A friend and former classmate of Aurora, Colo. shooting victim Matthew McQuinn has designed a t-shirt in honor of his friend.
David Kasel, who owns SignStein Graphics, designed and started selling the T-shirts in honor of McQuinn, a Springfield native and 2004 Vandalia Butler High School grad, who reportedly died inside the Century 16 Cinema shielding girlfriend Samantha Yowler, a 2004 Graham High School graduate, from gunfire.
“Making shirts and doing this is part of the grieving process,” Kasel said. “I’m channeling my aggression or grief toward these shirts and the promotion of these shirts.”
McQuinn’s body has been released to his family, Arapahoe County, Colo. officials said on Wednesday. A visitation is slated for 2 to 4 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m. Friday at Maiden Lane Church of God in Springfield, and the funeral will be at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Kasel envisions a sea of his T-shirts at McQuinn’s viewing. The money made from the shirts will be donated to McQuinn’s family to help cover funeral costs, he said.
“We feel like this is really coming from his heart and (Kasel’s) not benefiting from it at all,” said Herb Shaffer, McQuinn’s uncle, who will have a hand in officiating his funeral on Saturday. “We’ve been polling the family to get their sizes so they can all have one.” On Wednesday, Jerri Jackson, McQuinn’s mother, called the store to order 27 shirts for family members.
Kasel and McQuinn were friends and graduated in 2004 from Vandalia Butler High School. The two had been classmates since eighth grade. Kasel said the shooting at the midnight showing of the “Dark Knight Rises” film was “surreal.”
Rob Scott, attorney for the McQuinn and Yowler families said earlier this week that Samantha Yowler is recovering after she was shot in the leg during the attack. She’s wearing an air cast and had surgery on Friday. Yowler’s brother, Nick, also was in the theater but was uninjured.
Kasel’s shirts read “Matt McQuinn” across the chest and “Hero” in large lettering underneath. His birth and death dates are included on the shirt accompanied with two Batman symbols slightly altered by Kasel to read as “M.M.” — McQuinn’s initials.
“I sat down and was just reading about the stories,” Kasel said. “I looked at a Batman symbol and I realized the top of it kind of made an “M.” I cut it and modified it so the two symbols would make two Ms.”
The T-shirt project is his first for the company. Shirts are selling for $15 each and Kasel has raised more than $200.
“There are eight or nine people coming in this afternoon to pick some up,” he said on Wednesday. Requests have been more than Kasel originally anticipated. Kasel said he is actually 11 shirts behind schedule, but will continue to work.
“I want to see everyone wear one to support Matt,” he said. “We just want to give the biggest check possible to his family.”
Twelve people died in the Aurora shooting. The alleged shooter, 24-year-old James Holmes, made his initial appearance in court on Monday. It may be a year before the case goes to trial, according to reports.
To purchase T-shirts, place an order via the SignStein Graphics website or by getting in touch with Kasel via Facebook. Interested buyers also can email Fun_services@yahoo.com or Kasel.firstname.lastname@example.org. Kasel's office is located at 6060 Executive Blvd, Huber Heights, Ohio, 45424.