His name was Alexander Boik, but to the hundreds who stood on the Gateway High School football field to remember him Saturday, he was AJ.
In a statement issued earlier Saturday, his family called Boik a young man with "a warm and loving heart."
In the twilight on Saturday, surrounded by people holding purple balloons, friends recalled a guy who made people laugh, who loved softball and who loved movies so much he never missed a premiere.
"He was the life of the party. AJ could bring a smile to anybody's face," said one of a dozen speakers who paid tribute to their friend outside the high school Boik graduated from just two months ago.The young man, who declined to give his name, said he had known Boik since they were freshmen at Gateway.
His girlfriend, whom friends identified as Lasamoa Cross, surprised everyone by saying she and AJ were secretly engaged.
"We were crazy in love. We had big plans. We were going to have everything," she said. "We are still going to have everything because he's still here. AJ lives" (in everyone who knew and loved him)," she said.
Boik's plans included attending Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design in the fall. His family said his dream was to become an art teacher and open his own studio."AJ was loved by all that knew him," his family said. "We want to try and focus on the beautiful lives that were ended and not the evil that is responsible. This is a time for us to remember
The family asked that their privacy be respected. "We are trying to move through this horrible ordeal," the family said. "Our thoughts, prayers and love go out to the other families of the victims and all those who have been touched by this senseless tragedy."