Heartbreaking stories are emerging from the worst massacre in US history as victims are being identified.
News: These mums are among the victims of the Las Vegas shooting
At least five mums are so far among the victims of the Las Vegas mass shooting, with tributes pouring in on social media.
Fifty-year-old mum-of-two Denise Burditus, from West Virginia, died in the arms of her husband, Tony at the concert of country music star Jason Aldean. The pair – believed to be high school sweethearts – had been married for more than 30 years.
“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,” he wrote on Facebook. “Denise passed in my arms. I LOVE YOU BABE.” Just hours earlier, Denise had posted a photo of her and Tony smiling at the concert venue on the social media site. Denise was semi-retired and the couple had spent the past couple of years travelling throughout the US to places including Florida, Georgia, Texas and New Orleans.
Mums Jessica Klymchuk, Jenny Parks and Denise Burditus were among those killed in Las Vegas shooting. Pictures: Facebook
Tony has since updated his Facebook profile photo to an image of the couple kissing.
Recently engaged mum among those killed
Mother-of-four Jessica Klymchuk was one of at least two Canadians killed in what is being described as the worst massacre in modern US history. It is believed the 34-year-old was visiting from Alberta with her fiance, Brent Irla, whom she had been engaged to since April.
Jessica worked as an educational assistant, librarian and bus driver at St. Stephen’s School in Valleyview, 350km north-west of Edmonton. Her children also attend the same school, where they are believed to be in grades four, seven, eight and nine.
Holy Family Catholic Regional Division superintendent Betty Turpin sent a message to trustees about the tragedy, according to CBC News Edmonton. “She leaves to mourn four children who all attend St. Stephen’s and her new husband,” she said. “She has been an employee of HFCRD for four years. Please keep the staff and students of St. Stephen’s and her family in your prayers.”
“Feels like a dream”
Lisa Romero, who worked as a secretary at New Mexico’s Miyamura High School, was also killed. “She loved her kids and husband,” her cousin Ashley told the Huffington Post. “And for this to happen so senselessly… It’s a heartbreaking day for us all.”
Lisa Romero’s family is heartbroken following her untimely death. Picture: Facebook
Kindergarten teacher and mother-of-two Jenny Parks, from Lancaster in California, was also among the victims. Family friend Scott Jackson described her as “always smiling”, “full of life” and “spunky” on Facebook. “I don’t know where to even start, I’m still just at a loss for words and feel like this is all a dream,” he wrote. “Jenny Parks you were an amazing woman and very happy to have the chance to get to know you and be a part of our 2nd family.”
Rhonda LeRocque, from Massachusetts, was also attending the concert with her husband, father-in-law and young daughter when she was shot dead. The latter two left the concert early, the Boston 25 reported.
The women were among at least 59 people killed when retired accountant Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay resort and Casino on 22,000 concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on Sunday night. More than 500 people were also injured in the incident.
Bravery amid horror
Stories of acts of heroism during the massacre have also emerged. Tennessee man Sonny Melton, 29, had been shielding his wife Heather Gulish Melton from the gunman when he was fatally shot in the back. “At this point, I’m in complete disbelief and despair,” she said in a statement to Fox 17 News. “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.”
Sonny (right) died a hero. Picture: Facebook
Melton, a registered nurse from Tennessee, had checked in to the concert on Facebook, with loved ones expressing their condolences under the post.
“He saved my life,” she told WSMV. “He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back. I want everyone to know what a kind-hearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe.”
Only child lost in tragedy
Apprentice mechanic Jordan McIldoon, 23, from British Columbia in Canada, was attending the festival with his girlfriend, his parents told CBC. “We only had one child,” they said. “We just don’t know what to do.”
He died in the arms of another woman who attended the concert, Heather Gooze, who posted about the incident on Facebook. “Friends and family, I am ok,” she wrote. “I am right outside of the festival grounds. We are not allowed to go anywhere. I am with a young man who died in my arms! RIP Jordan mcildoon from British Columbia. I can’t believe this just happened!!!”
Jordan’s parents are devastated to lose their only child. Picture: Facebook
University of Nevada-Las Vegas student Quinton Robbins, 20, was also among the victims. His aunt Kilee Wells Sanders described him as “the most kind and loving soul”. “Everyone who met him, loved him,” she said. “His contagious laugh and smile. He was truly an amazing person. He will be missed by so many, he is loved by so many.”
Family friend Tyce Jones told Newsweek Robbins was a “pay-it-forward” kinda guy. “Always had a smile on his face and was a nice guy. He loved his family and loved to coach his little brother’s flag football team. He will be missed.”
Quinton had his whole life ahead of him. Picture: Facebook
Adrian Murfitt, a 35-year-old fisherman and mechanic who lived in from Alaska, also died at the concert.His friend and fellow festival-goer Brian MacKinnon told Newsweek that Murfitt was “a giant big-hearted teddy bear”.
“He simply was the best friend anyone could ask for,” he said. “I could never hang out with him and not be laughing the whole time. One of the biggest animal lovers you will ever meet. He is a 6’2″ Alaskan cowboy, but if he sees a dog he turns into a 10 year old kid again. When he loved, he loved hard, and his family and friends always came first above all. He is more than my best friend, he is my brother.”
Other victims include Susan Smith, who worked as an office manager at a school in California, recent graduate Angie Gomez, also from California, and off-duty Las Vegas police officer and much-loved football coach Chuck Hartfield, 34.
Rocio Guillen loved children. She had given birth to her fourth child just six weeks ago. On Sunday, she was one of hundreds of people shot during the country music festival in Las Vegas.
Heart Breaking: Mother who had just given birth to fourth child killed in Las Vegas attack
Rocio was there with her fiancé Chris Jaksha. They were celebrating a friend’s birthday when suddenly a gunman opened fire on the crowd.
After being shot, Rocio and Chris managed to escape but Rocio did not survive. She died at the hospital.
Her heartbroken family and friends are doing whatever they can to help the four children left without their mother. They have set up four different drop off locations where people can take diapers, wipes, formula and anything you can donate.
Here are the addresses:
-3393 Tupelo St.
-16656 Longacre Ave.
14527 Ramona Avenue
Chino Hills, Ca 91710
Source: FOX 11 Los Angeles
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