PHOENIX: An Arizona man who was among the Colorado movie theater shooting victims was cremated this week, as his father remembered him as having a gift for defusing tense situations and a “heart of gold.”
Alex Teves and 11 others were killed July 20 in Aurora, Colo., at a midnight showing of the latest Batman movie, The Dark Knight Rises.
Services were held Thursday in Denver for another victim, Micayla Medek, 23.
Teves, who grew up in Phoenix and graduated from an Arizona high school and college, died while shielding his girlfriend from the gunfire. His father, Tom Teves, said his wife did not get a chance to say goodbye before their son was cremated because he didn’t want her to see the badly wounded body.
“He was one of the kindest kids who always gave of himself,” Tom Teves told the Arizona Republic. “You won’t find anyone who has a bad word to say about him, and that was true even before he died.”
James Holmes is accused of opening fire on the theater, killing the dozen people and wounding 58. He is to be formally charged at a court hearing Monday in Colorado.
Tom Teves was vacationing in Hawaii with his wife and two other sons when they got the news from Alex’s girlfriend, who was hysterical. Alex Teves recently earned his master’s degree in psychology and was planning to become a physical therapist, his father said.
The younger Teves served as a mentor at the University of Arizona in Tucson and at the University of Denver. One of the people he mentored contacted the family this week saying that Alex Teves had set him on the right path, changing his life.
“Alex had the heart of a lion,” his father said. “He had a heart of gold, too. He marched to the beat of his own drummer. He never was concerned about being cool.”
Tom Teves added: “At 18, he was a better man than I am at 52. Even in death, he is teaching me.”
At Medek’s funeral, mourners wore pink ribbons, some with Hello Kitty faces on them, in honor of her fondness for the color and the character.
Her young second cousin, Kailyn Vigil, sobbed and some family members had to be supported as Medek’s coffin was placed in the hearse.
Medek attended Aurora Community College and worked at a Subway sandwich shop. Family members described her as loving and independent-minded.
Visitation was held Thursday for theater victim Alex Sullivan, who was known as a gentle man with a glowing smile. His funeral will be private, and no details have been released.
Meanwhile, the body of a former Reno, Nev., resident who died in the shooting was being flown home to be buried.
The family of 26-year-old Navy veteran Jonathan Blunk said his body is to arrive today at the Reno-Tahoe International Airport, KOLO-TV reported. Blunk graduated from Reno’s Hug High School in 2004.
His funeral is scheduled for Aug. 3 at the Mountain View Mortuary.
Records not released
Tightening the secrecy over the year Holmes spent studying neuroscience, a judge has barred the University of Colorado Denver from releasing any records about the former graduate student’s time there.
What happened to Holmes during his time in the program at the school’s Anschutz Medical Campus is one of the many mysteries stemming from the shooting.
Neighbors and friends in San Diego, where Holmes grew up, described him as brilliant and sometimes awkward but never displaying signs of violence. He entered the prestigious Colorado program in June 2011, but a year later he dropped out after taking a year-end oral exam.
Numerous media organizations filed open records requests for school records about Holmes after he was named as the suspect.
But in an order signed Monday and released by the school Thursday, District Court Judge William Blair Sylvester said releasing the information would “impede an ongoing investigation.”
Sylvester cited a provision of the Colorado Open Records Act that prevents the public from viewing open records “prohibited by ... the order of any court.”
Arapahoe County District Attorney Carol Chambers requested the order after the University of Colorado Denver warned her office Saturday about the record requests.
Sylvester had already issued a gag order barring attorneys and police from discussing the case with reporters. He has also sealed the case file, preventing the public from seeing the accusations and legal arguments that both sides will make.