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Military officials identify sailor, airmen killed in Colo. theater attack

By CARLOS SADOVI AND PETER NICKEAS | Chicago Tribune | Published: July 21, 2012

Military officials have identified a sailor and an airman as two of the people killed in Friday's theater shootings in Colorado.

The Navy identified Petty Officer 3rd Class John Larimer, 27, of Crystal Lake, Ill., as one of the victims, and a Pentagon spokesman identified Staff Sgt. Jesse Childress as the other.

A sister of John Larimer said that they were notified after Larimer's brother flew to Colorado and was told that John Larimer, who was in the U.S. Navy, was one of the dead.

"He's among one of the dead," said an older sister who did not give her name.

"They are still listing him as missing, but we would like to say that he is in fact dead," said the sister, who broke out into tears.

She said her other brother was flying into Crystal Lake for a family gathering this weekend but switched his flight to Denver to try and get details about their sibling.

"He got there about 5:30 their time and they brought them all together, all the people they hadn't told what was going on, and they told him then and he called us," said the sister.

In a statement, the Larimer family said that at about midnight a Navy notification team arrived at their home to let them officially know that "our 27 year old son John was in fact one of the 12 killed at the theater in Aurora, Colorado."

"At this point our other son Noel is in Denver working with the Navy and the family here in Illinois to make arrangements to bring John home," according to the statement.

"We respectfully ask that the family and friends of John be allowed time and privacy to grieve for John and we send our thoughts and prayers out to the families of the other victims and those still recovering in the hospital. We love you John and we will miss you always."

Larimer was a Petty Officer 3rd Class assigned to Aurora, Co. as a cryptologic technician. He was assigned there in October 2011 after joining the navy in June 2011, a spokesman said. It was his first duty station after training.

A Navy notification team contacted the Larimer family last night and are working with the family to provide support for the family and their friends. Larimer is eligible for a military burial but the arrangements are up to the family, the spokesman said.

"I am incredibly saddened by the loss of Petty Officer John Larimer--he was an outstanding shipmate," Cmdr. Jeffrey Jakuboski, Larimer's commanding officer, said in a statement early Saturday."A valued member of our Navy team, he will be missed by all who knew him. My heart goes out to John's family, friends and loved ones, as well as to all victims of this horrible tragedy."

Larimer and another sailer wounded in the incident were from a unit that belongs to U.S. Fleet Cyber Command/U.S. Tenth Fleet, located at Buckley Air Force Base in Colorado, the Navy said.

Earlier, Department of Defense officials said a sailor was injured and one, known to have been at the theatre that evening, was initially unaccounted for.

Two airmen were injured in the incident, the agency said. The Navy and the Air Force are working with the families of these servicemen.

Distributed by MCT Information Services