sheriff’s Department, 46-year-old Jennifer Gallagher had been swimming at night in West Okoboji Lake on Aug. 6. The following day, a family member discovered Gallagher under a nearby dock. Medical personnel pronounced her dead at the scene.

University of Colorado Hospital spokeswoman Jacque Montgomery told the Los Angeles Times that Gallagher had specialized in treating head injuries and helped open the Neurological Intensive Care Unit. On the day of the theater shooting, she cared for one of the victims in the unit.

PHOTOS: Colorado theater shooting

“Jenny was a beloved nurse,” said Chief Nursing Officer Carolyn Sanders.  “She was very well known for her ability to connect with people, show empathy and develop caring relationships with her patients.”

Prosecutors have accused James E. Holmes, 24, of shooting into a crowd of moviegoers at a July 20 premiere of “The Dark Knight Rises.” Twelve people were killed and 58 wounded. Holmes faces 142 criminal charges, including 24 counts of first-degree murder.

Montgomery said Gallagher was present July 22 when President Obama visited with families and survivors at the hospital. As he left the facility, the president quoted from the Book of Revelation:

"Scripture says that ‘He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more.’ ”

According to CBS Denver, Gallagher is survived by her husband and 5-year-old son.

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Follow Evan on Twitter. Email: evan.wagstaff@latimes.com

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