LAKEWOOD, Colo. — Friends and family say Sarah Steck was an amazing artist and a "bright light." Her online artist profile reads in part, “My message as a design professional is simply don’t be afraid to be different and stand out.”
Steck was killed Monday while working the front desk at the Hyatt House in Lakewood. A gunman opened fire after asking her a few questions, the same gunman who police say went on a killing rampage throughout metro Denver.
Ryan Steck, Sarah's brother, spoke out for the first time in a statement to Denver7. It says in part:
"Sarah ... was just an all around great human being as well as a role model to a bunch of people including me. She was a beautiful and kind loving person. A girl who would go out of her way to help out a person in need without hesitation. Sarah was the best big sister I could have ever asked for. Truly a beautiful soul gone too soon. My family and I send our condolences to the other victims families in this tragedy."
Laura Pipitone, who was friends with Steck, told Denver7 News that Steck was the nicest person.
"You start hearing her laugh and you would laugh," she said.
Outside the Hyatt House, Josh Garcia, executive director of Stars of Hope, delivered stars in remembrance of Steck.
“She was a light,” he said. “These stars help replace the dark and despair and really sad times with positive messages and color."
Hyatt House issued a statement, saying, “We are devastated by the sudden and tragic loss of our dear friend, Sarah Steck. Colleagues and guests knew Sarah for her infectious laugh, her love of kittens, art and music, especially Blink-182.”
It's those times, Pepitone says, she will cherish forever.
"We used to go to this thing and they still have it. It's called Emo Night. It's where you listen to like Blink-182 and Hawthorne Heights, and it's a DJ playing, and we just go there and basically just like relive our teenage years together and dance the night away," Pepitone said.
A GoFundMe for Sarah’s family reached more than $15,000 by Wednesday evening.
Mourners have paid their respects to Steck and the four other victims of the mass shooting throughout the week.
“To give respect, you know,” said mourner Kevin Evans. “I need to be here because I’ve lost, you know. I lost my daughter. This stuff has to stop. This violence has to stop. She (Steck) didn’t have to die. Nobody has to die. It’s just sad.”
At The Hornet restaurant on Broadway, owner Sean Workman is planning to donate 56% of Thursday's proceeds to the victims of the shooting and employees of the tattoo shop just down the block where the shooting rampage began.
“The 56% just coincides with their address,” Workman said. “The aftermath is devastating. We have a really tight knit community, especially a lot of the businesses that have been here on South Broadway for years. Anything we can collect for them to help them through hard time is what we want to do.”
The Tobacco Leaf is planning a fundraiser at their store for Steck on Jan. 8 at 4 p.m. The store is located near Alameda Avenue and Teller Street, which is about a half mile away from the Hyatt House.
If you would like to help the victims in the Denver-Lakewood mass shooting, click here.