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Gordon W. Cowden

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Described by his family as "a true Texas gentleman that loved life and his family," Gordon W. Cowden, one of the 12 people killed in Friday's shooting rampage Aurora, Colo., was an Austin native.

In a statement to reporters, the family said Cowden, 51, was a "loving father, outdoorsman and small business owner."

Cowden, who lived in Aurora, had taken his two teenage children to see the midnight premiere of "The Dark Knight Rises." Minutes into the film, a gunman opened fire and set off gas canisters in a theater, killing Cowden and 11 others, injuring 58 people, police have said. Authorities have identified the gunman as 24-year-old James Holmes.

Cowden's children escaped unharmed, the family said.

"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," the family stated.

A family spokeswoman did not say when Cowden last lived in the Austin area, but a search of public records found addresses in Colorado listed under Cowden's name since at least 2001.

Cowden's father, George M. Cowden, who lives in West Lake Hills, is a former Texas State Representative and who later worked in state agencies and is now an attorney in Austin. George M. Cowden was a Waco Democrat from 1963 to 1966 before resigning to be an assistant Attorney General, state records show.

The elder Cowden could not be reached at his home phone number. The family also said it is not granting interviews.

"The family of Gordon Cowden wishes to express appreciation for the concern and prayers offered to us during this very difficult time. Our hearts go out to everyone that has been harmed by this senseless tragedy," the family said.
Published in Austin American-Statesman on July 23, 2012
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