breaking news


Some Las Vegas victims died with family, friends at side

Published: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 3:55 AM
Updated: Wednesday, October 04, 2017 @ 3:52 AM


            This undated photo shows Nicol Kimura, one of the people killed in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, at a country music festival. (Facebook via AP)
This undated photo shows Nicol Kimura, one of the people killed in Las Vegas after a gunman opened fire on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2017, at a country music festival. (Facebook via AP)

friends they considered family — when they were shot and killed.

All shared the terror caused by a gunman spraying bullets into a crowd of concertgoers from a high-rise hotel in Las Vegas, ending a day of dancing and smiles with bloody horror.

Here are stories about some of the 58 people who didn't make it out alive.

'FRAMILY' GROUP MISSING A MEMBER

Nicol Kimura, 38, went to the festival with a group of seven men and women who call themselves "framily" — friends who are like family. She was fatally shot seconds after the gunfire began, said Ryan Miller, a businessman and pastor who is part of the group.

A Southern California native who lived in Placentia, Kimura's survivors include her parents, a sister and the friends who were with her when she died. She was single and didn't have children, but she was treated like family by the kids of group members, Miller said.

"She was a mom to all of our kids; they called her 'auntie,'" he said. "I have two kids myself, and they were just absolutely devastated that they will not be able to see her again."

Kimura worked in a tax office for Orange County and spent most weekends with her friends. No one else in the group was shot.

"She was just such an amazing woman and she was just such a light," he said.

HE WAS 'TOO GOOD FOR THIS WORLD'

Brian Fraser, a father of four, was moving toward the stage in anticipation of Jason Aldean playing his favorite song, "Dirt Road Anthem," when gunshots rang out.

While others around him ducked for safety, Fraser looked around to try to spot where the shots were coming from, so that he could shield his wife. He died doing just that, his son, Nick Arellano, said.

Fraser's friend ushered their wives and friends to safety before rushing back to perform CPR on Fraser. A doctor and several nurses in the crowd came to help, eventually loading Fraser into a wheelbarrow and taking him to paramedics.

Arellano recounted the story as told to him by his wife, his mother, and family friends. Arellano had been at the concert with them for the prior two days, but chose to head home early, just missing the harrowing scene.

Arellano described Fraser, 39, as "the definition of American," a man who boated, hunted, fished and snowboarded. Fraser married his wife, Stephanie, 11 years ago, adopting Arellano and one of her other children.

The couple had two more children together, now ages 4 and 10. The family lives in La Palma, California.

He worked as vice president of sales for a mortgage company and mentored fellow loan officers around the country.

"He taught me what it meant to be an honest, motivated, driven, loving man to not only family and friends, but even to just strangers, or anyone he came in contact with — just to be a human being to everyone on this planet," Arellano said.

MOM WAS ENJOYING WEEKEND AWAY WITH GIRLFRIENDS

A few hours before the shooting, Lisa Patterson called her husband to tell him what a great time she was having with her girlfriends — one of the rare weekends she was not coaching one of her kids' softball teams or volunteering at a school or church event.

Her husband, Bob Patterson, told his wife, a country music lover, to enjoy herself and stay for the last band, assuring her he could get their kids off to school the next morning.

It was the last time Bob Patterson spoke to his wife. After news broke of the shooting spree, he spent the night calling hospitals trying to find her. By 6 a.m. Monday, he and his 16-year-old son, Robert, jumped in the car and drove three hours from their Los Angeles suburb to Las Vegas to find her. His 19-year-old daughter, Amber, drove over from Arizona.

They spent 10 hours searching. Late Monday, Bob Patterson was approached by an official at the Las Vegas convention center, where the coroner's office set up operations to have more space where families could come to identify those who died.

"My children who had been waiting 100 feet outside the room, knew when I came back out that she had died by the look on my face," he said. "My oldest daughter instantly broke down and fell on the ground crying."

Patterson was given his wife's blood-stained purse, her cell phone and wrist band she wore to get into festival, but little information.

"I have not been told yet how she died," said Patterson on Wednesday as he planned a funeral for his 46-year-old wife in their home town of Lomita next Friday at their Catholic church.

After he and his children headed home to Lomita, he told his 8-year-old daughter, Brooke, that "mommy passed away."

He said since she is so young, she seems to be taking it the best out of all of them.

Bob Patterson met his wife when she was 18 and immediately was taken by her beauty, he said. They dated for seven years and were married for 21 years. They opened a hardware flooring store together. They were always together, he said, whether it was running their business, helping at their church, volunteering at school or coaching the many sports their kids did.

"My wife loved life, loved helping and there is nothing she would not do to help someone," he said.

Bob Patterson said he would get upset whenever there was a mass shooting in recent years from the one at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut to the night club in Orlando, and would think about the victims' families.

That is why he said he is sharing his own pain, with the hope that it will help stop such tragedies from happening to another family.

FRIENDS DIED AT CONCERT TOGETHER

Austin Davis, 29, and his parents had a bond "unlike anything I've ever witnessed," Davis's friend Katelyn Hood wrote in an online fundraising post.

He was their only son. As soon as news came that he may have been shot, they headed straight from their home in Riverside, California, to Las Vegas. They waited for 20 hours before learning that he had been killed, Hood wrote.

"They raised the best son," Hood wrote. "He worked so very hard and took the most pride in that and anything he did."

Through Hood, Davis's parents declined to be interviewed.

Davis also leaves behind his girlfriend of nine years, whom he met in high school. He was at the concert with his family friend, Thomas Day Jr., who also died.

A SEARCH FOR MOM, AND THEN HORROR

Laura Shipp raised her son Corey by herself, then moved to Las Vegas from Thousand Oaks, California, a few years ago to be closer to him. Both were country music fans, and they went to the Route 91 Harvest Festival together, said Laura Shipp's mother, Joyce Shipp.

They were together until just before a gunman opened fire Sunday night.

"We really don't know what happened, just that she went to the bathroom and nobody saw her after that," Joyce Shipp said of her 50-year-old daughter, a dispatcher at an air conditioner company.

After her son, a Marine Corps reservist, spent more than a day trying to find out what had happened to Shipp, he was notified she was dead.

"He's not doing great," Joyce Shipp said of her grandson. "He's just trying to get his arms around all this but he's surrounded by his friends and family. We don't want to leave him alone at this time."

MAN DIED IN BOYFRIEND'S ARMS

Cameron Robinson, 28, had been looking forward to attending the festival with his boyfriend for days, said friend and colleague Brad Jerbic.

Robinson was a records specialist for the city of Las Vegas, and his infectious personality made him the heart of the office, Jerbic, the city attorney, said Tuesday. Robinson had moved to southern Utah about a year ago to be with boyfriend Bobby Eardley, and commuted two hours each way to work every day.

"He was just so happy — you could see it in his face," Jerbic said. "If he was alive, he would say this is the best time of his life."

The couple was together when Robinson was shot in the neck and bled to death, Jerbic said. Eardley was also struck by shrapnel and suffered minor injuries.

"(Eardley) actually held him. He was with him when he died. He tried to stop the bleeding. There was so much chaos," Jerbic said.

YOUNGEST OF FOUR WANTED TO HELP OTHERS

Victim Michelle Vo, 32, was the youngest of four siblings in a family from the San Francisco Bay Area.

She worked hard at her job at New York Life insurance group in Pasadena, California, loved to cheer for the Golden State Warriors and was a pretty good golfer, said sister Cathy Vo Warren.

Warren remembered her sister as someone who always wanted to do good for those around her. "You'd need a poet to tell you everything," said Cathy's husband, Paul Warren.

Born in Southern California, Vo was attending the Las Vegas concert by herself and befriended Kody Robertson. The two were together when Vo was shot. Robertson later helped relatives find her.

"We're very thankful that we met Kody," Warren said. "We're very thankful for him to be there with Michelle so that she wasn't alone in her last moments."

FESTIVAL GUARD DIED HELPING OTHERS

Erick Silva, 21, was working as a private security guard at the music festival when he was killed while trying to help people get out of the venue safely.

His close friend, Martin Adrian Marin Jr., said he was not surprised Silva died helping others. "He would give the shirt off his back to comfort anyone," Marin said. "He was such a courageous man."

Marin has saved the last text message Silva sent to him that Sunday morning, before going to work at the festival.

"I want to wish you a lovely and productive day," Silva texted. "Just know that I am always here."

Silva would send text messages like that almost daily, Marin said.

"He was always so sweet and generous and caring," he said. "It was not hard to fall in love with his personality."

FATHER OF SIX KNOWN FOR BIG HEART, PERSONALITY

John Phippen was a father of six who was always willing to lend an ear — or a cold beer — to a friend in need.

"He had a heart that was larger than life and a personality to match," neighbor Leah Nagyivanyi wrote on an online fundraising page. "You felt like you knew him for years the first time you met him."

Nagyivanyi is raising money through GoFundMe to help Phippen's children pay for his funeral.

Phippen, 56, lived in Santa Clarita, California. The youngest of his six children, a daughter, is just 14.

MOTHER-DAUGHTER TRIP TURNS DEADLY FOR ONE

Dana Gardner was attending the music festival with her daughter Kayla when the gunfire erupted. Gardner was shot and killed; her daughter was uninjured, according to KABC-TV in Los Angeles.

Gardner, 52, of Grand Terrace, California, was a deputy recorder in the San Bernardino County Assessor-Recorder's Office. She'd held a job there since 1991, according to David Wert, a county spokesman.

She had two other children, sons Anthony and Ryan, and lived with her little white dog, Ellie.

Gardner loved the outdoors and travelling, filling her Facebook page with pictures from a trip to Puerto Rico and walks on beaches, or in redwood forests.

MOTHER OF TWO FROM SMALL-TOWN IOWA

Carly Kreibaum lived in tiny Sutherland, Iowa, with a population of fewer than 620 people. She went to bustling Las Vegas with friends.

Kreibaum's sister-in-law confirmed her death but declined to comment further, saying the family wanted privacy.

The Sioux City Journal reported that Kreibaum, 33, attended the concert with two friends who said they got separated but saw Kreibaum get shot.

Kreibaum was a mother of two and a Sibley native who graduated from Sibley-Ocheyedan High School. She later attended Wayne State College in Wayne, Nebraska. The Sutherland Church of Christ has set up a bank account for donations to her husband and children.

SHOOTING VICTIM LIVED FOR COUNTRY MUSIC

Country music was nearly everything to victim Brennan Stewart, who rarely missed a chance to hear it performed live, according to a statement from his family.

The 30-year-old musician from Las Vegas played guitar and wrote his own songs. He always put others first, even in his final moments when he used his body to shield his girlfriend from the gunfire, according to his family.

He was an Atlanta Braves and San Francisco 49ers fan and let his family know what they meant to him.

"If country music ever disappeared I feel like I would too," Brennan once wrote on Facebook. "After a long day of work I go pick up the 'old geetar' and strum my stresses away."

AMERICAN FLAG MEMORIAL FOR 'MOST PATRIOTIC PERSON' EVER

Kurt Von Tillow was the "most patriotic person you've ever met," brother-in-law Mark Carson told KCRA-TV in Sacramento, California.

Von Tillow, 55, was at Sunday's concert with his wife, daughter and son-in law, sister and niece, the station reported. The sister and niece were injured and expected to survive, while the other three relatives were unharmed.

Von Tillow likely was smiling and enjoying the music with his family, sipping on a Coors Light and decked out in red, white and blue, Carson said.

A memorial including flowers and American flags has been set up outside Von Tillow's home in Cameron Park, California.

CALIFORNIA WOMAN DID EVERYTHING TO BE 'WONDERFUL MOTHER'

Keri Lynn Galvan was at the Route 91 Harvest Festival with her husband, Justin, when she was killed, sister Lindsey Poole said in a statement. Her husband survived.

"She was senselessly murdered ... while enjoying a night out with her husband and friends," Poole wrote.

Galvan, 31, of Thousand Oaks, California, leaves behind children 2, 4 and 10 years old.

Galvan's days "started and ended with doing everything in her power to be a wonderful mother," Poole wrote.

SPORTS FAN DIED SHIELDING FRIEND'S WIFE

Chris Hazencomb, 44, of Camarillo, California, was a big sports fan. His mother, Maryanne Hazencomb, told the Ventura County Star she had him taken off a ventilator at 10:50 a.m. Monday.

Hazencomb was struck in the head while shielding his best friend's wife from bullets, his mother said.

He loved watching professional wrestling on TV every Monday night "even though it's phony," Maryanne Hazencomb told the newspaper. He also loved football and followed the Los Angeles Rams.

Hazencomb was a graduate of Thousand Oaks High School.

MOTHER OF FOUR WAS 'FIGHTER'

Californian Rocio Guillen was a mother of four — two older boys, and two babies ages 18 months and two months.

Guillen, 40, was fatally shot in the hail of bullets at the Route 91 music festival, according to a statement on a website raising donations for her family.

"She was a hard worker," Marcus Guillen told KNBC in Los Angeles. "She was a fighter, a great mother.

Guillen worked as an assistant general manager at a pizza restaurant, and went to Katella High school in Anaheim.

COLLEGE HONOR SOCIETY RAISING MONEY FOR SLAIN MEMBER

Victim Jordyn Rivera was in her fourth year as a student at California State University, San Bernardino, where she made an impression on everyone from students to the president.

University President Tomas Morales said he got to know the 21-year-old Rivera last summer in London during a study abroad program.

"As one of her faculty members noted, we will remember and treasure her for her warmth, optimism, energy, and kindness," Morales wrote in a message to faculty and staff.

A native of the Los Angeles suburb of La Verne, Rivera was studying health care management.

SUBSTITUTE TEACHER LOVED CHILDREN

Kelsey Meadows, 28, loved children so she returned to her hometown of Taft, California, to teach at her alma mater, Taft Union High School, after earning her degree. Meadows was a substitute teacher.

"Kelsey was smart, compassionate and kind. She had a sweet spirit and a love for children," Principal Mary Alice Finn said in a statement.

Meadows' brother, Brad Meadows, posted on his Facebook page that his sister had not been heard from since going to the music festival. The firefighter thanked everyone for helping them try to find her.

"So it is with an absolutely shattered heart that I let everyone know that Kelsey did not survive this tragic event," Meadows posted Tuesday.

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Associated Press writers Don Babwin in Chicago; Julie Watson in San Diego, California; Jason Dearen in Gainesville, Florida; Lindsay Whitehurst in Salt Lake City; Kathleen Ronayne in Sacramento, California and researchers Jennifer Farrar, Rhonda Shafner, Randy Herschaft and Monika Mathur contributed to this report. Reeves reported from Birmingham, Alabama.

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For complete coverage of the Las Vegas shooting, click here: https://apnews.com/tag/LasVegasmassshooting

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This story has been corrected to show that the death toll is 58, not including the gunman, based on revised information from the Clark County coroner.

Police warn of 'HITMAN' text scam

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 9:16 AM



WPXI.com
(WPXI.com)

A text message scam known as "HITMAN" has been affecting Pennsylvania and other surrounding states

Whitehall police put out a warning after someone reported receiving a text message from an unknown sender claiming he was hired to kill her but wished to spare her life.

>> Read more trending news

Replying to the text message will let scammers know they've reached a live person, according to police. They will then start sending the victim personal information, such as children's names or work addresses, in hopes of receiving money from them.

Police say that all of that information is easily accessed through the internet and does not add to the threat.

If you receive one of these text messages, police say the best thing to do is ignore it.

You can also file a complaint with FBI-Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Adorable CIA bomb-sniffing puppy retires early

Published: Friday, October 20, 2017 @ 9:08 AM



CIA/Twitter
(CIA/Twitter)

An adorable 18-month-old black Labrador named Lulu retired from the CIA Wednesday

Lulu, who was in the fall 2017 puppy class, was learning how to detect explosive odors, but the job just wasn’t for her. So, she dropped from the program, according to the Central Intelligence Agency

>> Photos: Palm Beach County police K9s

“Lulu was no longer interested in searching for explosives. Even when they could motivate her with food and play to search, she was clearly not enjoying herself,” the CIA said. “Our trainers’ top concern is the physical and mental well-being of our dogs, so they made the extremely difficult decision to do what’s best for Lulu and drop her from the program.”

>> Boynton police therapy dog gets cake, anniversary party

When dogs retire or drop from the program, their handlers get the option to adopt them, which happened with Lulu.

>> Read more trending news

Now the pup is spending her day sniffing out rabbits and squirrels instead of bombs. She also gets to eat snacks from dog dishes and chill with her new buddy, Harry. 

>> Meet Justice, the newest, furry cop in Gardens

“We’ll miss Lulu, but this was the right decision for her,” the CIA said. “We wish her all the best in her new life.”

7-year-old girl 'traumatized' after having head shaved at state-run program

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 10:49 PM

Girl Has Head Shaved At State-Run Camp

A mom is furious after she found out her 7-year-old daughter’s head was shaved clean at a state-run program for kids with behavioral needs.

>> Read more trending news

Denise Robinson’s daughter Tru lives at Little Heroes Home in Dracut, Massachusetts. The biracial girl used to have long locks, but Robinson said the haircut was made without permission and now her is dealing with trauma from the ordeal in addition to a hairless head.

“I feel like my daughter was assaulted and violated,” Robinson said. “They made a game out of it while they were cutting her hair, and after they cut her hair, then they told her oh, it will grow back straight don’t worry.”

That is troubling to Robinson who says aside from her daughter not wanting the haircut, the message is out of line.

“I’m not afraid to say it and talk about the elephant in the room, I believe it’s a biracial matter and by shaving her head close they were somehow implying that straighter hair is better than dread, curly hair,” attorney Richard Kendall said.

Since it happened early this week, Robinson says nobody at Little Heroes Home answered her questions about why it happened, except to say they have authority to cut hair without permission for hygiene purposes. 

“There was no head lice, there was no bedbugs, there was no Rasta locks was going on. Her hair was two ponytails on the side on Saturday, it was braided in the ponytails, there was nothing wrong with her hair,” she said.

It’s left Robinson not just upset, but wondering what else is going on at this state-run program that parents don’t know about.

“What are they doing to these kids?” she said.

WFXT reached out to the Department of Children and Families to ask if it was investigating the issue, officials wouldn’t comment due to privacy issues. 

Little Heroes Group Home did send a statement regarding what happened, saying in part: “We cannot provide any information about any individual served by the program under federal and state law. A review of the circumstances is underway to determine what occurred and, if necessary, appropriate action will be taken.”

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s relationship may have hit another milestone

Published: Thursday, October 19, 2017 @ 3:05 PM

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle Make Spotted Showing PDA

Prince Harry reportedly took his girlfriend of 15 months to Buckingham Palace for a private tea with Queen Elizabeth II, according to reports.

On Thursday, the Daily Mail reported that Harry and Meghan Markle arrived to the Palace in a Ford Galaxy with blacked-out windows last week. When they arrived, they were “whisked up to the Queen’s private sitting room” for a one hour-long meeting.

Following the meeting, Prince Harry accepted a posthumous award honoring his late mother and her activism with HIV/AIDS.

RELATED: Sources say Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will make a big announcement soon

PEOPLE reports that the rumored meeting is significant since Harry is the fifth in line to the throne (he will be moved to sixth in line once Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s third child is born in April). Since he is still in the succession, he must get permission from the monarch to marry.

>> Read more trending news 

Though, there are rumors that Markle previously met with the queen during a visit to Balmoral Castle in Scotland.

“If Harry asks for something, she would say yes as she adores him,” a source said of the queen’s love for her grandson.

The couple went public with their love when Markle attended Harry’s Invictus Games in Toronto. The lovebirds were spotted holding hands and being affection as they took in some of the sporting events together.

Reps at Kensington Palace and Buckingham Palace have not yet commented on the rumor of Markle’s private tea with the queen.