A victim remembered

BY BEN MARKS | JUNE 15, 2015 5:00 AM

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Around 200 people gathered outside the Iowa Children’s Museum on Sunday to remember and honor 20-year-old museum employee Andrea Farrington, the victim of a June 12 shooting at the Coral Ridge Mall.

“She always had a smile on her face; she’s totally positive and super creative,” said Deb Dunkhase, the executive director of the museum, during the memorial service. “She would often come to work one day with blue hair, one day with red hair, one day with purple hair — and we loved that about her.”

Farrington was a resident of Cedar Rapids and was working at the museum’s information kiosk near the carousel and food court on Friday when, at around 7:30 p.m., 22-year-old Alexander Kozak, who had worked as a mall security officer, allegedly approached her and shot her three times in the back before fleeing.

The mall was locked down, people were evacuated, and Farrington was transported to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, where she was pronounced dead.

Coralville Mayor John Lundell, Monica Nadeau, general manager of the mall, and Wayne Heffner of LIFEchurch in North Liberty also spoke at the memorial.

“Turnout this morning is a true testament to the number of lives Andrea touched,” Nadeau said. “As I look around, I see friends and family of Andrea; I’m reminded of the impact that she had on the people around her.”

Kozak, a North Liberty resident, was captured on I-80 and charged early Saturday morning with first-degree murder.

While in police custody, he allegedly admitted the shooting was premeditated; he is being held on a $10 million bond.

Kozak is currently the only suspect in the shooting and has a preliminary hearing set for June 23.

Initially, the identity of the victim was not known; officials released Farrington’s name early on the evening of June 13. During the press conference Johnson County prosecutor Janet Lyness said Kozak and Farrington knew each other through their jobs, but officials have not yet released a motive for the shooting.

“She was an amazing, incredible person,” Dunkhase said. “We loved having her at the Children’s Museum. Andrea wasn’t just an employee … we’re not just a staff, we’re not just a team. We’re a real family, and that’s why we cared so much about Andrea.”

During the service, Dunkhase recounted Farrington’s fondness for Peter, the museum’s turtle, and said she often played with him and took him on walks, a memory that brought a soft laugh from many of the service’s attendees.

Because of this, Dunkhase announced, the museum will dedicate Peter’s exhibit to Farrington’s memory, and officials plan on building “something really fun” to be unveiled in around a month.

“Hopefully, when everyone comes in the museum again, they can stop and think [of Farrington],” she said.

Teal was featured heavily in the memorial service because it was Farrington’s favorite color.

Teal ribbon pins were handed out at the memorial service, teal ribbons and hearts circled pillars, and Farrington’s museum coworkers created a sculpture for visitors to attach messages and ribbons to.

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