Avonna Murfitt/AP; Courtesy of Simi Valley, Calif. School District; Heather Melton/WSMV
This article originally appeared on Time.
Sonny Melton and his wife, Heather, were listening to Jason Aldean sing some country tunes at a Las Vegas music festival Sunday night when a noise rang out — the sounds of gunfire.
Melton, a 29-year-old nurse in Nashville, sprang into action — shielding Heather from the barrage of bullets that rained down on the crowd of more than 22,000 people. Heather was one of the lucky survivors. Melton was not.
“At this point, I’m in complete disbelief and despair. I don’t know what to say. Sonny was the most kind-hearted, loving man I have ever met. He saved my life and lost his,” she said in a statement to NBC affiliate WCYB.
Melton is one of at least 59 people who were killed in the shooting, which is now the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. More than 500 concertgoers, hailing from different cities all over the country and world, were injured in the shooting at the Route 91 Harvest country music festival. One victim was a middle school special education teacher from southern California. Another victim was a beloved secretary in New Mexico.
Information about the victims of the Las Vegas massacre slowly emerged Monday as families and friends learned the devastating news. Authorities are still investigating how the attack unfolded, but police identified 64-year-old Stephen Paddock as the lone gunman behind the rampage. Paddock opened fire on the Route 91 concert from his hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, where he had been staying for days. When a SWAT team swarmed his room, they found Paddock dead from a self-inflicted gun shot wound — and later seized at least 17 guns from the room, according to police.
Here is a list of those identified as victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas so far.
Disney employee Carrie Barnette was among those killed in Sunday’s mass shooting, Chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company Robert Iger confirmed in a statement Monday evening.
“Carrie Barnette had been a member of the Disney California Adventure culinary team for ten years and was beloved by her friends and colleagues,” Iger wrote. “Our thoughts are with her family, along with our support, during this incredibly difficult time.”
Jessica Milam, another Disney employee, was seriously injured in Las Vegas, Iger said. In a separate Twitter post, he described the shooting as a “senseless, horrific, act, and a terrible loss for so many.”
Denise Burditus of Martinsburg, West Virginia, was a grandmother and attended the festival with her husband, Tony. “It saddens me to say that I lost my wife of 32 years, a mother of two, soon to be grandmother of five this evening in the Las Vegas shooting,” Tony wrote on his Facebook page, according to MetroNews, a radio station in West Virginia. “Denise passed in my arms. I LOVE YOU BABE.”
Tony posted a picture of the two of them kissing on his Facebook page on Monday.
A special education teacher at Manhattan Beach Middle School in southern California, Sandy Casey had a demonstrable impact on her students, their families and the school community, according to a statement from Manhattan Beach Unified School District superintendent Mike Matthews, published by the Daily Breeze.
Dana Gardner, 52
Dana Gardner, who had worked for San Bernardino County, Calif. for 26 years, died Monday after sustaining two gunshot wounds, the San Bernardino County Assessor/Recorder’s office said.
“I am so very sorry to report that one of the Assessor/Recorder employees in attendance at the event was shot twice and, tragically, passed away this morning,” San Bernardino County Interim CEO Dena Smith said in an email to the Board of Supervisors, according to local media reports.
Angie Gomez was a 2015 graduate from Riverside Polytechnic High School in Riverside, Calif., the school’s PTSA confirmed in a Facebook post. “She will always be loved and endeared by our Poly Family,” the post said.
Charleston Hartfield, 34
The off-duty Las Vegas police officer who was killed during the shooting, Charleston Hartfield was a youth football coach, husband and father, according friends of his who spoke to the Las Vegas Review-Journal and other media outlets.
“Coach Hartfield touched many lives both on and off the field,” his youth football team, called the Henderson Cowboys, wrote in a Facebook post. “He was a great man who we all lost way to early.”
Hartfield was also a published author, who wrote a memoir detailing his time working in law enforcement in Las Vegas, titled Memoirs of a Public Servant. It was published in July.
Jennifer Irvine, 42
Jennifer Irvine, a San Diego attorney, reportedly passed after her final moments singing, dancing and holding hands with her girlfriends.
Kyle Krasta, the Sports Director for CBS News and longtime friend of Irvine’s, described her as “a shining light that will not be extinguished by a gutless coward with a gun,” in a Facebook post Monday. “You bought so much joy to others, including me,” he wrote. “You left this world singing & dancing, but far too soon.”
According to Irvine’s profile in a directory of legal professionals, her interests included snowboarding and hot yoga. She had earned a black belt in the Korean martial art Taekwon-do.
Jessica Klymchuk, a Canadian resident, mother and wife, was also killed in the shooting. She was an educational assistant, bus driver and librarian at the St. Stephen’s School in Valleyview, Alberta, according to CBC.
“Our hearts go out to the loved ones of the Albertan who was killed in the Las Vegas attack,” Alberta Premier Rachel Notely wrote on Twitter. “We are so sorry for your loss.”
Grieving family members told the Boston Globe that Rhonda LeRocque from Tewksbury, Mass., was killed while attending Sunday’s open-air concert with her husband and young daughter.
“All I know is someone started shooting and people are running and she got shot in the head,” said Carol Marquis, LeRocque’s grandmother. “And we lost a dear, close, good person — one of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life.”
LeRoque worked for a design firm in Cambridge, Mass., and was active in her church, the Globe reports. Family members said her husband and daughter were unharmed.
Jordan McIldoon, 23
Jordan McIldoon was a mechanic apprentice from Maple Ridge, British Columbia in Canada. British Columbia Premier John Horgan said all government buildings in Victoria and Maple Ridge would fly their flags half mast in McIldoon’s honor.
McIldoon’s last moments were spent with Heather Gooze, a Las Vegas bartender who was helping injured festival-goers. When a group of men came carrying McIldoon, Gooze stayed with him, she told CBC Radio. She “felt his fingers, like, tighten and then loosen,” she said, discovering that he had died. She then stayed with him, answering calls from his loved ones on his cell phone, and messaging his family members on Facebook.
“I would never want myself or one of my family members to be left alone,” Gooze told CBC Radio. “I needed to make sure that they could identify him, that they knew who he was, that they knew he has a girlfriend who was here.”
McIldoon’s girlfriend, Amber, was unharmed.
Sonny Melton, 29
Sonny Melton, a certified nurse from Tennessee, saved his wife’s life during the shooting. His wife, Dr. Heather Gulish Melton, remembered him a heartbreaking Facebook post. “Sonny was the most kind-hearted, loving man I have ever met. He saved my life and lost his,” she wrote.
Adrian Murfitt, 35
Adrian Murfitt, 35, was a fisherman from Anchorage, Alaska, with a lifelong interest in hockey, his sister told the Associated Press. He traveled to the festival as a reward for a successful fishing season, his sister said.
Racheal Parker was a record technician at the Manhattan Beach Police Department in Manhattan Beach, Calif., for 10 years. She “will be greatly missed,” the department wrote in a statement.
California-based kindergarten teacher Jenny Parks was in Las Vegas with her husband Bobby Parks for Sunday’s concert. The parents of two were high school sweethearts, AP reports, and Jenny had been planning to throw a 40th birthday party for her husband next week. While Bobby, who was shot in the arm, made it out of the concert alive, Jenny did not.
“It breaks my heart,” their friend Jessica Maddin said. “People go to concerts to have a good time, connect with others and escape the tragedies of this world.”
Lisa Romero, 48
A beloved secretary at Miyamura High School in Gallup, N.M., Lisa Romero was an “incredible, loving and sincere friend, mentor and advocate for our students,” Mike Hyatt, interim superintendent of Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools, said at a press conference on Monday.
Christopher Roybal, 28
Christopher Roybal, a U.S. Navy veteran who survived two shootouts while serving in Afghanistan, died in the hail of gunfire at the concert, his mother told the New York Daily News on Monday. “I got confirmation today,” said Roybal’s mom, Debby Allen. “The coroner told me. It sounds like he got shot pretty quickly. I feel like I’m living in a nightmare, I want to wake up so badly.”
Roybal was about to turn 29. He and his mother were in Vegas celebrating his upcoming birthday. Allen told the News she was supposed to meet her son at the concert after a nap. But when she got there, gunfire had erupted. A concert-goer pulled her away to safety, but Allen fought to run towards danger to find her son. “I desperately wanted to go back in to find him. Nobody would let me go back in. They were pulling me away. I kept screaming, ‘My son! My son!’ But they said, ‘You can’t go back into the gunfire,’” Allen said. “It was horrible. I couldn’t keep my feet underneath me. I kept collapsing.”
Allen said her son served seven years in the Navy, from 2005 to 2012. This year, Roybal moved from California to Colorado to help open other Crunch Fitness gyms, his boss, David Harman, told the Associated Press. “He is a guy that could always put a smile on your face … after all the stuff he had been through,” Harman said.
In a Facebook post in July, Roybal described the trauma and fear that comes with getting shot at during battle. “What’s it like to be shot at? It’s a nightmare no amount of drugs, no amount of therapy and no amount of drunk talks with your war veteran buddies will ever be able to escape,” he wrote.
Bailey Schweitzer, 20
Infinity Communications and Consulting, where Bailey Schweitzer worked as a receptionist, released a statement Monday confirming her death in Las Vegas. Company CEO Fred Brakeman described her as “the ray of sunshine in our office on a cloudy day.”
“If you have ever called or visited our office, she was the perky one that helped direct you to the staff member you needed,” Brakeman wrote.
Schweitzer grew up in Bakersfield, Calif., where her father Scott Schweitzer owns the Bakersfield Speedway car racing track, according to local media reports.
Susan Smith, 53
Susan Smith was the office manager at Vista Fundamental Elementary School in Simi Valley, Calif. The school’s PTA described her as “a wonderful woman, an advocate for our children, and a friend,” in a post on Facebook, where parents and co-workers shared their condolences and memories of her positive, upbeat attitude and sense of humor.
A mother of three boys, Neysa Tonks was confirmed dead in a statement issued by her workplace Technologent, an IT firm based in Irvine, Calif.
The statement described Tonks as a great mother, colleague and friend. “Neysa has brought so much joy, fun and laughter to Technologent – she will be greatly missed by all!” it read.
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