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Photo reveals an intimate moment as Obama embraces Colorado shooting survivor

President Barack Obama hugs Stephanie Davies, who helped keep her friend, Allie Young, left, alive after she was shot during the movie theater shootings in Aurora, Colorado. The President visited patients and family members affected by the shootings at the University of Colorado Hospital July 22, 2012.

Pete Souza/The White House

An intimate photo released by the White House late Sunday captures President Barack Obama embracing one of the survivors of Friday's mass shooting at a movie theatre in Colorado.

The most gripping tale to emerge from Mr. Obama's visit to Colorado to comfort the victims' families was the story of 21-year-old Stephanie Davies and 19-year-old Allie Young.

In yet another moment in his presidency to serve as the nation's 'consoler-in-chief,' Mr. Obama recounted visiting the two young women in the hospital room and hearing how Ms. Davies saved her friend's life by pressing her fingers on the bullet wound on her neck as it "started spurting blood."

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Those encounters inside the hospital room were not captured by photographers, other than the White House photographer. A photo posted to the White House Flickr account late yesterday shows the President embracing Ms. Davies while her friend Ms. Young looks on from the hospital bed.

Later, Mr. Obama told a news conference of how Ms. Young had stood up to warn other movie-goers when the gunman entered the theatre and threw canisters of gas in to the cinema before the shooting spree.

"And she was shot in the neck, and it punctured a vein, and immediately she started spurting blood," said Mr. Obama, pressing his own fingers against his neck as he told the story.

"And apparently, as she dropped down on the floor, Stephanie – 21 years old – had the presence of mind to drop down on the ground with her, pull her out of the aisle, place her fingers over where Allie had been wounded, and applied pressure the entire time while the gunman was still shooting," said Mr. Obama, adding that Ms. Davies helped others carry her friend to an ambulance.

Mr. Obama said Ms. Young was going to be fine.

"As tragic as the circumstances of what we've seen today are, as heartbreaking as it is for the families, it's worth us spending most of our time reflecting on young Americans like Allie and Stephanie," said Mr. Obama. "They represent what's best in us, and they assure us that out of this darkness a brighter day is going to come."

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About the Author

Affan Chowdhry is the Globe's multimedia reporter specializing in foreign news. Prior to joining the Globe, he worked at the BBC World Service in London creating international news and current affairs programs and online content for a global audience. More


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