Mother of cinema massacre victim's emotional plea for change

In the wake of a shocking shooting that killed two journalists on live television this week, the mother of a victim of the Aurora theatre massacre has recounted her daughter's last moments in a heartbreaking plea for a drastic US gun law change.

Aspiring sports journalist Jessi Ghawi, 24, was one of 12 people killed by a gunman when he opened fire in a Colorado cinema showing the Dark Knight in July 2012.

In a first person article published by News Corp, mother Sandy Phillips describes Jessi trying to organise tickets to a movie screening for her friend, but she missed out on tickets online.


"That night, I went to bed but she never mentioned going to the movie. I woke up, and I thought, ‘I’ll text her to see if she’s awake’."

Jessi wrote back straight away, letting her mother know she was seeing the Dark Knight at 12:05am.

"I thought it was an unusual movie for her to pick. First of all, she didn’t go to midnight movies and she wasn’t that much of a Batman fan."

Jessi texted her mum: “go back to bed mum and get some sleep, I can’t wait for you to come visit, I need my mamma”.

Aspiring sports journalist Jessi Ghawi, 24, was one of 12 people killed by a gunman when he opened fire in a Colorado cinema showing the Dark Knight in July 2012. Photo: Supplied

Sandy said she replied: “I need my baby girl".

It would be the last text exchange Sandy would ever have with her daughter.

Twenty minutes later, Jessi's movie partner Brent called distressed, telling Sandy he had been shot twice.

She desperately asked after Jessi. “I tried," was the only response Brent could muster.

Jessi had been shot six times and died in the police car on the way to the hospital.

The career-driven, vivacious 24-year-old reminds Sandy of 24-year-old reporter Alison Parker, who was shot on live television in what's believed to be a revenge shooting by a begrudged former reporter.

"Nothing but hope and joy in their lives, looking forward to their careers, enjoying their careers, and then I think how a bullet took everything away in a heartbeat," Sandy wrote.

Parker and Ward goofing around before on of their stories. Source: Supplied

Still coming to terms with her daughters abrupt, senseless death, Sandy now seeks to educate gun owners in the US.

We want to educate people that you are one degree of separation from this happening to you at any place, any time, anywhere," she wrote.

"It’s going to take drastic change. Drastic, purposeful leadership to get it done."

If you or someone you know needs help, don't suffer in silence, call Lifeline anytime on 13 11 14 or visit the website www.lifeline.org.au.