I’m sure by now we all know about the tragedy that happened in Las Vegas this past Sunday. If you don’t already, let me give you a little knowledge. At 10:08pm on Sunday at the Route 91 Harvest festival, a 64 year old white man named Stephen Paddock shot from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino into a crowd of 22,000 people. 58 victims were shot and more than 500 people were sped off to nearby hospitals.
So now that you know some of the details, who were the victims in the Las Vegas massacre?
Angie (Angela) Gomez, age 20, from Riverside California
Angie was training to be a nurse assistant. When attending the music festival, she was occupied by her highschool sweetheart, Ethan Sanchez. When shot, Gomez struggled to breath and Sanchez carried her to the nearest car to get her to the hospital, but it was too late. Another close person to Angie was her older sister Tawny Finn. "She was such a good baby. ... She'd barely ever cried but when she did, I'd sing to her and she'd put her ear up to my mouth and just stop crying. She was just so wonderful." Says Finn. Her family describes her as beautiful, caring, intelligent, selfless, and curious. Such a wonderful person gone at such a young age.
Jordan Mcildoon, age 23, from Maple Ridge Canada
Jordan was the picture perfect cowboy. A heavy duty mechanic, tattoo covered guy who loved the outdoors. He too was attending the Festival with his partner/girlfriend. But when he was down on the ground hanging on to whatever life he had left, instead of holding the hand of his girlfriend he was holding a complete strangers named Heather Gooze. Gooze was a working bartender at the concert, and when several men carried Jordan over to the bar, Gooze knelt down and grasp his hands in a show of comfort. She could only describe it as "I felt, like, a squeeze on my fingers and then I just felt the fingers go loose," After a few minutes of dead silence the phone rings and Gooze picks it up and finds it to be one of Mcildoon’s friends asking if he was ok. Gooze told them what had happened and ended up getting in contact with Mcildoon’s girlfriend (who was locked down in a nearby hotel) and his mother who was back in Canada. Feeling like Gooze needed to help in some way she promised them that she would stay with his body until authorities could take over. Gooze told CNN "I would like to think, if it was me, somebody wouldn't let me sit there alone."
Christopher Roybal, age 28, from Corona California
Roybal was a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan. His mother, Debbie Allen, was the one to confirm his death via a post on Facebook. Heartbroken and devastated his mother wrote "Today is the saddest day of my life, my heart is broken in a billion pieces". Along with that a old Navy shipmate named Matthew Austin says "it breaks my heart and infuriates me that a veteran can come home from war unharmed and events like these occur. Shipmate, you were taken much [too] soon." Roybal wrote on FB in July, describing what is like to be shot at as "The anger stays, long after your friends have died, the lives you've taken are buried and your boots are placed neatly in a box in some storage unit. Still covered in the dirt you've refused to wash off for fear of forgetting the most raw emotions you as a human being will ever feel again. What's it like to be shot at? It's a nightmare no amount of drugs, no amount of therapy and no amount of drunk talks with your war veteran buddies will ever be able to escape. Cheers boys."
That’s only three of the stories out of 58 people whose lives were taken, and there are many stories that are yet to be heard. I didn’t list all of them, because then we would have a novel. Some victims were mothers, others fathers, and sons, and daughters. They were policemen/women, veterans, firefighters, students, lawyers, musicians, artist, lovers, and idealists. Even if you don’t know them, you can already tell they were fantastic people. Even if you don’t know them, hold them and their family/friends close to your heart. I’m sure we all know what it’s like to lose someone you love or someone who is close to you. Las Vegas, hang in there. We're keeping you in our thoughts.
Story by Trinity Barnwell-Thomas