First of memorials held for Colo. victim

The service for Gordon Cowden was very moving and emotional for these two mourners, who comforted one another after the memorial had ended Wednesday. Cowden, 51, was a father and a “true Texas gentleman,” according to his family. He was one of 12 people shot to death last week in an Aurora, Colo., movie theater.

DENVER — A father who took his teenage children to the new Batman movie and was killed when a gunman opened fire on the theater was mourned Wednesday, the first memorial service for a victim of the shootings.

Gordon Cowden, 51, was the oldest of the 12 people killed in the massacre at the “The Dark Knight Rises” showing. His teenage children escaped unharmed.

Cowden lived in Aurora, the Denver suburb where the theater is located. A family statement described him as a “true Texas gentleman” who loved the outdoors and owned his own business.

“A quick-witted world traveler with a keen sense of humor, he will be remembered for his devotion to his children and for always trying his best to do the right thing, no matter the obstacle,” his family said.

Carrying flowers and passing a large portrait of Cowden, about 150 mourners gathered for the memorial at a Denver church.

Later this week, families of other victims planned to say their final goodbyes.

Funerals were planned in towns from San Antonio, home of aspiring sportscaster Jessica Ghawi, to Crystal Lake, Ill., hometown of Navy intelligence officer John T. Larimer.

Also Wednesday, residents of the apartment building where shooting suspect James Holmes lived were waiting to see if they could return home five days after the shooting.