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A ‘beautiful and extraordinary lady’

Tiffany Johnson, one of four people killed in two shootings at religious centers in Colorado, was remembered as well loved by friends and family at a funeral service in Minnesota on Saturday.
/ Source: The Associated Press

The body of Tiffany Johnson, one of four people killed in two shootings at religious centers in Colorado, was returned home to northern Minnesota, where she was remembered as a young woman well loved by friends and family.

About 900 mourners packed St. Joseph's Catholic Church in Chisholm for Johnson's funeral service Saturday.

"She always told me, 'Dad, you think you can control things, but you can't. The Lord controls things,'" her father, Tom Johnson, told mourners. "I'd like to ask all of you to — instead of saying 'I love you' on the telephone to your children — to look them in the eye and say 'I love you' — because Tiff taught me that."

Johnson, 26, was working as a hospitality director at the Youth With a Mission training center in Arvada on Dec. 9 when she and another worker were killed by a gunman, a former student at the center who turned up at the door of a dormitory there.

Later that day, Matthew John Murray, 24, killed two more people at the New Life Church in Colorado Springs.

Service held for shooter
Nearly 300 people came to support Murray's family at a private service Friday in Denver, the Rocky Mountain News reported. Murray killed himself after the second attack, police said.

Johnson was born in nearby Hibbing and graduated from Hibbing High School and Normandale Community College in Bloomington, near Minneapolis.

One of Johnson's goals had been to help needy children in developing countries. John Mark, a missionary leader at Cedar Valley Church in Bloomington, called her a "beautiful and extraordinary lady."

"She was the type of person who would do anything you asked her to do," Mark said. "If you don't have love for Tiffany, something is wrong with your heart."

'This world needs more Tiffany Johnsons'
The Rev. Dave Oler of First Assembly of God Church in Hibbing officiated at the funeral.

"Jesus took Tiffany's life and blessed it and transformed it, and spread it out to the entire world," said Oler. "This world needs more Tiffany Johnsons — more people that would let God love them."

At Murray's funeral in Denver, his brother, Chris Murray, said the killings were the devil's work.

"Even though Satan attacked my brother, I truly feel God is going to save a whole generation of people through this," he said.