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Funerals begin for victims of Colorado theater massacre

July 25, 2012|By Alexandra Zavis and Mark Boster
  • The children of movie theater shooting victim Gordon Cowden leave the funeral service for their father at Pathways Church in Denver.
The children of movie theater shooting victim Gordon Cowden leave the funeral… (Joshua Lott / Getty Images )

AURORA, Colo. -- Friends and families of those who died in last week’s movie theater massacre in Aurora are beginning the painful process of honoring and burying their loved ones.

A memorial service was held at a  Denver church Wednesday for Gordon Cowden, 51, who was at a Friday premiere of the new Batman movie, “The Dark Knight Rises,” with his teenage children when a gunman opened fire in the theater. 

In all, 12 people were killed and 58 were injured. Cowden’s children escaped the rampage unhurt.

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, Aurora Mayor Steve Hogan and Aurora Police Chief Dan Oates joined scores of friends and family members at  the packed church.

The service was private, but the family released a statement describing  Cowden as a loving father, outdoorsman, small-business owner and “true Texas gentleman.”

“A quick-witted world traveler with a keen sense of humor, he will be remembered for his devotion to his children and for always trying his best to do the right thing, no matter the obstacle," the statement said.

Photographs of Cowden with his children were shown at the service, said 19-year-old Alana Botdorf, who was among the mourners.

“It was really hard to watch because you could tell what a great dad he was,” she said. “Front row at every play, ceremony and sporting event…. I just hope everyone knows what an incredible man was taken in the tragedy.” ”

After the service, family members walked out of church carrying flowers and were embraced by well-wishers.

More funerals are planned this week in Aurora, Illinois, Nevada and Texas.


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