"This wasn't a car accident or cancer or anything," Allen said. "My best friend was murdered. She was murdered. I have to say that for the rest of my life; I don't know how to deal with that. The odds of my best friend being murdered? At the movies?
"I don’t know how I can watch that movie again, and that sucks. That really, really sucks. I want to watch that movie again, and I know I can't. It could be next year. It could be two years."
Jessica Redfield was the first victim in the Aurora, Colo. shooting last week at the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises.
Allen, 25, is a TCU grad who works as a producer for a TV station in South Bend, Indiana. She was also a student of mine at TCU a few years ago. Of the many interviews or conversations I have had in my career, this was one of the saddest.
One week ago she attended the midnight premiere of The Dark Knight Rises in Indiana, one hour earlier than Redfield in Denver.
"We talked every day that week but Thursday. We didn't coordinate going or anything," Allen said.
Allen didn't know about the shootings until 9:30 a.m. when her phone was littered with text messages conveying sorrow and "I am here for you to talk".
"Then I went on Twitter and that's when I found out," Allen said. "I found out she was dead through Twitter."
It has been well documented over the past week that Redfield, who like Allen was a young TV journalist, narrowly avoided the mall shootings in Toronto. She had been in Toronto visiting her boyfriend.
"She had been in the food court and wanted sushi and changed her mind. She told me, 'I was feeling funny' so they stepped outside for fresh air and that's when it happened," Allen said. "She had been in the same place where it happened.
"She called me right after and said, 'That could have been me.' She said, 'I know this is cheeseball but you really have to live every moment like it's your last.'"
Jessica was studying broadcasting in Denver and interning at various places in hopes of landing a gig. The last time Allen saw Redfield was in Ann Arbor, Michigan when the two attended the Michigan-Notre Dame football game on Sept. 10, 2011.
"I was going through my phone the other day and I have this video of us at The Big House on the field together the day before the game," said Allen, who was on the field for media purposes. "The No. 1 thing on Jessica's Bucket List was to score a touchdown at The Big House. I had the camera rolling and the camera guy threw her a football but she didn't catch it on the first throw. She caught it on the second throw and that was it. She scored a touchdown at The Big House. That was her No. 1 thing on her bucket list and I saw it."
"She really wanted to be a sportscaster in the worst way," Allen said. "We're both broke. Neither of us makes any money and I do think one of the things she would want is to help people who want to do this to have some help to do what she wanted.
"Jess' wanted for people to know who she was. She didn't want to be famous or anything, but she wanted people to know her name. Now they do. Diane Sawyer talked about her. In a way, Jess made it. And for those of us who knew her it won't be the last of her story."
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