7:50am

Fri July 27, 2012
The Two-Way

Stories Of The Aurora Victims: Young Artist Was 'Ball Of Joy'

Originally published on Fri July 27, 2012 4:02 pm

As they're told, we're pointing to some of the stories about the 12 people who died and the 58 who were wounded when a gunman opened fire on July 20 at a movie theater in Aurora, Colo. Click here to see more. As you see others, please share the links in the comment threads.

-- "AJ" Boik, Wanted Everyone To Be Happy:

Eighteen-year-old Alexander "AJ" Boik of Aurora had graduated from high school this year and was planning to start classes at the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the fall, Denver's ABC-7 reports.

Instead, today he'll be remembered at a memorial service. Boik was among the 12 people killed.

A friend, Jordan Crofter, tells The Associated Press that Boik was "a ball of joy. He was never sad or depressed. He wanted everybody to be happy." Another friend remembers how, as a high school freshman, AJ "tried to rock the mullet" — a humorous attempt to bring back that hairstyle.

And childhood buddy Isaiah Maestas tells ABC-7 that AJ "was never negative. He was always like 'You can do this' or 'Don't worry about it I can help you out.' "

"AJ was loved by all that knew him," his family says in statement, The Denver Post adds. "We want to try and focus on the beautiful lives that were ended and not the evil that is responsible. This is a time for us to remember our loved ones and cherish the memories we have of them."

Update at 12:20 p.m. ET. More On AJ Set For Later On All Things Considered:

Ben Markus of Colorado Public Radio is due to report about AJ's funeral later today on All Things Considered. We will add the audio to the top of this post later.

-- Yousef Gharbi, Who Pushed A Friend To Safety, "May Have To Live With Bullet In His Head":

Denver's KUSA-TV tells the story of 16-year-old Yousef Gharbi, who is said to have pushed a friend to the floor when the gunfire started. Yousef was then shot in the head. Now, the station says, doctors may decide to leave the bullet where it is rather than risk doing more damage by trying to remove it.

His older sister, Katlyn, tells KUSA that for her brother to have first tried to shield someone else is "just Yousef; he's just the protector. He will take a bullet" for a friend.

Copyright 2012 National Public Radio. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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