Amid the booms of gunfire and smoke from tear gas in a crowded Aurora, Colo., movie theater, Jansen Young felt her boyfriend give her one final push under a seat to shield her – a move she believes saved her life.
But Jon Blunk didn’t survive the attack on the Friday midnight showing of “The Dark Knight Rises” outside Denver.
"Jon just took a bullet for me," Young, a 21-year-old who recently became a certified veterinarian technician, told TODAY.
The couple, dating since October, according to Young, had been surprised to be able to get tickets on the day of the popular movie’s premiere.
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When the alleged assailant, James Eagan Holmes, began his attack on the crowd, Blunk, who Young said had some military experience, knew what was going on, Young said.
"He knew and threw me on the ground, and was like, 'We have to get down and stay down,'" she told NBC News.
In the chaos that ensued, Young recalled hearing a woman screaming, "I've been shot,” and a man who stepped on the chair she was hiding under crying out, “Jessie’s been shot.” She heard the constant "boom, boom, boom" of the guns and smelled the gunpowder.
"There was kind of a break in between each gunshot,” she said. "Every gunshot, I was like, 'This is it … I'm done for.'"
The one constant for her during the attack was Jon's arms pushing her under the seat to keep her out of the line of fire. At one point, she felt herself get struck, and showed a reporter about a dozen marks on her left torso that she believes may have been from shrapnel.
"I kind of felt that in multiple places,” she said of the marks. Then, she said, "Jon gave me one good push against that concrete again and then … I didn’t really feel his arms against my back anymore but I knew he was still there."
At first, she didn’t think he had been shot, but knew something had happened.
Courtesy Young family
"I guess I didn’t really know he had passed, up until I started shaking him and saying, 'Jon, Jon we have to go … it's time for us to get out of here,'" she said, her voice trembling.
When Young wiggled out from under the seat, few people were left in the theater. She saw some people crawling on the ground, a few still in their seats and others running out.
She tried to pull Blunk up by the shoulder, but he didn’t move, and she assumed he was dead.
Blunk's estranged wife, Chantel Blunk, who lives in Reno, Nev., with their two kids, confirmed to NBC News that the FBI said Blunk was indeed killed in the theater.
“He is the guy that would take a bullet for you. He did the right thing all the time,” Young said. “I know I would not be here today if Jon had not been next to me in that movie theater.”
She told TODAY he wasn’t just a hero that fateful Friday night, but had been one forever. She said he had been planning to re-enlist in the military.
“It was what he wanted to do. He loved it,” she said. “Even though he saved me and gave me the opportunity to live, he would’ve done that for anyone that day.”
Young said she still couldn’t believe he was gone.
“I’m still trying to decide if this is real, like you know, he’s going to walk in the door tonight when he gets off work."
I salute him. R.I.P. sir. Not just a boyfriend, but a hero.
"Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;" -Ephesians 5:25
This was the first thing that came to my mind after reading the title. No [anti]-religious bullcrap, please.