Beloved Family Members Lost Too Soon

A tribute to some of those who were stolen from their husbands, wives, parents and kids in a haze of bullets in Las Vegas

by MomZette Staff | Updated 04 Oct 2017 at 11:15 AM

The deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history left at least 59 dead and more than 520 people injured after a gunman opened fire on crowd of 22,000 concertgoers during a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip.

As the tragic news unfolded throughout the day, families and friends spoke to media outlets to tell about the lives of their loved ones.

Charleston Hartfield. The 34-year-old was an off-duty Las Vegas police officer.

Hartfield was described as a well-respected and selfless member of the community. The military veteran had a son and a daughter.

As a youth football coach, he helped every player to excel, said Stan King, whose son played in Hartfield's team.

Troy Rhett, another friend, said he knew Hartfield was attending the concert on Sunday. After hearing about the mass shooting, he texted him to find out whether he was safe. Hartfield never got back to him.

Hartfield is named as the author of a book entitled "Memoirs of Public Servant," about his career as a Las Vegas police officer.

Dorene Anderson. The 49-year-old was the second Alaskan killed in the shooting, according to her husband's employer. She attended the concert with her daughters.

Her husband, John, worked for the Alaska Housing Finance Corp. The company's CEO sent out an email on Monday saying Dorene was killed in the shooting.

She described herself on Facebook as a stay-at-home mom interested in the minor league hockey team, Alaska Aces. She was a member of the Aces' "Cowbell Crew."

"Dorene was the most beautiful, kind and giving woman I have ever known. She loved her husband and girls with a passion we could never match," Gayle Simmons White, a friend, wrote, according to KTUU. "I admired her every action. She was an angel on earth and will forever walk in our lives."

Denise Burditus. The 32-year-old mother of two and soon-to-be grandmother from West Virginia passed away in the arms of her husband, Tony.

"Denise passed in my arms. I LOVE YOU BABE,"" her husband wrote on social media, according to a radio station in West Virginia, MetroNews.

Just hours before the attack, she posted a picture on social media from the festival, showing herself and her husband smiling as they stood in front of the stage. It was the second time the couple had attended the festival.

Lisa Romero-Muniz. The 48-year-old was a beloved high school secretary and advocate for students from New Mexico. She was described as an "incredible, loving and sincere friend, mentor and advocate for students" by the Gallup-McKinley County Public Schools interim superintendent.

Her husband, children and grandchildren survived, according to the school district.

Sonny Melton. The 29-year-old from Big Sandy, Tennessee, died protecting his wife when the gunman unleashed a hail of bullets, his family told Fox affiliate WZTV.

"At this point, I'm in complete disbelief and despair," the man's wife, Heather Gulish Melton, told the station in a statement Monday. "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."

Melton, 29, was a registered nurse who worked at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee, according to his Facebook profile. On Friday night, Melton posted on the social media site that he was attending the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas with his wife, an orthopedic surgeon.

The couple worked at the same hospital and married in 2016.

"We were the couple that never should have met, fallen in love or had a future together ... But life is funny, and we believe God brought us together as soul mates," read their wedding page on the website The Knot. "We have shared amazing times together and nearly unbearable heartaches but through it all we have grown stronger in our love for each other and our families."

jordan mclldoon las vegas

McIldoon, left, attended the concert with his girlfriend when he was struck and killed.

Jordan McIldoon. The 23-year-old Canadian died in the shooting, according to multiple media reports. He was days away from his 24th birthday. A fellow concertgoer, Heather Gooze, wrote on her Facebook page that McIldoon died in her arms, CBC News reported Monday.

The man's parents, who confirmed their son's death to the news outlet, said McIldoon attended the concert with his girlfriend and had planned to return home on Monday.

"We only had one child," they said. "We just don't know what to do."

adrian murfitt las vegas

Adrian Murfitt was an Alaska native (AP).

Adrian Murfitt. The 35-year-old Alaska native died during the concert, a family member said Monday.

Murfitt worked as a fisherman and went to Vegas to attend the concert to "treat himself to something nice and fun," his sister told The Associated Press.

Jessica Klymchuk. The 28-year-old was an educational assistant, librarian and bus driver in Valleyview, Alberta.

"The scope of this tragedy is worldwide, and we are feeling its impact here at home," the division's superintendent, Betty Turpin, said in a statement.

A post on Klymchuk's Facebook page says she got engaged in April, and was in Vegas with her fiancé.

Susan Smith. The 53-year-old was a California resident who worked for the Simi Valley School District since 2001.

"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."

Coworkers learned about Smith's death from friends who attended the festival with her.

Guidance counselors were made available to students and teachers on Monday.

sandy casey las vegas

Sandy Casey, 35, was engaged five months ago (photo: Burr and Burton Academy).

Sandy Casey. The 35-year-old was a middle school special education teacher who attended the Las Vegas concert with her fiancé and a friend.

Casey was an alumna of the College of St. Joseph in Rutland, Vermont, and Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusetts, said Linda O'Leary, a cousin of Casey's mother who is acting as a family spokeswoman. The family is discussing setting up a scholarship in Casey's name.

Here are the names of other victims identified in the shooting:

Quinton Robbins, 20, a University of Nevada-Las Vegas student, was described as easily admired and with a "contagious laugh and smile," according to her aunt.

"I can't say enough good about this sweet soul," the aunt, Kilee Wells Sanders, wrote on social media. "Everyone who met him loved him. [He had a] contagious laugh and smile."

"Please also respect their privacy as this is a devastating loss that is incredibly painful for the families," she added as she asked for people's prayers.

Angie Gomez was a 2015 graduate of Riverside Polytechnic High School PTSA in Riverside, California. "She will always be loved and endeared by our Poly Family," the school wrote on Facebook.

Rhonda LeRocque, 41, described as "one of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life," attended the Sunday's concert with her daughter and husband.

The devastated family confirmed her death to The Boston Globe. Her husband and daughter were not harmed.

"All I know is someone started shooting and people are running and she got shot in the head," Carol Marquis, LeRocque's grandmother told the Globe. "And we lost a dear, close, good person — one of the nicest people you will ever meet in your life."

The woman from Massachusetts was active in her church and worked for a design firm, the Globe reported.

Jennifer Irvine, 42, was a San Diego "bubbly, vivacious, pint-sized, aggressive attorney" who was set to do "good things in her career."

She reportedly passed her final moment dancing and singing at the concert with her girlfriends, Time magazine reports.

"Jennifer Irvine, you are a shining light that will not be extinguished by a gutless coward with a gun. You brought so much joy to others, including me. You left this world singing & dancing, but far too soon," wrote Kyle Krasta, a friend of Jennifer's.

"You made this world a better place simply by your presence. So long, my dear friend."

John Phippen, a father from Santa Clarita, Calif., whose son remains hospitalized after being shot, died Monday morning. He reportedly operated a home remodeling company called JP Specialties.

Thomas Day Jr., 54, of the Las Vegas area, was at the festival with his four children. He reportedly worked as a home builder.

Neysa Tonks, 46, of Utah, moved to Las Vegas 10 years ago.

Her brother said "she was pretty much a single mother who raised three boys. She was a great mom and a great sister and a great friend," who worked at the IT firm Technologent.

neysa tonks las vegas

Neysa Tonks, 46, was a single mother of three boys and worked in IT (GoFundMe).

Bailey Schweitzer, 20, was described as "the ray of sunshine" by her employers. "If you have ever called or visited our office, she was the perky one that helped direct you to the staff member you needed," wrote Infinity Communications and Consulting CEO Fred Brakeman in a statement announcing the death.

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

rachael parker las vegas

Rachael Parker was a police records technician for the Manhattan Beach PD (AP).

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.

Jack Beaton of Bakersfield, California, was killed while covering his wife from gunfire.

Victor Link of San Clemente, California, was also killed.

To those looking to get in contact with their loved ones: please call 1-800-536-9488.

This Fox News piece is used by permission.

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(photo credit, homepage images: George Ian Bowles, Flickr; photo credit, article images: Hakan Erenler, Pexels)

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