Though Alex Teves moved out of Verona 11 years ago when he 13, his neighbors remember the Dark Knight shooting hero as a nice boy and a good student who loved Star Wars.
Mitch Martin purchased his home from the Teves family in 2001 and has lived in the house ever since.
“I spoke to them about moving to Phoenix and all the usual anxieties that come with moving across the country,” said Martin. “They were very nice people and seemed like very good parents.”
He recalls Alex not being too thrilled to have strangers look through his house and would not let anyone look in his bedroom.
“The kids tried to obstruct us from entering their rooms, but it was in a friendly childish sort of way,” he said.
He recalls during his conversations with Alex’s mother the safety of her children was her main concern regarding the move.
“It's absolutely painful to have that memory of the family,” said Martin. “They were so concerned about their children's safety. To have this happen is crushing.”
“Our hearts go out to them and we are deeply saddened by their loss and the loss of all the others,” he said.
Teves was heralded as a hero this week after being shot to death in the Aurora, Colo. massacre, while shielding his girlfriend, who survived.
Mailman Bob Rowe has been on the same mail route for 16 years. He recalls the Teves family from his route.
“They were only children when they lived here and I may have seen them playing outside from time to time,” said Rowe. “I was very shocked to hear about it when I was watching the news.”
“I do remember the mom, she was sweet,” he said. “I remember she came back about two years after they moved. I saw her pass her old house and she waved to me as she drove by.”
Charlotte Tucci, who lives on Harrison Street, shared an eighth-grade science class with Teves.
“I remember he really loved Star Wars,” she said. “I also remember a project he did in class where he invented something to water plants.”
Although they did not share the same group of friends she recalls from classes together that he was a very nice kid, she said.
Libby Skinner, the Director of Special Services for the Verona School District, knew Teves and his family when he attended Forest Avenue Elementary School.
“They are very nice, good people,” she said. “He was a very nice child, he was a good friend to the children in his class and to the other children in his school. He was also a very good student.”
Last Friday, Teves, 24, threw himself on top of his girlfriend, Amanda Lindgren, when gunman James Holmes opened fire during the premiere of the latest Batman film in Aurora, Colo.
News of his bravery and sacrifice emerged over the weekend as more information about those who died was released.
Twelve people were killed and 59 injured in the incident.