Oree Michael Gaither
Oree Michael Gaither was born to Oree Gaither & Carrie Bates on October 23rd. 1951. He was raised in Los Angeles, California and attended Manual Arts High School. He had a...
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On October 1, 2017, thousands of party-goers congregated in a festival lot on the Las Vegas strip for the final performance of a long-weekend country music event. The dancing, singing, and celebration was cut short by a lone gunman, who opened fire on the crowd from a hotel balcony above.
The 2017 Las Vegas shooting was the deadliest mass shooting in United States history.
58 concert-goers died of their gunshot wounds. In the following years, two more victims died of their injuries. A staggering 867 people were injured; 411 by gunfire. The perpetrator took his own life at the scene of the crime.
Many of the victims of this horrible crime were young, and in the prime of their lives. The loss of young people who were in the midst of celebrating, creating new beginnings, and just taking a break from everyday life makes the tragedy all the more disturbing.
Three years later, many questions remain. While there will never be closure for the grieving families and survivors, remembering the lives of the 60 victims whose lives suddenly ended on what was meant to be a fun night in Vegas.
The Route 91 Harvest Music Festival was an annual country music event. Founded in 2014, the festival took place in an open lot on the Vegas strip, in a formerly empty lot across from the Luxor Hotel & Casino and the Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. Stars like Brad Paisley, Little Big Town, Lady A, Toby Keith and more graced the stage each year, playing for thousands of country music fans.
In 2017, the festival ran over three days from September 29 to October 1. On the final night, Jason Aldean took the stage for the closing performance with approximately 22,000 fans packed into the festival grounds.
Aldean was mid-way through his rendition of "When She Says Baby," when a sudden spray of bullets targeted the crowd from the 32nd floor balcony of the nearby Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino. From approximately 10:05 pm to 10:15 pm, Stephen Paddock unloaded over 1,000 rounds on the concert attendees.
The spatter of pop-pop-pop sounds set off initial confusion. Jason Aldean's band faltered, and members of the audience looked around, trying to discern the sound. A second and third round of shots sent the crowd further into chaos, as people ducked for cover in the festival lot. Others proclaimed loudly that it was just fireworks and not to worry. Panicked people raced away, seeing their neighbors collapsing around them. For those 10 minutes, chaos reigned.
The attack was meticulously planned. Already an avid gun owner, Paddock gathered an additional 55 firearms and numerous firearm accessories in the months preceding the shooting. Over the course of his six-day stay at the hotel, Paddock, with the assistance of hotel porters, slowly stockpiled 23 firearms, 14 of which were AR-15-style rifles. He had created an arsenal of weapons with high-capacity magazines, scopes, thousands of rounds of ammunition, and bump stocks, which made the firearms effectively fully automatic. Explosives were also found in his room.
When the attacker finally stopped shooting, 58 innocent lives were taken, and hundreds injured. The deadliest mass shooting in America was over, and survivors, families, and first responders were left to deal with the aftermath.
In remembering the lives and legacies of those who died during the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting, we stand against the violence that cut their lives tragically short. Their names, accomplishments, loved ones, and stories must be honored and remembered as we work toward creating a society that does not enable or tolerate mass shootings.
The following victims of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting were killed on the scene of the attack, or in the near aftermath. For these individuals, what was supposed to be an evening of music and partying became one of terror and death. These victims travelled from all over the United States and Canada to enjoy a weekend in Las Vegas, many likely hoping to later cash in on the saying, 'What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.' For some, it was a birthday celebration; for others, a chance to blow off steam away from the pressures of everyday life.
Many in this too-long list died protecting their friends and family. Others helped strangers to escape the festival grounds, succumbing to their injuries later.
Known as a woman who could "light up a room with her smile," Hannah Ahlers' death left behind a devastated, close-knit family, including her husband of 17 years, and three children. She was remembered as an active community member who was dedicated to her family and loved ones:“She wasn't too good for anybody; Beautiful inside and out...”— Kristina Hernandez, Redlands Daily Facts
Hannah Ahlers (Facebook)
Heather Alvarado was a doting mother and loving wife. She enjoyed a range of hobbies, interests, and passions, including "fishing, camping, attending her children's sporting events, doing Halloween and decorating parties, and vacationing…" She enjoyed sneaking off to Maurices clothing store whenever she could. Heather always brought a smile to the room, was happy all the time, and was an awesome mom. Her daughter and brother were her best friends.
— Obituary of Heather Alvarado, Southern Utah Mortuary
She lays in rest at the Enoch City Cemetery in Enoch, Iron County, Utah.
Heather Alvarado (Find a Grave)
Dorene Anderson's death left a family and community in mourning. A proud wife, and mother of two daughters, Dorene was remembered as selfless, loving, and involved in both family matters and her community:
Dorene was politically and socially active in her community, always the first to volunteer for helping in any way she could and we all relied on her leadership in hard times. She believed strongly in most all things that touched her life, especially her family, The Dallas Cowboys, Blackhawks & Aces Hockey and anything John or The Girls were involved in.
—Obituary of Dorene Anderson, Legacy.com
Dorene Anderson (Facebook)
Disneyland cast member Carrie Rae Barnette was remembered by family and friends for her "smile, big heart and beautiful personality."
Carrie Barnette was celebrating a friend's 30th birthday at the Route 91 Harvest Festival on the Las Vegas Strip when she was shot during the mass shooting that evening. She died before reaching the hospital.
Carrie Rae Barnette (Find a Grave)
Grill master, father, and hero Jack Reginald was among those who died during the Las Vegas shooting. In a statement following his death, Jack's workplace said:
Today the Salty's family hurts and grieves with one of our employees, Jake Beaton, whose dad, Jack Beaton, was shot and killed last night as he sacrificed himself to protect his wife when shots rang out in Las Vegas...Jack Beaton was a great father, proud of his son and the great job he does as a Grill Master at Salty's.
Jack Reginald Beaton (Find a Grave)
Financial advisor and devoted father of three, Stephen Berger passed away on the evening of October 1, 2017. He was remembered by family as a successful businessman, but most importantly, a loving family man:
Steve made an indelible mark on all those he met, and will be missed greatly by his greater family and the numerous friends who were part of his life. He loved life to the fullest, filling his time surrounded by those he loved and cherished.
—Obituary of Stephen Richard Berger, Huber Funeral Home
Stephen Richard Berger (Find a Grave)
Single mother of three Candice Bowers was remembered as a "superhero" in the aftermath of the Las Vegas shooting. She was remembered for her joyous personality. "Candice left this world doing what she loved, dancing to country music among loved ones," said the organizer of her fundraiser for funeral and her children's expenses. "She will be greatly missed by all who knew and loved her." Her family described her as a superhero who loved country music.
Candice Ryan Bowers (Find a Grave)
Denise Burditus died in her husband's arms not long after she posted this photo of the couple at the Route 91 Harvest festival on Facebook.
Those who knew Burditus and Tony spoke fondly about the couple's sense of adventure. Denise Chambers told the Huffington Post that she had been friends with the couple since high school and described them as “high school sweethearts [who were] very much in love.”
Denise and Tony Burditus, at the 2017 Route 91 Harvest festival. (Courtesy of Facebook)
Special education teacher Sandra Casey was among those fatally wounded during the attack on festival attendees on October 1, 2017. She was at the concert with her fiance at the time of her death:According to her family, this was a particularly joyous time in a life fully lived. In a heartbreaking turn of events, Casey died in Willemse's arms after being shot in the lower back. He tried to stop the bleeding and rush her away to safety, but she didn't make it, the Boston Herald reports. Right before she died, he told her that he loved her and that she was amazing.
Sandra Casey (Las Vegas Review Journal)
Andrea Lee Anna Castilla was at the Las Vegas festival celebrating her 28th birthday when she was killed in the second blast of gunfire. She worked as a makeup artist, and hoped one day to "serve cancer patients with her talents, as the disease had taken her mother's life when she was a teenager."
Andrea Lee Anna Castilla (Find a Grave)
Country music lover Denise Cohen was honored by World Dance for Humanity with a memorial dance by friends, who remembered her as "the life of the party." According to her obituary, she had been posting concert updates on Facebook leading up to the attack.
[Denise's sister] says it was clear Cohen was having a great time in Vegas. "She was excited. She was reporting the whole thing from Facebook and all the people she was meeting and all the fun she was having."
Denise Cohen (Find a Grave)
Austin Davis was remembered as a happy-go-lucky person who would do anything to help his family or neighbors. An avid softball player, Austin's life and accomplishments was honored with a "home run derby" in the days following his untimely death.
Austin William Davis (Facebook)
Thomas Day was a Pittsburgh Steelers superfan, Little League baseball player, coach, and country music fan was among those who perished at the Route 91 Harvest festival.
“He would talk about country music and he would talk about sports. He was very knowledgeable,” Bruce Abbey, the vice president of Portrait Construction in Corona, told the OC Register. Day worked as an estimator at Portrait Construction, his family's business where his father is the CEO.
— Jill Castellano, Palm Springs Desert Sun
Christina Duarte was a few months into a new job with the LA Kings at the time of her death. At just 22 years of age, Christina was one of the youngest victims. She was at the beginning of her life and career, having recently graduated from the University of Arizona with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration.
Watch: LA Kings tribute to the life of Christina Duarte:Embed:
"Wonderful, caring wife, mother, daughter and friend" Stacee Etcheber was remembered for her love of family, the outdoors, and knowing how to have a good time by her family in the aftermath of the shooting. She was a skilled hair stylist, and owned her own salon during the course of her career.
A true fan of the outdoors, she loved horses, water sports, hiking and snow skiing in Tahoe.
Stacee met the love of her life, Vincent Etcheber, in 2001 on Union Street in San Francisco. They were married in Hawaii in 2004, and eventually moved to Novato to raise their family.
Stacee Ann Etcheber (GoFundMe)
Brian Fraser was a husband, father of four, businessman, and outdoors enthusiast. At 39, he was excited to finally be seeing Jason Aldean perform his favorite song. Of the 20 family members and friends in attendance with him at the Route 91 Harvest festival, Brian was the only of the pod to lose his life. He was remembered as an all-around good guy by loved ones:“He was a very, very giving guy. He always spoke about his family, and always had time to help out. He was just a very selfless kind of person.”
—Nicole Raz, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Brian Fraser (Facebook)
Remembered as "a hard-working supermom, always ferrying her kids to practices and appointments while holding down a full-time job," Keri Galvan's three children and family were left to mourn. She died in her husband's arms during the Route 91 Harvest festival.
Keri Galvan (Facebook)
"Dana spent her last day of life taking in the sights and sounds of the Las Vegas Strip" with her daughter, enjoying life and anticipating a fun evening of country music. But just days later, the longtime San Bernardino County government employee Dana Leann Gardner was remembered by colleagues as a consummate professional, a great leader and a "go-getter."
"She's a wonderful woman. Most generous person I've ever met. Most wonderful mother, grandmother, sister,"...On Gardner's Facebook, she posted photos of nature, herself outside, and with people who appear to be her family.
Dana Leann Gardner (Find a Grave)
At just 20 years old, Angela Gomez was among the youngest victims to die in the Las Vegas shooting of 2017. At the time of her death, Angela had her whole life ahead of her. She had been studying nursing at Riverside City College in California.
In honor of their daughter and the other victims, the Gomez family unveiled a public art mosaic entitled "Angela's Wings." The piece stands as a physical memorial for the innocent lives lost in the tragedy. Angela's Wings commemorates the lives of each individual killed in the Route 91 shooting. A bronze plaque with the names and birthdates of the 58 "Route 91 Angels" will be mounted next to the mosaic. "The mosaic is intended to represent peace and faith to survivors of the tragedy and the community of families that lost loved ones that day,” Angela's mother, Julie Gomez, said. "We hope this angel wings mural will be a place of beauty, comfort and healing for all who deeply love and miss their angels."
Angela Gomez (City of Riverside)
Rocio Guillen gave birth to her fourth child just a month before the fatal shooting at the Route 91 Harvest festival. During her maternity leave, she decided to take a post-pregnancy trip to the music festival for some much-needed fun time. According to her obituary, Rocio escaped the festival grounds, but later died of her wounds.
Rocio was remembered as a 'supermom' who loved to enjoy life with her family:She loved sports and being a supporting baseball mom. Her greatest accomplishment was being a mother as she would always say. She was a supermom, always working hard and juggling everything to be the best mom to her 4 children. Rocio was engaged to Chris Jaksha and were going to get married soon.
Rocio Guillen (GoFundMe)
Charleston Hartfield was a Las Vegas police officer. Though he was off-duty at the time of the shooting, he '“immediately took action to save lives,” Clark County Undersheriff Kevin McMahill said at a press conference.' Attending the Route 91 Harvest festival had become a new tradition for the officer, who looked for an opportunity to enjoy the city he served. Moving fast and with the authority of a man who spent his life as a soldier and police officer, he worked to escort people safely out of the packed venue as the barrage of bullets fell. He looked around to assess the grounds and to the sky to help other officers locate the shooter before more lives could be taken.
Charleston died a hero, protecting the innocent and saving lives. He is remembered and honored for his sacrifice, bravery, and his service in both the military and police forces.
Charleston Hartfield (Find a Grave)
Christopher Hazencomb was killed just four days after his 44th birthday. He was remembered as "a sports enthusiast through and through, holding the Angels, Raiders and showtime Lakers close to his heart. He loved sprint car, NASCAR and anything fast."
The 6'5 Walmart employee and local handyman died a hero, "[using] his body to shield his friend from the bullets raining down at the Route 91 Harvest festival."
Christopher Hazencomb (Courtesy)
San Diego attorney Jennifer Irvine "was shot while she was holding hands with friends, singing and dancing at the Route 91 Harvest concert."
The vivacious professional criminal trial commentator was remembered for both her professional accomplishments, as well as her passion for life. She held a "black belt in taekwondo and enjoyed yoga and snowboarding." She hoped to one day learn to skydive. "She was an adventurous person, a very social, loving, caring, inclusive person."
Jennifer Irvine (AZ Central)
Teresa Kimura, "known for her infectious laugh and vivacious personality," died the night of the shooting. She attended the festival with six other friends, all of whom survived her. The group, who had purchased the tickets nearly a year in advance, were looking forward to the trip as a chance to spend time together and enjoy a multitude of country artists.
Nicol's heart was bigger than most human beings, her spirit was beautiful, her laugh was infectious, and she just had a way of making every time we gathered an awesome one. She made you jealous of how much she loved life. And if you didn't know her, you missed out on a better life than the one you have.
—Nicol Kimura Memorial Fund, GoFundMe
Teresa Nicol Kimura (GoFundMe)
Jessica Klymchuk was one of four Canadians who died in the Las Vegas shooting. The "educational assistant, librarian and bus driver" had traveled from Alberta with her fiance to take in some of the famed Vegas nightlife and a weekend of country music. She was a mother of four and a newlywed, and teacher. She also left family, friends, and a host of devastated students behind to mourn.
Jessica Klymchuk (Facebook)
Carly Kreibaum visited Las Vegas with two friends to enjoy a weekend of country music and fun, only to be "struck by a bullet before she was separated from them." The mother of two, wife, and Walmart manager was remembered as a dynamic person with many hobbies and passions:
She loved to paint and make pottery. She was an excellent cook and loved baking and cake decorating. She loved being with her children and being involved in their activities. Carly also helped on the farm helping with combining and mowing. She had a really big heart, she was everybody's mom, always caring for everyone else.
— Obituary of Carly Kreibaum, Warner Funeral Home
Carly Anne Kreibaum (Warner Funeral Home)
Rhonda and her family were visiting Vegas together, but just she and her husband attended the festival together; her husband survived the attack uninjured.
She was remembered as a person who was, "as close to perfection as possible."
Rhonda was a beautiful loving mother and wife of Jason and their 6 year old daughter Aliyah. Rhonda was a very special daughter, sister, and dear friend that will be missed deeply by her family as well as her spiritual family.
— Obituary of Rhonda LeRocque, Legacy.com
Rhonda LeRocque (Facebook)
Fifty-five year old Victor Link was a father, mortgage broker, and lover of fine liquors when his life came to an early end in the Las Vegas Shooting.
His family and friends remember him as a loving husband, proud father, soon-to-be grandfather, loyal son, protective brother, supportive uncle and kind friend. While we mourn the loss of an extraordinary man, we also celebrate the wonderful life he led. We hope that the countless people he has touched over the years will remember the kindness, wisdom, humor and inspiration he passed along to each of us. He had an infectious positive attitude that always lifted the spirits of everyone around him.
— Obituary of Victor Link, Legacy.com
Victor L Link (Obituary)
Another of the four Canadians to die in the Las Vegas shooting was Jordan McIldoon. The 24-year-old was just five days shy of his birthday, when he returned to Vegas for the country music festival. According to his mother, the family "visited Las Vegas every year for NASCAR weekend.""When on his bike, Jordan could often be seen upside down doing a flip or roaring down a bike park with a cheeky tail whip — he was in his glory."
— Michelle Ghoussoub, CBC
He is remembered as a fearless young man who was devoted to his family.
Substitute teacher Kelsey Meadows was described as "a gifted teacher who demonstrated a skill and passion for her chosen profession," history Professor Lori Clune said, following her death.
"Kelsey was smart, compassionate and kind. She had a sweet spirit and a love for children," said Taft Union High School principal, Mary Alice Finn. "Words cannot adequately capture the sorrow felt by her students, colleagues and friends in learning of her passing."
Left to mourn are Kelsey's mother, father, brother and sister-in-law, among others.
Kelsey Breanne Meadows (Find a Grave)
Canadian traveller Calla-Marie Medig booked her vacation from work to attend the Route 91 Harvest festival, not knowing it would be her last getaway in life. Recently promoted from server to manager at the restaurant where she worked, Calla-Marie postponed beginning her new position in order to attend the music festival. She visited Vegas annually, and as an avid country music fan.
"She was valuable and had wisdom. She could pick up on personalities, and she could read people really well. That is what made her so good at her job," [her colleague] Collingwood said. "Within three weeks, I knew she was going to be a manager."
— Craig Harris, The Republic
Calla-Marie Medig (GoFundMe)
Sonny Melton met his wife, an orthopedic surgeon, while working as a nurse at Henry County Medical Center. He died shielding his wife from gunfire on the scene of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. "Sonny was the most kind-hearted, loving man I have ever met. He saved my life and lost his," Heather said in a statement to Fox 17 News.
— Kaylin Searles, WZTV
His family remembers Sonny as a "just a good guy, doing what good guys do. He was a hero."
James 'Sonny' Melton and wife Heather (Facebook)
Great-grandmother Patricia Mestas was the eldest victim of the Las Vegas shooting massacre. The avid country music lover was remembered as having "a big smile that would light up the whole of her face." She was at the Route 91 Harvest festival with friends when the shooting occurred.
Patricia had retired from her deli job, and was focusing on family at the time of her death. She was remembered all full of life and always seeking out the next bit of fun.
“If there weren't people, if there wasn't music, if there wasn't laughter, she would find it," [Patricia's cousin] said. "Or she would do her best to make it.”
Patricia Mestas (GoFundMe)
There to see his country icon Bobby Bones play, Austin Cooper Meyer was celebrating his belated birthday at the Route 91 Harvest festival on the night of his death. At the time of his death, Austin was studying transportation technologies with the aim of one day owning an auto body shop.
"He wanted to open up his own shop upon his graduation and he was planning on getting married and starting a family soon after that," [his mother] said. "... He just always excelled in everything he did. He was very energetic, smiling, always willing to help others."
He is remembered for his love of sports, big dreams, and for being well liked by all he met.
Austin Cooper Meyer (Lasting Memories)
Celebrating a successful fishing season, commercial fisherman Adrian Murfitt was finally hitting his stride again after a rough patch:
He had finally worked through a long, painful breakup. He had lost 30 pounds on the fishing boat. He was lean and looking good, ready to see his favorite singer, Jason Aldean, in Vegas.— LA Times
Adrian was remembered by loved ones as an avid hockey player, outdoors enthusiast, and good friend to many.
Adrian Allan Murfitt (Janssen Funeral Homes)
Rachael Kathleen Parker was a civilian employee at the Manhattan Beach Police Department in California at the time of her death. She was a records technician, and held a degree in sociology. According to her obituary, Rachael was a model community member who "loved her two rescue dogs, traveling, and her volunteer work with the elderly."
The [Manhattan Beach Police] department's captain, Tim Hageman, told the press, "I just remember honestly that whenever I walked by she took the time to look my way, wave and smile. And that wasn't just for me, that was for everybody. She was that kind of person."
— JR Thorpe, Bustle
Rachael Kathleen Parker (Find a Grave)
Taken ten minutes before the Las Vegas shooting began, a photo of Jennifer Parks shows her enjoying the Jason Aldean concert with loved ones. Not long later, Jennifer and her husband Bobby would be struck. While Bobby would survive, Jennifer did not.
Parks and her husband, Bobby, were high school sweethearts. Dr. Steven McCarthy, Bobby's uncle, told People, "When we met Jenny we all fell in love with her.” With one son in high school and a daughter in elementary school, McCarthy described them as "the perfect family." Parks reportedly earned her master's degree in education in May [of 2017].
— Jessicah Lahitou, Bustle
Jennifer was an energetic and passionate kindergarten teacher in Palmdale who was known for her holiday decorations and a wonderful sense of humor.
Jennifer Parks and loved ones at the Route 91 Harvest festival moments before the shooting. (CBS NEWS)
Recently engaged, Carolyn Parsons was in Las Vegas for a girls trip to celebrate and enjoy country music. She was an Eric Church superfan who had been to about 10 of his concerts prior to attending the Route 91 Harvest festival. A graduate of Arizona State University, Carolyn was working for a professional staffing agency as a recruiter at the time of her death.
She is remembered as having a silly side to her, and an extremely "contagious laugh":
"She always had a good time-- always was dancing and singing and made sure everyone had a good time as well."
— Kristen Drew, KOMO News
Carolyn Lee Parsons (Find a Grave)
Lisa Patterson was a mother of three, wife, and worked with her husband at their hardwood flooring company in Lomita. Her husband spoke to People in commemoration of the first anniversary of her death, and detailed the gaping hole her absence had left.
Before Lisa died, Bob says, "I hadn't paid a bill in 25 years. She paid all the bills. I would coach the kids' [sports teams] and things like that. She took care of everything to do with the house — cooking, the laundry, taking the kids to school."
She is remembered as a smart, hard working person who put her family first:
"She was the most beautiful individual. And I'm going to try my hardest to be, like, the best daughter she could ever imagine and take care of my family. And I hope that she knows that." (NPR)
Lisa Marie Patterson (Press Connects)
John Phippen was among those who died of wounds sustained in the Las Vegas shooting. The father of six was described in his obituary as a "best friend, business owner, weekend warrior and one stubborn Irishman that got called home too soon."
John could fix and/or build anything and his business, JP Specialties, was well known in the Santa Clarita Valley and surrounding areas for doing just that. Because of his trade and friendly personality, John was a stranger to no man and was known to enjoy the company of his friends, family and the friendly passerby.
John's lust for life is evident in the memorials of the family and friends who loved him. Like many who died at the Route 91 Harvest festival, John loved to have fun, meet new people, and listen to country music.
John Joseph Phippen (Find a Grave)
Melissa was living in North Hollywood and working as an auto insurance company specialist at the time of her death. At 26, Melissa's adult life and career were just beginning.
Fabiola Farnetti, Ramirez's cousin, told The New York Times that Ramirez was the daughter of Mexican immigrants who became United States citizens. Her cousin, a country music lover, came from "a big and close-knit extended family" and while attending college, would often visit her family on the weekends. Ramirez had just received a promotion at her job in the car insurance company, Farnetti said.
— Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, Bustle
She is remembered as a devoted Philadelphia Eagles fan who showed "constant love for her friends and family."
Melissa Ramirez (Twitter)
The day before she died, 21-year-old Jordyn Rivera told her mother that she had lived a full life, without regrets. At just 21, her life was cut short by the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. Jordyn was in her fourth year at Cal State San Bernardino, studying Health Care Management at Cal State San Bernardino.
A vigil held in her honor included an open mic, which students approached to share stories about her life:
Many of the speakers who came to the microphone were Bonita classmates, who remembered sleepovers, late night Pokémon Go hunts and the way Rivera, an athletic trainer, kept up the spirits of the football team.
— Fielding Buck, Daily Bulletin
An unknown survivor of the shooting honored the life of Jordyn by doling out 58 random acts of kindness. This endeavor was brought to light when Lt. Mike Bertelsen of the Azuza Police Department received a Starbucks gift card as the fourth act of kindness in Jordyn's name. The department posted a Facebook video thanking the mystery gifter, and paying tribute to Jordyn's life.
Jordyn N Rivera (Find a Grave)
One of the youngest to die in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting was Quinton Robbins, a "prom king who was nice to everyone — regardless of their high school social status — and an outdoorsman who loved to fish and boat around the lake." Quinton loved to snowboard, and according to his uncle, was the "perfect kid."
A Kindness Garden at Sue Morrow Elementary School was created in Quinton's memory, including 'buddy benches' for lonely students to sit on when looking for a playmate. His second-grade teacher created this functional monument to the boy she remembered from his years in her class:
"Quinton was in my class when he was a second-grader. You know, I've met a lot of terrific kids here at the school and Quinton was way up there, top of the list. One of the favorites," explained Nanni....Quinton was a favorite because he had a deep understanding of friendship at a young age.
— Kelsey Thomas, News3 Las Vegas
Quinton Robbins (GoFundMe)
Cameron Robinson was at the Route 91 festival with his boyfriend, for a four-day weekend of quality time together. The City of Las Vegas employee lost his life at the Route 91 Harvest festival, but his boyfriend survived his injuries. A GoFundMe established to cover the funeral and medical costs described Cameron as a person who loved to "cook, entertain, run marathons, travel, go camping, boating, and the outdoors in general and above all surround himself with those he loved and others."
"He was the center of the office. Cameron didn't do anything halfway,” [Cameron's boss] said. “Whether it was a potluck, a get-together — he would seize that opportunity. He was spontaneous and absolutely fun. People have to know who he was and what we lost."
— Jamie Munks, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cameron Robinson and his boyfriend. (Facebook)
In her obituary, Tara's family remembered her as a compassionate person who loved nature, valued friendships, and participated in a wide variety of hobbies, including "skating, dancing, school sports, band and spending time with family and her very large circle of friends." At the time of her death, she was employed as a teacher's assistant for children with autism spectrum disorder.
Robertson County College established a scholarship in Tara's memory, The Tara Roe Memorial Scholarship, with a purpose of rewarding "academic and overall excellence in the Community Support Worker (CSW) Program at Robertson College Calgary."
Tara Ann Roe (Find a Grave)
Lisa Romero-Muniz attended the Route 91 Harvest festival with her husband, who survived her, along with their three children. She loved country music, and was looking forward to seeing her favorite artists play.
Lisa was a longtime employee of Gallup McKinley County Schools, and was remembered in a tribute by her employer in the days following her death:
"She was not only an employee of our school district but was an incredible loving and sincere friend, mentor and advocate for our students in many of the schools in which she worked in," interim superintendent Mike Hyatt said...
Lisa Romero-Muniz (Gallup Sun)
Christopher Louis Roybal was a United States military veteran who served in Afghanistan, only to tragically lose his life on home soil at the Route 91 Harvest festival. He was celebrating his birthday at the music festival with his mother.
Chris served in the United States Navy as a dog handler and rose to Petty Officer 3rd class. He earned an Army Commendation Medal, a Combat Action Ribbon, and a Meritorious Unit Commendation. He was a manager at Crunch Fitness Gym in Colorado. He loved music and singing karaoke. His favorite singers were Luis Miguel and Christian Castro. He was a romantic who enjoyed watching 'chick flicks' with his mother.
Stories of Christopher paint a portrait of a kind man and hero. He was survived by his parents, and a host of other family members and friends.
Christopher Louis Roybal (Find a Grave)
Retired truck driver Brett Schwanbeck was known as "a big hunter and fisherman" by loved ones in the aftermath of his 2017 death in Las Vegas. Engaged to be married in January of 2017, Brett had a new life ahead of him. His fiance survived him.
"He loved to go Razor riding and any kind of outdoor activity. He loved going to the lake and swimming and camping. He would do anything in the world for anybody and would travel anywhere just to do things for other people. He always had the biggest, kookiest grin on his face. Everybody called him ‘The Big Kid."
Brett Schwanbeck (Find a Grave)
Bailey Schweitzer was the youngest victim to die at the Harvest 91 Route festival shooting, at just 20 years old. She worked as a receptionist at a consulting company. Bailey was remembered as a "country music fan who dedicated much of her spare time to the Bakersfield Speedway," with an addicting smile.
But, they say, they want to make Bailey proud. So they work hard daily to keep her spirit alive. Painting and decorating everything in their house with the color teal; Bailey's favorite color.
Bailey Schweitzer (Find a Grave)
Dodgers fan, legal secretary, and single mother Laura Anne Shipp, was remembered as "protective and no-nonsense" by loved ones following her death in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
"If you knew Laura was coming, you're guaranteed a good time,” said Mary Birg, who went to Thousand Oaks High School with her. “Everything she did, she did it with so much fun and zest."
— Wendy Leung, VC Star
Her remains rest in a Dodgers Stadium urn, along with a framed "letter written by Dodgers manager Dave Roberts offering sympathies."
Laura Anne Shipp (Find a Grave)
Security guard Erick Silva died at the Route 91 Harvest festival saving the lives of others. He was remembered by family and friends as a hero. He saved seven people before succumbing to his own injuries.The Las Vegas High School graduate and aspiring police officer began helping people climb over a barricade and toward an exit as the massacre unfolded, claiming 58 lives.
— Sandy Lopez, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Erick was among some of the youngest victims, making his death all the more tragic. His loved ones carry on his legacy by helping the homeless and participating in memorial events in honor of the victims. They aim to establish a non-profit with the goal of advocating for stricter gun laws.
Erick Silva (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Susan Smith was visiting Las Vegas with two friends, and was excited for a weekend of country music. The married mother of two adult children was among those who perished when a gunman opened fire on the crowd of festival-goers.
"She always had a smile on her face and... the kids loved her as well as all the staff and families," said Vista parent Charlene Tamparong, who had known Smith for three years, to the Simi Valley Acorn. Smith's friend Kathy Hinkle also told the paper that she felt numb after hearing about the loss. "She touched so many lives, whether it was through the schools, through the dance community at Gotta Dance, and just life in general," Hinkle said. "Her eternal smile is what I will remember most. Our community has lost a beautiful soul."
— Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, Bustle
Susan Smith was remembered by family and friends as an "ardent country music fan," with a great sense of humor. She was a longtime employee of the Simi Valley Unified School Districtas an office manager, where she was known as a popular figure.
Susan Smith (Facebook)
Brennan was a game hunter, sports lover, and aspiring country musician who "rarely missed an opportunity to attend a country concert." The young man who gave his life helping people escape the concert grounds was remembered as having a "selfless attitude and kindness towards others."
Brennan Lee Stewart (Youtube)
Derrick worked as a California correctional lieutenant, "who led inmates fighting wildfires" on the west coast. He was remembered as a man of quality in the loving obituary published in his honor:
In his life, Bo exemplified the quest for excellence. Bo constantly strived to reach the highest levels in his private and official lives. Bo loved competition, sports, the outdoors and his family. He loved conversation, honesty, character and his country. His joy in life and continuous positive demeanor were both palpable and infectious to those around him.
— Obituary of Derrick Dean 'Bo' Taylor, Marshall-Spoo Sunset Funeral Chapel
Neysa Tonks was remembered in her obituary as having an "exceptional, unconventional ability to succeed which allowed her to sky rocket in her career," who loved living her life to the fullest. Neysa Tonks was a single mother of three boys, and worked in technology sales at Technologent.
She loved traveling with her boys and discovering new things with a spontaneous sense of adventure. Neysa lived and loved every minute of her life, was quick to smile and truly was the life of every party.
— Obituary of Neysa Tonks, Las Vegas Review-Journal
Neysa Tonks (Las Vegas Review Journal Obituary)
Michelle Vo "posted photos showing fun and good times on her Instagram account merely minutes before the shooting occurred." In the aftermath of her death, family and friends remembered Michelle as a selfless person who lived her life to the fullest:
Not many people donate blood every two weeks, but Michelle Vo was not like most people. She was producer of the month at the insurance company where she worked, an avid rock climber and a golf enthusiast who liked to backpack across Europe.
—Maria Medina, SF Gate
Her loved ones keep Michelle's legacy alive through kind acts: "Before she died, Vo told her husband that if anything ever happened to her, she wanted her family and friends to do something kind for someone in honor of her memory."
Michelle Vo (Find a Grave)
Kurt Tillow and his family attended the Route 91 Harvest festival annually, making the trip for a weekend of country music and family time. There with his wife to "celebrate their daughter and son-in-law's wedding anniversary," the concert would be the country music fan's last.
Described as "the most patriotic person you've ever met," Kurt loved to spend time with his wife, children, and grandchildren.
"Guarantee you, he was covered in red, white and blue, with a Coors Light in his hand, smiling with his family and listening to some music," [Kurt's brother-in-law] said in an interview with KCRA.
— Annie Ma, Chron
Kurt Tillow (Facebook)
William W Wolfe Jr was remembered as a man who "loved nothing more than to give back to his community." He was at the country music festival with his wife. After being struck, she held him, protecting him in his final moments of life.Bill was a lover of country music. In the days and hours that preceded his death, he was having the time of his life with his wife, listening to his favorite country singers. His favorite artist was Eric Church. He was the first fan to shake Eric's hand at the concert, and that made his day.
He was an Engineer and employed with Dewberry Engineers at the time of his death. Remembered as a religious man who "volunteered countless hours and was a role model for many area youth," William gave back to his community in many ways.
William Wolfe Jr. (The Shippensburg News-Chronicle)
Two victims of the Las Vegas shooting were initially injured, but died in the subsequent years of complications of those injuries. These individuals lived through the carnage to tell their stories. They endured the publicity that followed for all involved in the tragedy, all while facing the physical, financial, and emotional consequences of their injuries.
Two years after the shooting, Kimberly Gervais' death was declared the 59th victim to die as a result of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting. She was paralyzed by her injuries at the country music festival, and died of complications of the spinal injuries she suffered in the shooting.
She was remembered as a country music fan, small-business owner and mother of two daughters.
Kimberly Gervais (GoFundMe)
Samanta Arjune was declared the 60th victim to die as a result of injuries sustained in the 2017 Las Vegas shooting in May 2020. Her obituary said she had been "in and out of the hospital since she suffered a gunshot wound in the leg during the tragedy on October 1, 2017."
Samanta was remembered in a tribute by her favorite local radio station upon the news of her death:
Sam Arjune was a long time friend of our show. We got to visit her back in November with a special surprise. She is now an angel looking down on us. Listen about this tragic news at the beginning of our podcast.
Samanta Arjune (Palm Northwest Mortuary & Cemetery)
When reports of the shooting began to emerge across social media and the news, families of those who attended the concert frantically texted and called their loved ones. In the chaos, many were unreachable. Some families, fearing the worst, headed to airports. They booked immediate flights to Las Vegas and attended the hospital, hoping to hear news. The death toll and casualty list was not immediately known. Families of the deceased remained to identify their loved ones, and arrange transportation of their bodies back home.
Those who were injured battled for their lives and limbs, and tried to access healthcare in the melee. Later, the families of deceased and injured victims established crowd fundraisers to try to pay for the unexpected funeral and medical bills.
Stephen Paddock shot through the door of his hotel suite, wounding a security guard, during the attack. By the time first responders were able to safely clear his floor and approach Paddock's room, he had taken his own life as well. This brought the total death toll to 61, including two victims who died of their injuries in the following years.
A tragedy of such deadly magnitude changes people and society in the aftermath. Here are some of the lasting impacts of the 2017 Las Vegas shooting.
The United States is the world leader by a massive margin in firearm ownership and gun violence. For years, gun control advocates have advocated for stricter laws, harsher punishments for offenders who use firearms, and more consistent tracking of gun ownership, including mental health checks. Mass shootings are so frequent that children are drilled on how to respond to an active school shooter.
Mass shootings typically reignite debate over this contentious subject, with gun advocates squaring up against the families of victims. Inevitably, the deadly Las Vegas shooting saw fierce efforts to enact gun control legislation in the aftermath:
But while stories of individuals appearing out of nowhere to perform heroic tasks increase faith in the essential goodness of people, the question remains of whether such widespread violence is preventable. In the wake of yet another mass shooting, many are calling on politicians to increase gun-control measures. Opponents say that introducing gun-control legislation would only serve to politicize the tragedy. But as gun violence continues to unfold at a rapid rate, gun control advocates have almost uniformly asked, "If not now, when?"
Gun control did not come to pass as a result of the country music festival shooting in Las Vegas. However, public awareness of the issue increased. Families of the victims began to tell their stories, and many urged regulation.
The shooter used bump stocks to effectively make fully automatic his semi-automatic rifles. Using high-capacity magazines, he was able to rapidly spray the crowd with more rounds of ammunition during his 10-minute spree.
Following the attack, several states placed heavy restrictions on the sales of bump stocks. In 2018, they were banned federally.
One of the first questions to answer after the Las Vegas shooting was, "How could anyone bring that many firearms, ammunition, and accessories into a hotel undetected?" While hotels may be held liable for not protecting their customers from potential mass shootings and other attacks, there are no uniform regulations in place. Many hotels implemented new internal regulations in the aftermath of the shooting to protect guests from violent events — and to protect themselves from future lawsuits.
The Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino, as well as other properties owned by MGM Resorts — including the Bellagio, Monte Carlo, and the MGM Grand — have increased security levels, according to a spokesperson from the company. The Wynn Resort in Las Vegas added new security measures after the shooting, scanning guests with metal detectors and putting bags through X-ray machines.
There have been no Route 91 Harvest festivals since the tragic shooting in 2017. MGM settled with the victims of the attack for negligence in allowing the shooter to stockpile weapons in his hotel room. With the way clear to resume the annual country music party, organizers tried in 2019 and 2020 to reprise the festival. However, with the arrival of COVID-19 early in 2020, concerts, festivals, nightclubs, and other indoor venues were forced to change the ways they present entertainment. It's unlikely the Route 91 Harvest festival will be able to return for some time.
Perhaps the most chilling takeaway in the years following the 2017 Las Vegas shooting is the lack of meaningful legislation enacted to reduce gun violence. While some adjustments have been made, such as the banning of bump stocks, the United States have not seen a decrease in gun killings.
High-capacity magazines, semi-automatic weapons, explosives, and other military-grade weapons are available in many states without a required background check or a cooling off period. The gun show loophole means firearms sold at gun shows are not required to have federal background checks. This effectively enables anyone of age to become the legal owner of a firearm without a background check.
Instead of regulating, children practice hiding from school shooters. Instead of background checks, people with murderous plans will be armed with the deadly weapons needed to carry out their crimes. Instead of fighting for life and health for all citizens, more people will continue to suffer injuries, loss of life, financial devastation, and grieve for lost loved ones.
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