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Identities of Las Vegas shooting victims begin to emerge

Nurse, local government workers, and student among victims identified from across US and Canada as families voice grief on social media

A registered nurse from Tennessee and a mechanics apprentice from Maple Ridge, British Columbia, were among the first identified victims of Sunday nights mass shooting in Las Vegas.

The music festival attracted more than 20,000 spectators from all over the country and beyond. As more victims begin to be identified, they will probably hail from a long list of different cities and towns.

Sonny
Photograph: AP

Sonny Melton

Sonny Melton, 29, who lived in Big Sandy, Tennessee, and worked at a nearby hospital, was the first victim publicly identified. Family members confirmed to the news station WSMV that he was killed in the gunfire.

His wife, Heather Melton, told WZTV that her husband had shielded her from bullets on the ground when the shooting began. He saved my life and lost his, she said.

A friend of the couple told the Paris (Tennessee) Post-Intelligencer that the two had gotten married about a year ago.

I want everyone to know what a kindhearted loving man he was, but at this point I can barely breathe, Heather Melton wrote to USA Today.

The couple both worked at Henry County medical center in Tennessee, he as a registered nurse, she as an orthopedic surgeon. The thoughts and prayers of the entire HCMC family are with Sonny and Heathers families, the centers chief executive, Thomas Gee, said in a statement.

Jordan
Photograph: CBC

Jordan McIldoon

The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reported that a 23-year-old British Columbia man, Jordan McIldoon, was also among the dead, according to his parents. Another concertgoer posted on Facebook on Sunday night that McIldoon had died in [her] arms.

We only had one child, McIldoons parents told CBC. We just dont know what to do.

Bailey
Photograph: web

Bailey Schweitzer

Local outlets in Bakersfield, California, have confirmed with family members that 20-year-old Bailey Schweitzer was killed in the attack. The Los Angeles Times reported that Schweitzer was a receptionist at Infinity Communications and Consulting, a software company in Bakersfield.

Bailey was always the ray of sunshine in our office on a cloudy day, Infinitys chief executive Fred Brakeman told the Times. No one could possibly have a bad day when Bailey was around. If you have ever called or visited our office, she was the perky one that helped direct you to the staff member you needed.

Dana

Dana Gardner

San Bernardino County officials announced in an email to staff that Dana Gardner, 52, a longtime county employee, had died Monday morning from gunshot wounds sustained in the onslaught. Five other county employees who were also at the concert are said to have been injured.

Bob Dutton, the assessor-recorder-county clerk, told the Sun that Gardner, the deputy recorder Dana Gardner, 52, was a go-to person and a dedicated public servant.

Jessica
Photograph: Handout/Reuters

Jessica Klymchuk

Jessica Klymchuk, an Edmonton, Alberta, mother of four, was also confirmed dead in the shooting. In a statement, Albertas premier, Rachel Notley, called the incident an act of violence that is almost beyond comprehension in a time of peace.

Klymchuk worked as an educational assistant, librarian and bus driver for St Stephens School, according to the Edmonton Journal.

Tina Moore, who had worked with Klymchuk, said: She did so much for her children. She went over and above for them.

Klymchuk was in Vegas with her fiance for the music festival.

Quinton

Quinton Robbins

The first Las Vegas resident identified as a victim was 20-year-old Quinton Robbins, a student at the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.

On Facebook, a woman who identified herself as Robbinss aunt wrote: He was the most kind and loving soul. Everyone who met him loved him. His contagious laugh and smile. He was truly an amazing person.

Rhonda
Photograph: Facebook

Rhonda LeRocque

Rhonda LeRocque, of Tewksbury, Massachusetts, was identified as a victim by relatives. Her family told Boston 25 News that she was with her husband, Jason, when she was shot in the back of the head.

[Her husband] thought she ducked and she didnt she was caught in the back of the head, Rhondas half-sister Jennifer Zelenski said.

Denise
Photograph: Facebook

Denise Burditus

Denise Burditus, of Martinsville, West Virginia, was also among the first victims to be identified.

Her husband, who was also at the concert, mourned her on Facebook. 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 Burditus wrote. Denise passed in my arms. I LOVE YOU BABE.

Sandy

Sandy Casey

The city of Manhattan Beach, California, lost Sandy Casey, 35, a middle school teacher. A local paper, the Daily Breeze, reported that Casey was a special-education teacher from Redondo Beach, and had attended the Route 91 Harvest festival with a group of fellow teachers, principals and staff members from Manhattan Beach Unified, which shared news of her death in an email to parents.

Casey was engaged to Christopher Willemse, a special-education aide, according to the Daily Breeze. He shared a photo of the couple on Facebook and wrote: As I sit and mourn such a beautiful life gone too fast, all I can say is look up and watch the birds fly high and free today as thats where I feel you smiling down upon all of us. I love you baby girl! Love you to pieces!

Rachel
Photograph: Manhattan Beach police

Rachael Parker

Also of Manhattan Beach, Rachael Parker was a 10-year veteran civilian employee of its police department.

Her mother, Robin Monter, told KXLY, a TV news station in Spokane, that Parker was brilliant and had a heart of gold. She also said her daughter volunteered with the elderly and the homeless.

Angela

Angela Gomez

A 2015 graduate of Riverside Polytechnic high school in Riverside, California, Angela Gomez was identified by the Riverside Unified school district as one of the victims, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

On Monday, a Facebook post read: It is with heavy hearts that we inform you that one of the victims of the Las Vegas shooting tragedy was a 2015 graduate of Riverside Poly High School.

The high schools staff described Gomez as fun-loving young lady with a great sense of humor who had a warm heart and loving spirit.

Gomez, a cheerleader in high school, was described by her former English teacher and cheer coach, Lupe Avila, as a wonderful young woman who had her whole life ahead of her.


Charleston
Photograph: Facebook

Charleston Hartfield

An off-duty Las Vegas police officer and military veteran named Charleston Hartfield was identified by friends as a victim, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.

I dont know a better man than Charles, said Troy Rhett, who said hed been friends with Hartfield for eight years. They say its always the good ones we lose early. Theres no truer statement than that with Charles.

Stan King, who wrote RIP Brother on Hartfields Facebook page, told the Review-Journal that Hartfield was one of the nicest guys ever and would be remembered as the most true-blue American guy Ive ever met.

Adrian
Photograph: Facebook

Adrian Murfitt

A close friend of Adrian Murfitt watched as medics tried unsuccessfully to resuscitate him, the New York Times reported.

Murfitt, 35, was a commercial salmon fisherman in his home state of Alaska. He loved playing hockey, could fix almost anything mechanical, and was devoted to his dog, Paxson, a Western Siberian Laika.

After working long hours throughout the summer, he and two other childhood friends booked tickets for the Route 91 Harvest country music festival, his sister, Shannon Gothard, told the Times.

Murfitt was with his friend, Brian MacKinnon, when shooting broke out, Gothard told the Times.

He was just having a good time, enjoying himself and got shot in the neck, she said of her brother. A woman standing next to Mr. Murfitt was shot in the head, Mr. MacKinnon told the family.

He watched as medics tried to resuscitate Mr. Murfitt, though the medics told Mr. MacKinnon to leave the scene for his own safety.

Susan
Photograph: www.simivalleyacorn.com

Susan Smith

Susan Smith, 53, was a popular office manager at an elementary school in Simi Valley, Calif. She had two children.

Her father, Tom Rementer, told the New York Times that his daughter was a wonderful person.

Smith had worked at the Vista Elementary School in Simi Valley, California, for three years and the school district for 16 years, a spokesperson for the school district told ABC News.

She had been attending the festival with two friends, who both survived.

Lisa
Photograph: Facebook

Lisa Romero-Muniz

Lisa Romero-Muniz, a high school secretary from Gallup, New Mexico, was an incredible loving and sincere friend, mentor and advocate for students, the Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools interim superintendent, Mike Hyatt, said in a statement.

As a colleague, she was also outgoing, kind and considerate of all those she worked with, he said.

A wife, mother, and grandmother, Romero-Muniz had been in Las Vegas with her husband to see the country music singer Jason Aldean for their wedding anniversary.

She was beyond excited, said Rosie Fernandez, her friend and supervisor at the high school where they worked told the New York Times.

For her husband to remember her anniversary and do all of that, this was a big thing for her.

John
Photograph: Facebook

John Phippen

John Phippen of Santa Clarita, California, was with his son, Travis, at the country music festival in Las Vegas when he was struck by a bullet in the lower back, Reuters said.

Travis, an emergency medical technician, carried his father to a car that took them to Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center, where the elder Phippen died from his injuries.

He was my best friend, Travis told the Los Angeles Times. He never did anything wrong to anybody. He was always kind and gentle. He was the biggest teddy bear I knew.

In the chaotic scene, Travis had been shot in the arm but didnt realise it until he arrived at the hospital. He is staying with family in the Las Vegas area until the Clark County coroner releases his fathers body.

A GoFundMe page set up by a neighbour described Phippen as having a heart that was larger than life and a personality to match.

Chris Roybal

Roybal, 28, was a United States military veteran who served in Afghanistan. He was in Las Vegas celebrating his birthday with with his mother, who survived, ABC News reported.

In a Facebook post from July, Roybal described what it was like to come under gunfire during combat.

I remember that first day, not sure how to feel. It was never fear, to be honest, mass confusion. Sensory overload…followed by the most amount of natural adrenaline that could never be duplicated through a needle, he wrote.

Unfortunately, as the fights continue and as they as increase in numbers and violence, that excitement fades and the anger is all thats left.

The anger stays, long after your friends have died, the lives youve taken are buried and your boots are placed neatly in a box in some storage unit.

Still covered in the dirt youve refused to wash off for fear of forgetting the most raw emotions you as a human being will ever feel again.

Whats it like to be shot at? Its 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.




Read more: http://www.theguardian.com/us

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