Following Las Vegas shooting: Veterans, nurse, school driver and teacher die

Details have emerged of some of those killed when Stephen Paddock opened fire on innocent concert-goers in Las Vegas on Sunday night.

Chris Roybal, 28, was a Navy veteran from Southern California who had recently returned from Afghanistan.

In his last public Facebook post, back in July, Roybal related what he says when people ask him: “What’s it like being shot at?”

“A question people ask because it’s something that less that 1% of our American population will ever experience,” he wrote.

“My response has always been the same, not one filled with a sense of pride or ego, but an answer filled with truth and genuine fear/anger,” he said, adding that over time, the “excitement fades and the anger is all that’s left”.

His friend and fellow Navy “shipmate” Matthew Austin wrote on Facebook: “It breaks my heart and infuriates me that a veteran can come home from war unharmed and events like these occur.”

“He went to combat and came back without being injured, and then goes to a concert and dies,” Roybal’s mother told NBC4.

An off-duty Las Vegas police officer is among those who died. He was identified by friends speaking to the Las Vegas Review-Journal as 34-year-old Charleston Hartfield, a military veteran who also coached youth football.

The Tennessean reports the death of Sonny Melton, 29. The paper quotes his wife, Heather, as saying the nurse, from Big Sandy, saved her life by grabbing her as the shooting started. She says he was shot in the back.

A woman from West Virginia, Denise Burditus, was at the festival with her husband Tony. He later wrote on Facebook that she died in his arms. She was a mother of two and “soon to be a grandmother of five”, he wrote.

A special education teacher from Manhattan Beach in California, Sandy Casey, died after being shot in the back. She was with her fiancé, Christopher Willemse at the concert. Manhattan Beach Middle School, where they were colleagues, described her as “absolutely loved by students and colleagues alike”. She had “made a tremendous difference in the lives of our students and their families”, Superintendent Mike Matthews was quoted as saying on ABC7.

Also from Manhattan Beach was Rachael Parker, a records technician with the local police department, who was with three other off-duty colleagues at the concert. She was among two who were shot, ultimately losing her life in hospital. Her colleague suffered minor injuries, the Manhattan Beach Police Department said, adding that Ms Parker had been with them for 10 years and would be greatly missed.

Jennifer T Irvine, 42, was a family law attorney with her own practice in San Diego. Her website said outside of work she was a black-belt in Taekwondo, an avid snowboarder and was aspiring to learn to rock climb and sky-dive.

Thomas Day, a home builder in California, was at the concert with his four children, who survived. “He was the best dad. That’s why the kids were with him,” his father told the LA Times.

Thirty-five-year-old skydiver and mother-of-three Hannah Ahlers was “a devoted mother and wife”, a friend said, and “one of the most beautiful women I have ever seen with a heart to match”.

Angie Gomez, a cheerleader from Riverside, California, was “a cheerful young lady with a warm heart and loving spirit” according to a fundraising page set up for her family.

Dana Gardner, 52, had been a San Bernardino county employee for 26 years and was described as a “go-to person” and a “dedicated public servant”.

John Phippen, from Santa Clarita in California, was reportedly shot in the back. The Signal reports that Mr Phippen’s son, Travis, was shot in the arm but survived.

Also from near Santa Clarita was kindergarten teacher Jenny Parks, who was there with her husband Bobby. “She was truly one of the most loving people you could ever hope to meet,” Mr Parks’ uncle Steven McCarthy said. A fundraising page has been set up to help Mr Parks who was injured in the attack, and their two children.

Vista Elementary School in Simi Valley, a few miles west of Santa Clarita, confirmed it had lost its office manager, 53-year-old Susan Smith. Principal Julie Ellis told Simi Valley Acorn news website in an email she “was a wonderful person, kind, loving, patient with our students, efficient and she had a wonderful sense of humour”.

Another school official, 48-year-old Lisa Romero-Muniz, was also killed. The mother and grandmother was secretary at Miyamura High School in Gallup, New Mexico, local education officials confirmed, describing her as “an incredible loving and sincere friend, mentor and advocate for students in many of our schools”.

fundraising page has been set up for the family of Rhonda LeRocque, from Tewksbury, Massachusetts. Her aunt, who set up the page, said she was a much-loved wife and mother of a six-year-old girl.

California IT firm Technologent confirmed one of its employees, Neysa Tonks, had died in the shooting. They described the mother-of-three as a great mother, colleague and friend who “brought so much joy, fun and laughter… she will be greatly missed by all!” They too have set up a fundraising page.

Disney boss Robert Iger paid tribute to Carrie Barnette, who had been part of the Disney California Adventure culinary team for 10 years and “was beloved by her friends and colleagues”. He also prayed for the recovery of another Disney staff member Jessica Milam, who was seriously injured in the attack.

A vigil was held for 20-year-old country music fan Bailey Schweitzer at her place of work, Infinity Communications in Bakersfield, California, on Monday evening. “She was everything to us,” her colleague Amie Campbell was quoted as saying.

The Alaska Dispatch News reports that two Alaskans were killed in the shooting – Adrian Murfitt, 35, a salmon fisher who was at the country music festival with friends, and Dorene Anderson, 49, a stay-at-home mum who was there with her daughters. Both came from Anchorage.

Adrian Murfitt
Image copyright REUTERS
Image caption Mr Murfitt was taking a picture with a friend when he was shot in the neck, the friend said

At least three Canadians are among the dead, CBC reports.

It names one as Jordan McIldoon, 23, and a mechanic’s apprentice, from British Columbia. He was attending the country music festival with his girlfriend.

Jessica Klymchuk, 34 and from Alberta, was a bus driver and school assistant. She had four children.

Another woman from Alberta died in the attack, according to CBC.

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