Las Vegas massacre took the lives of a nurse, a teacher, a police employee and many others
"He saved my life," the wife of one victim said
One was a man who died shielding his wife from gunfire on their wedding anniversary. Another was a city of Las Vegas employee who died in his boyfriend’s arms. And two others were a veteran corrections officer and his girlfriend who died on the trip they had planned for weeks.
At least 58 people were killed and nearly 500 others were injured Sunday night, authorities say, when a gunman fired on an outdoor country musical festival from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel in the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history.
Here are the victims’ stories:
Andrea Castilla was holding hands with her sister, Athena, at the music festival when the gunfire erupted, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her family. She was shot in the head.
Her boyfriend, Derek Miller, Athena and her fiancé, Shane Armstrong, carried Andrea out of the concert venue as bullets continued to rain down, according to the fundraising page. They stopped a passing truck to take her to a hospital, where she died.
“Her beautiful soul will live on forever,” her father, Gus, wrote on Facebook. “I will think of her every day. … I feel Andrea is now an angel in heaven.”
In another post, her father added, “I will cry my self to sleep… Daddy misses you.”
Castilla worked at Sephora in Huntington Beach, California. A company statement said she was “known to her colleagues … for her vibrancy, liveliness, caring and consideration of others.”
Carrie Parsons, 31, was “always the life of the party and had the biggest heart,” her aunt Barbara wrote on Facebook.
“We lost our beautiful niece to a totally senseless act in Las Vegas,” Barbara Parsons wrote. “There really are no words to describe the pain of missing Carrie on our whole family. … Recently engaged, she had her whole life in front of her.”
A Seattle-area resident, Parsons was at the Las Vegas music festival on a trip with her girlfriends, CNN affiliate KOMO reported.
“She would always say, ‘live, laugh, love’ and she did that,” her friend Laura Cooper told KOMO.
Parsons, a lover of country music, had a “vibrant, bubbly personality,” her friend Robbie Walden told CNN affiliate KCPQ.
Austin Meyer, a Marina, California, resident, was at the concert with his fiancée Dana Getreu to celebrate his 24th birthday, according to CNN affiliate KSBW. They were also celebrating an upcoming anniversary.
Meyer had recently moved to Reno, Nevada, where he was an automotive student at Truckee Meadows Community College, the school said in a statement.
“He was a wonderful young man and my future son-in-law,” Getreu’s father, Gary, said in the statement posted on the college’s Facebook page.
“He loved attending the automotive program at your school and praised it all the time. … The loss and grief his family and mine feel at this time is beyond belief.”
Mayer hoped to open his own auto repair shop after graduation, according to his sister, Veronica Meyer.
“He was excited to get married and start a family,” she told KSBW.
She described her brother as “ambitious, smart, and hard-working,” and said he “always had a smile on his face.”
Brett Schwanbeck, 61, attended the music festival with his fiancée, Anna Orozco, who survived and told his family he had been fatally shot, according to his niece, Carla Van Hoosen.
“Brett was a great man that was funny, generous, kind, loving and so full of joy,” Van Hoosen wrote on a GoFundMe page she started for his family’s expenses.
“He would drive 500 miles to help you if you needed it. He loved his family dearly and cherished lake trips, family gatherings, hunting, camping and spending time with his kids and grandkids.”
The Bullhead City, Arizona, resident died from his injuries Tuesday at Sunrise Hospital & Medical Center in Las Vegas. The retired truck driver is survived by five siblings, three children and five grandchildren.
Teresa Nicol Kimura
Teresa Nicol Kimura, known as Nicol, was at the concert with six friends, said Ryan Miller, pastor at For His Glory Community Church in Fullerton, California.
Miller was among those friends. He said they all scattered when the shooting started. After the rest of the group reconnected, the friends learned Kimura had died.
Kimura, 38, of Placentia, California, worked for the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration in Irvine.
“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,” Miller wrote on a GoFundMe page he started for her family. “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.”
Responding to the news, the press office of California Gov. Jerry Brown wrote on Twitter, “Sad to learn @cdtfa employee Teresa Nicol Kimura was a victim of the Las Vegas shooting. We send sincere condolences to family & coworkers.”
Keri Lynn Galvan
Keri Lynn Galvan, 31, lived in Thousand Oaks, California. The mother of three was a server at Mastro’s Steakhouse.
“Her days started and ended with doing everything in her power to be a wonderful mother,” her sister Lindsey Poole wrote on a GoFundMe page created for the family. “She was senselessly murdered on October 1st, 2017 while enjoying a night out with her husband and friends.”
Tilman Fertitta, chairman and CEO of Landry’s Inc., Mastro’s parent company, said the company is deeply saddened by Galvan’s death.
“Keri was with our Mastro’s family for almost 10 years and was a valued member of our team,” Fertitta said. “Our condolences go out to her family and all those who knew and cared for Keri. We are raising funds internally to help support her family during this difficult time.”
Rocio Guillen Rocha
Rocio Guillen Rocha and her fiancé were in Las Vegas to celebrate a friend’s birthday, and the couple were at the concert when she was shot.
She was taken to a hospital but didn’t survive, her family said.
A resident of Anaheim, California, she leaves behind four children, including a son born just weeks ago.
She was an assistant manager at a California Pizza Kitchen restaurant – and she once struggled through what was once feared to be permanent paralysis, said her eldest son, Marcus Guillen, 18.
“She was paralyzed having my brother” years ago, Guillen told CNN. “She had a blood clot in her spine. The doctors said she would never walk again. She proved everyone wrong. She was able walk. After that, she ran half marathons.
“She did everything she could. She always fought for us. I want (people) to remember just how much a fighter she was and how much she worked and how much she provided for us.”
She is survived by her fiancé, Chris Jaksha, and her children: Marcus; Christopher, 13; Sofia, 1; and a 1-month-old, Austin.
Patricia ‘Pati’ Mestas
Patricia “Pati” Mestas, 67, attended the festival with some friends and was near the front of the stage when the shooting began, her cousin Tom Smith said.
Mestas was a retired gas station, convenience store and deli manager from Menifee, California, and she loved country music, traveling and her family, Smith said.
“This was the best part of her life,” Smith said, adding she talked of having time now to be with her grandchildren. “I remember the almost constant laughter.”
Smith recalls spending time with Mestas in March after their last remaining uncle died. He sat next to her at dinner. “It was difficult for life to defeat her,” he said. “I remember her being able to talk about the good things, rather than talk about illnesses, like older people do. She loved to laugh, loved to smile – a big smile that would line up the whole of her face.”
Mestas leaves two brothers, three children, eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Brian Fraser of La Palma, California, attended the festival with about 20 people that included his wife and children. Nick Arellano, the oldest of Fraser’s four children, described him as “the most involved parent.”
He coached his children’s football and baseball teams and was in the school parents’ association. Arellano was 11 when Fraser married his mother and adopted him. The couple had three other children, who are ages 17, 10 and 4. “He took care of all (of) us,” Arellano said. “Every person he was in contact with saw his love and compassion and honesty.”
Jason Aldean, the last act of Route 91 Harvest, was Fraser’s favorite country singer. Fraser and his wife were walking toward the stage for his favorite Aldean song, “Dirt Road Anthem” when he was shot, Arellano said. A friend performed CPR on Fraser and loaded him into a wheel barrow to seek medical attention. Doctors and nurses did everything they could, but Fraser died of his injuries. “We don’t know who they are, but we want to thank them,” Arellano said.
Fraser was vice president of sales at Greenpath Funding. The company released a statement after his death: “Brian Fraser impacted everyone who crossed his path with his infectious positive energy, his tenacious will to succeed, and his willingness to help others.
“Our hearts are broken, and the Greenpath family will never forget you, Brian.”
Denise Cohen of Carpinteria, California, was a property manager in Santa Barbara with two children. She attended the concert with her companion, Derrick “Bo” Taylor.
The couple had been planning the trip for weeks, her friend Leana Orsua told CNN affiliate KEYT. Cohen was planning to volunteer at the California Avocado Festival the following weekend.
“She was a very active, social person. She touched so many lives. She was a super positive, genuine, kindhearted individual,” Orsua said.
She said Cohen and Taylor met at a social gathering and quickly became friends, then roommates. Orsua shared a text message with KETY from Cohen’s son, Jeff Rees, remembering his mother.
“Our mother was such a strong, beautiful and happy woman who made a difference to the lives of everyone she knew,” he wrote. “She was such a happy person and enjoyed doing the things in life that she loved. We can see by the last photo of her that she was indeed happy and with a person that loves her, Bo.”
Derrick ‘Bo’ Taylor
Derrick “Bo” Taylor, 56, was a veteran with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.
Taylor joined the department about 30 years ago, rising to the rank of lieutenant. He worked at the Ventura Conservation Camp, which houses up to 110 adult male inmates. The camp helps train inmates to become regional firefighters.
He attended the concert with his girlfriend, Denise Cohen.
Taylor’s loss will be felt deeply, Warden Joel Martinez wrote in a memo to staff, according to a department newsletter.
“There are no words to express the feeling of loss and sadness regarding Bo’s passing. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends,” Martinez wrote.
In the comments section of the notice on his death, people praised Taylor as a good co-worker and friend. As one person said, “Bo was a great man, as a supervisor he set the bar so high that no one will ever be able to touch it.”
Kurt von Tillow
Kurt von Tillow of Cameron Park, California, and his wife Mary Jo were best friends who did everything together. They golfed together and recently brought their two grandchildren to Disneyland. Together, they attended the country musical festival with their daughter and two more relatives.
Von Tillow’s wife and daughter escaped unharmed. But the 55-year-old truck driver died of his injuries, a relative told CNN. Von Tillow’s sister and niece were hospitalized Monday and are expected to survive, Janet Carson-Tenney said.
“He lived a perfect life. He was loved by everybody, he didn’t have an enemy, he didn’t have a mean bone in his body. He was the life of the party,” Carson-Tenney told CNN. She’ll remember his laugh and how much he loved his family.
Jack Beaton of Bakersfield, California, and his wife Laurie were celebrating their 23rd wedding anniversary with friends at the concert.
He was shot while shielding his wife from the gunfire, CNN affiliate KBAK reported.
“He never passed up an opportunity to give somebody a hand,” Beaton’s father-in-law Jerry Cook told KBAK. “He always had a smile on his face. He had countless friends. Everybody that came in contact with him loved the guy.”
Three hours before the shooting, he posted a blurry photo on Facebook of the gang lounging on the lawn, koozie-covered beers in hand.
The day after the shooting, Beaton’s son shared a picture on Twitter of his father and asked for prayers.
“He jumped in front of my mom and got shot,” he wrote. “I love you dad.”
Later, he posted on Facebook: “Lost my best friend. I love you so much more (than) you could ever imagine.”
John Phippen, a 56-year-old father of six, was fatally shot while shielding a woman from the gunfire, Phippen’s neighbor said.
Phippen was hit after his son stopped to help someone else, said Leah Nagyivanyi, Phippen’s neighbor and close friend for 17 years. His son was wounded in the arm, she said.
Phippen lost his wife three years ago, said Nagyivanyi. Her family went on camping trips with Phippen and his clan. He was the kind of person who got along with both children and adults, she said.
“Our kids look up to us, and look to us for guidance, but these kids considered John their best friend,” Nagyivani said. “That tells a lot about the kind of person you are. He was everybody’s best friend.”
One time, when a boat flipped over during a camping trip, Phippen and his son sprang into action just like they did at the concert, she said.
“He was a man of integrity who always had your back,” she said. “There is nothing he couldn’t do for you, wouldn’t do for you. You didn’t even have to ask.”
Thomas Day Jr.
Thomas Day Jr., 54, of Riverside, California, was with his four children at the festival, said Bruce Abbey, a vice president of a California construction company where Day worked.
His daughter Whitney Day wrote the following about her father:
“My sisters Candice and Kelsey and brother Nolan and I just want to say that he was our rock, he was our everything. Anyone he came across he put a smile on their face. All our friends would call him Daddy Day because he treated everyone like one of his own and it was an honor to us all to be able to share our dad with the world.”
Day was an estimator at Portrait Construction in Corona, California, and had been at the company for more than 20 years, Abbey said.
Austin Davis, a pipefitter from Riverside, California, was at the concert with a friend and her family. The friend’s father, Tom Day Jr., was also killed.
His girlfriend of nine years, Aubree Hennigan, said he loved playing softball. Katelyn Hood, who said Davis was her best friend and her baby’s godfather, described him as a man’s man with a contagious smile.
“He worked so very hard and took the most pride in that and anything he did. Austin didn’t half-a** anything in life. If he knew you, he loved you. That’s just how he cared for people,” Hood said.
Davis’ mother, Lori Quick, said he was her everything. In his last text to her, he said, “I kinda want to come home, I love home,” Quick said in a Facebook post.
“He is coming home not in a way that any parent would want him to. We wanted to bring him home in our arms,” she said.
Chris Hazencomb, 44, was excited to see one of his favorite artists, Jason Aldean, at Route 91 Harvest.
Hazencomb went to the festival with his friend Nikki Torres. Torres said she and her husband knew Hazencomb for years and considered him part of their family.
“He was the nicest person I have known. He loved to help people and thought of others before himself,” she told CNN.
Like many attendees, they thought the first round of gunshots were firecrackers. “After the second or third rounds, we realized that it was bad,” Torres said. “That is when I looked over and he was on the ground.”
After that, Torres said her memories blur together. She saw a man try to help Hazencomb while others led her away from the scene.
Hazencomb’s mother told the Ventura County Star that he was a sports a junkie who worked at the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Camarillo, California.
Laura Shipp, 50, spent two days at the festival with her son, Corey. They were “big concertgoers, especially when it came to country,” a family friend said in an online fund-raiser.
At some point during the shooting, the two became separated, and Corey Shipp spent the day afterward looking for his mother. By Wednesday, she had been identified, her brother told CNN.
Shipp, an avid Dodgers fan, moved to Las Vegas about five years ago to be closer to her son, the Ventura County Star reported.
“She was his world and he was hers,” her brother Steve Shipp told the newspaper.
Aimee Mack, one of Shipp’s friends, told CNN that they’d been close since they met in the ninth grade, and that Shipp was generous and “was smart as a whip and had a huge heart.”
“Laura made friends with everyone,” Mack said.
Victor Link of Aliso Viejo, California, described himself on his company’s website as a “tequila quality control tester.” He also enjoyed traveling, snowboarding, golfing, cooking and wine tasting with family and friends.
Andrew Soss said that Link worked for his mortgage originator business.
“He was the most genuine, stand-up guy you’ll ever meet. He brought a smile to everyone’s face,” Soss said.
Link was attending the concert with his fiancée and their friends.
“They came back from a two-week trip from Europe a month ago, and they were traveling and living life,” his nephew Vincent Link told The Bakersfield Californian.
Christiana Duarte had recently started working for the Los Angeles Kings after graduating from the University of Arizona in May with a degree in mass communications. The NHL team put out a call for information about her Sunday night.
“Our organization is overwhelmed with grief over the loss of our colleague Chrissy,” Kings President Luc Robitaille said in a statement. “In just a brief period of time, Chrissy had an immeasurable impact on all of us. We want to make every effort to ensure that everyone knows how special she was and the impact she already had made on so many people.
She had worked with the Los Angeles Rams as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks. She enjoyed playing intramural soccer, softball and volleyball.
Her alma mater confirmed her death. The school said it is reaching out to those who knew her, including her Sigma Kappa sorority sisters.
“All of us in the University of Arizona community are saddened that Christiana Duarte, one of our graduates from this past May, is among the victims from Las Vegas on Sunday night,” President Robert C. Robbins said in a statement. “This attack is a terrible tragedy for hundreds of families, and it is a shocking and horrific event for all of us. I know I speak for the UA community in expressing our deepest condolences to Christiana’s family and in asking for their privacy to be respected.”
Carly Kreibaum’s passion for art lives on in a Sutherland, Iowa, flower shop, where she painted flowers on the storefront. Florist Bonnie Wallinga, owner of The Menagerie, told CNN affiliate KTIV that the married mother of two didn’t have a mean bone in her body.
Kreibaum’s sister-in-law confirmed that she was among the victims of the mass shooting.
Brennan Lee Stewart
Las Vegas native Brennan Lee Stewart shielded his girlfriend and helped others to safety before he was shot dead, his family said in a statement.
“Brennan was the kind of guy who always put others before himself, including up to the moment he lost his life,” the family said.
Stewart loved country music, played the guitar and wrote music, his family said.
Last year he posted to Facebook his cover of the Cole Swindell song “You Should Be Here.” As of Wednesday, the post received more than 134,000 views and more than 1,170 shares.
“His love for country music was shown through the songs that he wrote, and the music he played on his guitar. Brennan rarely missed an opportunity to attend a country concert,” his family said.
Dana Gardner of Grand Terrace, California, was the deputy recorder of the San Bernardino County assessor-recorder-clerk’s office.
“We are devastated and still in shock trying to comprehend what happened last (Sunday) night,” her daughter Kayla Gardner posted to Facebook on Monday. “My family and I appreciate the outpouring of love and support and ask for prayers at this time.”
Dana Gardner was a county employee for more than two decades and was known for her “can-do” attitude and vibrant energy, said Bob Dutton, San Bernardino County’s assessor-recorder-clerk.
“Dana will be dearly missed by family, friends, and co-workers. San Bernardino County mourns her loss. We offer our deepest condolences to Dana’s loved ones and to all those impacted by this horrific event,” Dutton said.
“Our mom was an amazing human being and she stood for everything good in the world,” Gardner’s daughter, Kayla, told CNN. “She had a contagious smile that would light up a room and a sense of humor that would make everyone laugh.”
“She instilled in us the importance of love and caring for human beings, and was a person with no hate who saw people for their character and always saw the good in them,” she said.
Cameron Robinson lived in southwestern Utah but commuted to Las Vegas, where he worked as a legal records specialist, said his sister, Meghan Ervin.
He was at the concert with his boyfriend, Ervin told CNN affiliate KUTV.
Dorene Anderson, 49, of Alaska, was at the concert with her daughters, CNN affiliate KTUU in Anchorage reported.
The Alaska Housing Finance Corp., which employs her husband, John, confirmed her death.
Dorene Anderson’s family released this statement through the employer:
“Due to this horrific and terrible situation, our family is dealing with a great loss. She (Dorene) was the most amazing wife, mother and person this world ever had. We are so grateful and lucky for the time that we did have with her. We are greatly appreciative and want to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers you have been sending us. We are dealing with the situation as a family, and would appreciate our privacy as we grieve for our loss.”
Lisa Patterson, from Los Angeles’ San Pedro community, was a mother of three. She was attending the concert with four friends.
Patterson was active in church, helped coach in a girls’ softball league and was devoted to her family, said her husband, Robert Patterson.
After hearing about the shooting, he drove to Las Vegas with his son and eldest daughter on Monday morning but couldn’t immediately find out what happened to his wife.
A coroner called him Monday evening to tell him she’d passed away. He returned to Los Angeles, where he broke the news of her death to their youngest daughter, who’s 8.
“I can’t believe she’s gone. … She was such a warm, caring person. There was nobody that cared more about people and life than my wife, Lisa,” Robert Patterson told CNN affiliate KCBS.
“She was such an amazing person. She cared for so many people,” her eldest daughter, Amber Patterson, told CNN. “She was so enthusiastic. She was literally the best mom, and she was my best friend.”
Amber said she appreciated hearing people’s fond memories of her mother.
“When I got my belly button pierced and her going with me … that kind of stuff really is what makes me think of her and makes me happy to remember her,” she said.
Steve Berger of Wauwatosa, Wisconsin, was killed in Sunday’s attack, his father told CNN affiliate WTMJ.
He was celebrating his 44th birthday with friends in Las Vegas, the TV station reported.
Berger moved to Minnesota about 10 years ago and was a financial adviser for EFS Advisors.
“Steve was passionate about his work as a financial adviser, and was beloved by his clients,” the company said in a statement. “He cared so much for others and was always willing to take time to listen to clients, friends, and co-workers to offer a helping hand.”
The father of three children was able to run a successful financial planning business, get his kids to school in the morning and off to soccer practice in the evening, his father, Richard Berger, told CNN affiliate WCCO.
“He was the greatest father for his three kids that you’d ever want,” the elder Berger told the TV station.
Bill Wolfe Jr.
Bill Wolfe Jr. was a youth wrestling coach in Shippensburg, Pennsylvania.
“It is with the most of broken hearts, the families of Bill Wolfe Jr. and his wife, Robyn, share that Bill has been confirmed to be among the deceased as a result of the mass attack in Las Vegas,” the Shippensburg Police Department said on Facebook.
Carl Bert, owner of a surveying and engineering firm, told CNN affiliate WPVI that Wolfe had once worked for him as an engineer. Bert described him as personable, fun, easy to work with and a devoted Christian, WPVI reported.
Jordyn Rivera was in her fourth year at California State University, San Bernardino. The university released a statement confirming her death.
“It is with the utmost sadness I must report that a member of our campus community is among the victims,” university President Tomás Morales said.
Rivera was warm, optimistic and kind, he said.
Katie Ortega, who has known Rivera for years, said they played softball together as kids.
Rivera “was and always will be a role model to many,” Ortega said. “She would always make it a point to make every single individual feel special, always laughing at my stupid jokes.”
She was passionate about softball.
“That softball diamond was her heaven,” Ortega said.
Heather Warino Alvarado
Heather Alvarado, 35, was a mother of three and married to Albert Alvarado, a firefighter in Cedar City, Utah. The couple loved traveling with their three children.
“She always saw the good in others. She spent her whole life serving others in her family and community,” the Cedar City Fire Department said in a Facebook post.
“She was happiest when she was together with her family, especially her children and she would do anything for them.”
“They appreciate your many words of kindness and concern,” the post said.
Candice Bowers was a single mother of three. Her family described her as a superhero who loved country music.
“It was a gift that she was able to spend her final moments doing what she loved with those she loved even more,” her family said.
“Her strength, fierce loyalty and memory will live on through their lives and those of her family and friends who loved her so dearly.”
Her children included a recently adopted 2-year-old, her family said in a statement.
Adrian Murfitt, 35, was a commercial fisherman from Alaska.
Murfitt had surprised his friend with a weekend trip to Las Vegas when the shooting happened. His friend Brian MacKinnon held him in his lap as he passed away from gunshot wounds.
His mother, Avonna Murfitt, told CNN that her son was jolly and caring.
ʺEvery one of his friends was his best friend,ʺ she said. ʺHe will be missed by all who knew him, and most of all by me.ʺ
The outpouring of love has been amazing, Avonna Murfitt said.
“We are humbled by the way everyone who knew him has offered assistance to help in bringing him home and celebrating his life,” she said.
Kelsey Meadows, 28, was a substitute teacher in California’s Taft Union High School District.
Meadows graduated from Taft Union High School in 2007 and later earned a bachelor’s degree from Fresno State University. She returned to the Taft community, where she had worked as a regular substitute teacher with the district since 2012, the district said in a statement.
Taft Union High School Principal Mary Alice Finn said Meadows was “smart, compassionate and kind.”
“She had a sweet spirit and a love for children,” Finn said. “Words cannot adequately capture the sorrow felt by her students, colleagues and friends in learning of her passing.”
Melissa Ramirez graduated from California State University Bakersfield in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in business administration.
Flags at the school were lowered on Monday in honor of Ramirez and the other victims and will remain so through sunset on Friday, the school said in a statement.
“We are terribly saddened to learn that we lost a member of our CSUB family in this senseless act of violence. Our entire CSUB campus community is heartbroken, and we send our deepest sympathies to Melissa Ramirez’s family and friends,” the school said.