AJ Boik, 18,was shot and killed by James Holmes, 24, as he attended the screening of "Dark Night Rises"
AURORA, Colo--Hundreds of people gathered in the Gateway High School baseball field Saturday evening to remember 18-year-old AJ Boik, a recent graduate and an aspiring art teacher. The school is just a mile away from the movie theater where Boik and 11 others were killed at a midnight showing of "Dark Night Rises" early Friday morning.
Boik's girlfriend, Lasamoa Cross, was with him at the theater when he was shot, according to a statement
"A lot of people didn't know we were engaged," she said. "We didn't want to disrespect our parents, being so young and crazy and in love."
"I look at it now and I think we were going to have everything," she said. Cross added that she would still be able to have everything because Boik lives on in her memory and in the hearts of everyone who knew him.
Several of Boik's friends shared stories about the teen's quick sense of humor and his fondness for goofy dancing. He was remembered as "the life of the party" and a good, kind friend who was determined to make everyone around him smile. Boik was planning on attending Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the fall.
Boik's mother fought back tears as she thanked the crowd for coming. "Please just pray for us. And thank you," she said.
Several people passed out balloons in purple--Boik's favorite color--and then the mourners released them all at once. "We love you, AJ," Cross said as the balloons drifted away.
AURORA, Colorado (Reuters) - Some 500 students and community members gathered on a field in Aurora on Saturday night to mourn the killing of 18-year-old A.J. Boik, one of the youngest victims of a shooting rampage at the midnight premiere of the new Batman film in a Denver suburb.
In one of the first vigils for the victims, the crowd poured into the field at Gateway High School to celebrate the life of classmate Boik, who had just graduated in May.
"He was a very big part of this community," said Tami Avery, 41, whose son played sports with Boik, as she handed out candles to those who came to mourn his loss. "He will be dearly missed."
By all accounts Boik -- who was among a dozen killed and 58 wounded in the massacre -- was the glue that held together the lives of the young students who gathered on the grassy field inside the track of Gateway High School on Saturday evening.
Classmates and others remembered the student who would show up to any sporting event, from women's volleyball to men's football, covered in body paint and cheering the players on.
He did the same, friends say, in music, where he chaired the viola section in the school orchestra. He would offer a ready smile and help in getting instruments tuned just right to any and all of his fellow orchestra members, his friends said.
And he was an award-winning ceramic artist who was bound for Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the fall to study art education.
Earlier on Saturday, his name appeared on the coroner's list of deceased, published nearly 36 hours after the shooting: Alexander J. Boik, 9/20/1993.
His mother had to be carried from the vigil in tears. At the end of the ceremony, attendees released balloons in school colors into the air, and they blew towards the theater.
Gateway High School, just a few blocks from the site of the shooting at the Century 16 movie theater, was used as a command post and meeting place in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting.
Later on Saturday, access to the sprawling mall where the theater is located was slowly opening up to the public, allowing a silent pilgrimage to begin.
Passersby trickled into a section of the mall parking lot that overlooks the entrance to the theater, where online videos posted in the hours after the attack showed terrified moviegoers streaming out of the front doors in horror, some of them covered in blood.
Some people snapped photos, and others just drove slowly by the complex, with its yellow purple and blue facade, now an ever-present reminder of the tragedy.
The suspect, James Holmes, a 24-year-old graduate school dropout, is in police custody and accused of killing 12 and injuring 58 people at the local multiplex theater.
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