Three young women who survived the Colorado movie-theater massacre with only minor wounds have told the story of how their boyfriends died heroically while protecting them from the attacker's bullets.
The three men Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves used their bodies to shield their girlfriends when James Eagan Holmes opened fire on the crowd at the Aurora Cineplex.
Jansen Young, Samantha Yowler and Amanda Lindgren were the girlfriends of Jon Blunk, Matt McQuinn and Alex Teves respectively. The three say they owe their lives to their gallant male companions.
The NY Daily News reports a tearful Jansen Young, 21, who escaped with shrapnel wounds on her side, said: “He’s a hero, and he’ll never be forgotten. Jon took a bullet for me.”
Jansen's mother, Shellie Young, said that Blunk, 25, who had two children from a previous relationship, was a gentleman. Shellie said: “He was loving, the kind of guy you want your daughter to be with, and ultimately, she’s alive because of this, because he protected her."
Blunk was a security guard who had served in the Navy and was planning to re-enlist. According to Jansen, Blunk wanted to become a Navy SEAL. Shellie said: “To her, he was a hero anyway because he wanted to serve his country. He said that all the time: ‘I was born to serve my country.’”
'He was 6-feet-2, in incredible shape'
Jansen said on NBC's "Today" that Blunk took her to see the midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises" to celebrate her graduation from veterinary school. According to MSNBC, the two, who had been dating since October, were surprised that they could get tickets on the day of the movie's premier.
Jon Blunk and Jansen Young
When Holmes opened fire, Blunk pushed Jansen to the ground, under her seat, and threw his body on top of her. Shellie, Jansen's mother, said: “He was 6-feet-2, in incredible shape, which is why he was able to push her down under the seats of the theater. He pushed her down on the floor and laid down on top of her and he died there.”
According to Shellie, Jansen met Blunk at a local mall where he worked as a security guard. She said: “She just plain fell in love with his good looks. She walked up and handed him a piece of paper and said, ‘Here’s my number.' She just found it incredible that someone would spend eight years of their life in the Navy.”
According to The NY Daily News, Blunk’s estranged wife, Chantel Blunk, 26, of Reno, Nev., mother of Blunk's children Hailey, 4, and Maximus, 2, said he died fulfilling a lifelong dream. She said: “He always wanted to be a superhero, he’s wanting to save someone or do something greater."
Blunk was scheduled to travel to Reno Saturday to see his children. Chantel said her daugher still could not understand her father had died. She said the little girl "keeps wanting to call him. I try to tell her that her daddy loves her and will always be there.”
Randall Blunk, 47, of Reno, father of Jon, who raised his son a single father, said he had served in the Navy aboard the Nimitz in the Persian Gulf for five years. He said: “He’s a badass. That’s just how he was. He’s not afraid. I love my boy, I just loved him.”
Jansen, recalling the moments of terror, said she heard a woman screaming, “I’ve been shot!” She recalls the boom of gunfire and the acrid smell of gunpowder. She said: “There was kind of a break in between each gunshot. Every gunshot, I was like, ‘This is it . . . I’m done for.’ Jon gave me one good push against that concrete again and then... I didn’t really feel his arms against my back anymore but I knew he was still there.”
She realized that Jon had taken a bullet when the shooting stopped and he did not move when she tried to get him up. She said: "I started shaking him and saying, ‘Jon, Jon, we have to go... it’s time for us to get out of here.'"
According to MSNBC, she said: "I guess I didn’t really know he had passed up until I started shaking him."
'He pushed her to the floor and ended up getting a bullet'
Barbara Slivinske, 57, the aunt of survivor Amanda Lindgren, said her niece's 24-year-old boyfriend Teves, threw her to the ground as bullets flew around in the theater. She said: "He pushed her to the floor to save her and he ended up getting a bullet. He was gonna hit the floor himself, but he never made it.”
Alex Teves and Amanda Lindgren
Samanrtha Yowler also said her boyfriend Matt McQuinn, shielded her body from bullets. Yowler survived with a gunshot wound to the knee and she has undergone a surgery.
MSNBC reports witnesses say McQuinn shielded his girlfriend when the shooting started. Samantha's brother, Nick, was also at the theater. He helped to get his sister out and was unharmed.
Matt McQuinn via Facebook
Matt McQuinn and Samantha Yowler
The McQuinn's family lawyer Robert Scott, said in a statement: “Both the Yowler and McQuinn families thank everyone for their concerns, thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. Unfortunately, Matt perished from the injuries he sustained during the tragic events that unfolded... and went home to be with his maker.”
McQuinn, 27, and Yowler, met at a Target store in Springfield, Ohio, where they both worked. A co-worker said: “He was a great outgoing person. We lost a great person and we still can’t picture or realize that he’s gone.”