Navy Veteran Killed in Colorado Movie Theater Massacre May Have Tried to Stop Gunman
RENO, Nev. – A Navy veteran who died after throwing himself in front of a friend during the Colorado movie theater shooting was remembered Friday for his fearlessness and optimism.
Some mourners at the funeral for 26-year-old Jonathan Blunk also said they've been told by officials that there are indications he may have tried to stand up to the heavily armed gunman and stop him during the July 20 attack in Aurora, Colo.
"Law enforcement is leaning toward he was trying to get the (suspect's) gun to save people's lives," said Roland Lackey, an Air Force veteran who officiated the service. "He was a hero, and I salute him."
FBI spokesman Dave Joly in Denver said Friday that a court gag-order prevented him from commenting on the case. Officials have not yet indicated publicly whether anyone inside the Aurora theater confronted
suspected gunman James Holmes during the shooting spree that left 12 people dead and dozens wounded.
Among the 500 mourners who packed a mortuary in the Nevada city where Blunk was raised were his wife, Chantel; daughter, Hailey, 4; son, Maximus, 2; and dozens of service members.
Blunk, who served three tours in the Middle East from 2004 to 2009, was credited for saving his friend's life when the heavily armed gunman burst into the midnight showing of the Batman film "The Dark Knight Rises."
Kyle Dawson, his shipmate in the Navy, said authorities told Blunk's widow that her husband also matched the description of a man who went after the suspect.
Based on where Blunk's body was found in the theater, Dawson said, "he was trying to get the guy ... Jonny had no fear in any situation. You could count on him in any circumstance. He was a once-in-a-lifetime friend."
FBI spokesman Dave Joly in Denver said Friday that a court gag-order prevented him from commenting on the case.
James Holmes, 24, a former doctoral student in neuroscience, was charged with dozens of counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder in the July 20 attack, one of the deadliest mass shootings in recent U.S. history.
Blunk, a 2004 graduate of Hug High School in Reno, lived in Aurora and worked for a small flooring company. He planned to re-enlist in the Navy with a goal of becoming a Navy SEAL.
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