About the time I finished this feature on Jay Meloff on Thursday night and submitted it for posting, Jay's girlfriend, Jessica Ghawi, known to her friends across the sports world as Jessica Redfield, was in an Aurora, Colorado, theater when a young man, identified by police as 24-year-old James Holmes, burst in through the emergency exit and started firing into the crowd that was waiting to see the new Dark Knight movie. He killed twelve in all. 20 other victims, including a 3-month-old baby, are being treated at local hospitals. 50 were hurt all together.
Jessica became my friend over the last year. She was starting a career in sports journalism, and I regularly picked her brain about it. She was granted the ever-elusive Avalanche press credentials, and it was through her that I met Jay. Jessica and I sent messages back and forth to each other, brainstorming the article. She was instrumental in getting this project off the ground.
Jessi was smart, friendly, and amazing. A red head through and through, she was a ball of energy and fire, with a quick wit and an infectious personality. She was also a big reason why Jay wanted to play in Denver. I haven't spoken with Jay yet this morning, and it's hard to say how this tragedy will affect his plans to try out for the Cutthroats. My heart goes out to him—and all of Jessica's friends and family—during this time.