Heroic ‘Dark Knight Massacre’ Victim Died Shielding Girlfriend From Gunfire

More details are emerging regarding the so-called “Dark Knight Massacre,” and though much of the news is dedicated to understanding the shooter, James Holmes, more is also being reported about his victims. In one particular case, a story of heroism and self-sacrifice, theater-goer Matt McQuinn made a bold and heroic last stand in the shooting, preventing his girlfriend from becoming a victim of the shooter by becoming one himself.

McQuinn and his girlfriend, Samantha Yowler, met in their home state of Ohio as co-workers at a Springfield Target. They both transferred to another Target in Denver, Colorado, re-locating together last November, according to NY Daily. Late Thursday night, McQuinn, Yowler, and her brother Nick Yowler attended the fateful premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, and 27-year-old McQuinn was confirmed late Friday as a victim in the worst mass shooting in American history.

According to CBS News, when gunman James Holmes burst into the theater releasing canisters of pepper spray and opening fire on the movie-goers, McQuinn and Nick Yowler moved their bodies in front of Samantha Yowler in order to shield her from gunfire. Nick escaped the incident unharmed, Samantha took a bullet to the leg, but survived and is in fair condition after surgery to remove the round. Tragically, McQuinn’s quick-thinking heroism cost him his life.

The family’s lawyer released a statement, crediting McQuinn and Nick Yowler for saving Samantha’s life. “Both the Yowler and McQuinn families thank everyone for their concerns, thoughts and prayers during this difficult time,” the McQuinn’s lawyer, Robert L. Scott said in a statement. “The families ask for everyone to be patient and respect their wishes during this very difficult time.”

“He was a great outgoing person,” said one of the couple’s Target co-workers. “We lost a great person and we still can’t picture or realize that he’s gone.”

“The family is devastated,” said Scott.

Interestingly, Heath Ledger’s Joker, who may have inspired Holmes’s attack, said in 2008’s The Dark Knight that, “In their last moments, people show you who they really are.” McQuinn showed the world that he is a hero, a legacy that has not gone unnoticed by the media.

Matt McQuinn and Samantha Yowler

IQ sends condolences to the family of Matt McQuinn, an inspiring individual whose exceptional heroism will not be forgotten.