Full Article

  • Twitter Icon
  • Email Icon
  • Comments Icon
  • Facebook Icon

A Look At Some Of The Innocent Lives Lost In Las Vegas Massacre

A Look At Some Of The Innocent Lives Lost In Las Vegas Massacre
Date Posted: Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017

At least 59 people were killed and more than 500 injured after a gunman on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay on the Las Vegas strip opened fire on tens of thousands of concertgoers on Sunday night.

Here’s a look at the victims killed in the attack.

Rhonda LeRocque

A Tewksbury woman was killed in the massacre at the country music festival in Las Vegas, her sister told the Globe on Monday afternoon.

Rhonda LeRocque had been at the outdoor concert with her husband, Jason, and their 7-year-old daughter, when the gunman opened fire, according to her sister, Jennifer Zelenski. The husband and daughter were unhurt, Zelenski said.

“She’s perfect,” Zelenski said. “Her husband and daughter are the picture perfect family. They’re just the best. Rhonda would do everything to be the best mom and the best wife she could be.”

Sonny Melton

The Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tennessee said in a statement on Monday that Sonny Melton, a registered nurse, died in the shooting. His wife, Dr. Heather Melton, an orthopedic surgeon who was with him when shots were fired, survived, the medical center said.

Heather Melton told WZTV in Nashville, Tennessee that her husband ‘‘saved my life and lost his.’’ She says her husband was the most kind-hearted, loving man she ever met.

Jeremy Butler, who says he has been best friends with Sonny Melton since he was 3, told the Paris (Tennessee) Post Intelligencer that Melton was shielding his wife from gunfire when he was fatally shot.

Butler said the couple got married about a year ago.

Adrian Murfitt

Commercial fisherman Adrian Murfitt, 35, of Anchorage, Alaska, was also among the slain, a family member said Monday.

His sister, Shannon Gothard, said the family heard from one of Murfitt’s friends who was with him when he died though they haven’t received official confirmation about his death.

Asked if the family was holding out hope that he made it after all, she said, ‘‘No. No.’’

Gothard described her brother as a man with a big hearty laugh, a former competitive hockey player who still dabbled in the game.

‘‘His whole life was always around hockey,’’ she said.

After graduating from high school, he became a fisherman, picking up odd jobs in the offseason.

He had just come off an extremely successful fishing season when he made the trip to Las Vegas with some good friends, Gothard said.

Her brother ‘‘was happy to pay some things off and had made some really good money and decided to go out and celebrate and go to the concert and treat himself to something nice and fun,’’ she said.

Lisa Romero

Lisa Romero, a high school secretary from Gallup, New Mexico, was killed during Sunday night’s attack in Las Vegas, the Gallup-McKinley County Schools announced Monday.

District officials confirmed to reporters on Monday that Romero, 48, died sometime after a 64-year-old man fired multiple weapons.

‘‘Last night during the mass shooting in Las Vegas we lost one of our staff members,’’ Mike Hyatt, interim superintendent for Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools, wrote to employees. ‘‘Lisa Romero, discipline secretary at Miyamura (High School), was a victim in the shooting. Our prayers go out to her family during this tragic time.’’

She was an ‘‘incredible loving and sincere friend, mentor and advocate for students,’’ Hyatt said.

Survivors included Romero-Muniz’s husband, children and grandchildren, Hyatt said. Officials announced a candlelight vigil in honor of Romero-Muniz set for Monday night.

Michael Gracia 

Sgt. Jeff Higbee of the police department of the Los Angeles suburb of Ontario said a four-year veteran of the force was shot in the head at the concert.

Officer Michael Gracia and his girlfriend, who have a baby, were both hit by gunfire, Higbee said.

Her injuries are not life threatening, Higbee said. He did not have more details.

‘‘He’s always real personable, upbeat, a real friendly guy,’’ Higbee said.

Jordan McIldoon

Mechanic’s apprentice Jordan McIldoon, 23, of Maple Ridge, British Columbia was among those slain.

‘‘We only had one child,’’ Al and Angela McIldoon, told the CBC. ‘‘We just don’t know what to do.’’

The couple says their son was attending the music festival with his girlfriend.

British Columbia Premier John Horgan offered condolences and says flags will be dropped to half-mast on the province’s Parliament buildings and on government buildings in Maple Ridge.

Jessica Klymchuk

Alberta Premier Rachel Notley said Tuesday Jessica Klymchuk, a 28-year-old Albertan, also was among those who died. Notley expressed sympathy for the loss.

Klymchuk worked as an educational assistant, librarian and bus driver at St. Stephen’s School in Valleyview.

In a statement, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the ‘‘senseless and cowardly act of violence.’’

Sandy Casey

Sandy Casey, a middle school special education teacher from Manhattan Beach, California, was killed in Sunday night’s attack, the school district said.

‘‘This is unbelievably tragic and sad,’’ Mike Matthews, superintendent of the Manhattan Beach School District, wrote in a Monday morning letter to the district. ‘‘This loss is impacting many of our staff members deeply.’’

Casey is a 2004 alumna of the College of St. Joseph in Rutland, Vermont, according to a Facebook post in the college’s alumni page.

Rachael Parker 

Rachael Parker, a police records technician, was shot and ultimately died in the hospital, the Manhattan Beach Police Department said.

Parker was among four department employees who were attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival while off-duty. Another suffered minor injuries.

‘‘She was employed with the Manhattan Beach Police Department for 10 years and will be greatly missed,’’ the department said in a statement.

Charleston Hartfield

Off-duty Las Vegas police officer and youth football coach Charleston Hartfield was among those killed when a gunman opened fire on a crowd of concertgoers in Las Vegas, two of his friends said.

Hartfield, 34, was known as a selfless, respected leader who brought out the best in his players, said Stan King, whose son played football for Hartfield.

Troy Rhett, another friend of Hartfield’s through football, said he knew from social media that Hartfield was attending the Sunday concert. When he heard about the shooting, he texted him, hoping to learn Hartfield was safe. He never heard back, and Rhett said he learned through another friend Monday morning that Hartfield had died.

Hartfield, who also went by ‘‘Chuck’’ or ‘‘Charles’’ or even ‘‘Chucky Hart,’’ was also a military veteran and leaves behind a son and a daughter, Rhett said.

Hartfield is also listed at author of a book titled ‘‘Memoirs of Public Servant’’ about his time as a Las Vegas police officer.

Denise Burditus

While the sun was still shining Sunday at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, Denise Burditus posted a photo on Facebook of herself and her husband standing in front of the stage, smiling broadly.

Later, after news of the massacre spread, a friend asked simply: ‘‘Are you two ok????’’

Burditus never replied.

The Martinsburg, West Virginia, woman was among dozens of people killed when a gunman opened fire from a hotel overlooking the festival. MetroNews, a West Virginia-based radio network, reported that Tony Burditus wrote on his Facebook page that his wife was among the victims.

‘‘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.’’

Denise Burditus’ Facebook page includes a photo of her and her husband at the same festival last year. Mandalay Bay, the hotel where the gunman opened fire, is shown in the background.

Susan Smith

Susan Smith, 53, a resident of Simi Valley, California, near Los Angeles, had worked for the local school district since 2001 as the office manager at Vista Elementary School.

‘‘Susan was wonderful with the kids and the staff and was an integral part of the school community here,’’ said Jake Finch, the public information officer for the district. ‘‘She was the hub of everything that happened at the school. If a kid is sick, she’s the one calling the parents and no matter how chaotic things got here, she was always smiling.’’

Finch said the school district learned about Smith’s death from friends who had been with her at the music festival. She said when teachers and other staff members in the district and at the school arrived early Monday morning, most of them had not yet heard that Smith was among those who were killed.

She said counselors were dispatched to the school to talk to both staff members and students and when students were told, they took part in activities such as writing letters and making cards for Smith.

‘‘It doesn’t sound like much but it gives kids something to latch on to, to make sure they felt like they were able to help in some way,’’ she said.

She said Smith was married with two adult children, adding that Smith’s love for country music was well-known.

Jenny Parks

Bobby Parks’ wife was planning to throw him a 40th birthday party next week before Jenny Parks was killed at the concert, friend Jessica Maddin said.

The couple were high school sweethearts and they have two children.

Jenny Parks was a kindergarten teacher for the Lancaster School District in California.

Maddin met Parks while working at 24 Hour Fitness.

Later Parks would help Maddin who started a group, Jessica’s Hope Project, that provides care packages to troops.

Maddin now is trying to raise funds for her friend, Bobby Parks, on a GoFundMe page. Bobby Parks was shot in the arm and hand and is awaiting surgery, Maddin said.

‘‘It breaks my heart,’’ Maddin said. ‘‘People go to concerts to have a good time, connect with others and escape the tragedies of this world.’’

Christopher Roybal

Christopher Roybal, 28, was described as jovial and fun-loving, despite experiencing intense combat during four tours in the Middle East.

‘‘He is a guy that could always put a smile on your face ... after all the stuff he had been through,’’ said David Harman, who founded a company that owns the Colorado gym where Roybal worked.

Roybal, 28, worked at Crunch Fitness in Corona and Riverside, California, before he moved at the beginning of the year to help open franchises in Colorado Springs.

‘‘As far as responsibility and discipline and work ethic, there wasn’t any question about him coming on board with us,’’ said Harman, who has known Roybal for about 4 ½ years. ‘‘He was a good hard worker, a grinder.’’

‘‘He was the guy who if your car broke down in the middle of the night, you could call him and he would come help you,’’ Harman added. ‘‘He is that guy who would find solutions, not report on problems.’’

Harman said Roybal served in Afghanistan and was coping with the loss of a friend who was killed by an improvised explosive device. Roybal adopted his friend’s bomb-sniffing dog, Bella, but was devastated when she died of old age.

‘‘That dog saved his life quite a few times,’’ Harman said.

Roybal mentioned the dog in a July 18 Facebook post that also included a lengthy description of his experience getting shot at in combat.

He ends the post: ‘‘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. Cheers boys.’’

Dorene Anderson

Dorene Anderson was the second person from Anchorage, Alaska, confirmed killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas, her husband’s employer said Monday.

Anderson’s husband, John, works for the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. The CEO of that organization sent an email to employees Monday informing them that Dorene had been killed in the shooting.

Anderson described herself on her Facebook page as a stay-at-home wife and mother whose outside interest was a passion for the Alaska Aces, a minor league hockey team that recently disbanded and was sold to the parent company of the NHL’s Philadelphia Flyers. She had been a member of the Aces’ ‘‘Cowbell Crew.’’

Stacy Shubert, the director of governmental relations and public affairs for the corporation, told The Associated Press that the family has requested privacy.

Danae Gibbs

Danae Gibbs has always been a huge fan of country music concerts, said her friend, Jennifer Draper of Cedar Park, Texas, and she was thrilled to be at the concert.

Draper wrote in an email to The Associated Press that Gibbs, 23, who recently graduated from Texas Tech University of Lubbock, was shot at the concert in Las Vegas and is recovering.

Draper started a GoFundMe page to help Gibbs and her family with the medical expenses. On the page is a photo of Gibbs wearing a graduation cap and red Converse sneakers, jumping in the air with a huge smile in front of her university.

‘‘Danae is a strong young woman and I firmly believe she will make it through this long road to recovery!’’ Draper wrote. ‘‘She is a woman of strong Faith and has hundreds of people praying for her! We love Danae and cannot wait to see her!’’

Rob McIntosh

Real estate agent and father of three older children Rob McIntosh, 52, of North Pole, Alaska, was near the front of the stage with friends when the shooting began, according to friend and real estate broker Mike Vansickle. He was hit repeatedly but survived, Vansickle said.

‘‘From just getting off the phone with the family, he took three bullets to his body,’’ said Vansickle. ‘‘He just came out of surgery, and he’s going to make it.’’

In a personal note on his real estate website, McIntosh describes himself as enjoying the outdoors in Alaska, where he also operates a business called Santa’s Fireworks.

‘‘Whether I'm fishing, snow machining, hunting, steel welding or building my own home or cabin; I stay active all year round,’’ McIntosh wrote.

Vansickle described McIntosh as being strong.

‘‘He’s been though lots of adversity,’’ said Vansickle. ‘‘He'll get through all this and come out with some stories to tell.’’

Source: bostonglobe.com

Date Posted: Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017 , Total Page Views: 3933

Become A Supporter

Got A Story To Share?

Got A Story To Share? Click here to submit your story to us.


Submitted By Readers


  • Facebook Icon
  • Comments Icon
  • Email Icon
  • Twitter Icon