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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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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."


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."


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.


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.


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.


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."


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


For complete coverage of the Las Vegas shooting, click here:


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.

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Winter storm threat shuts down federal government, cancels White House events

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 4:04 AM

While the calendar may say it is spring, another winter storm threatened the East Coast on Wednesday, prompting the federal government to close down offices in the Washington, D.C. area, and canceling public events for President Donald Trump at the White House.

While there was little snow on the ground as the sun came up on Wednesday, forecasters were warning of big snow totals from the nation’s capital, up the I-95 corridor through Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

But as the morning commute continued, there was little evidence in some spots of that storm.

“Total accumulation so far 1” of Salt,” tweeted Rep. Billy Long (R-MO), as he documented empty streets on his commute to the U.S. Capitol, as lawmakers from the heartland subtly mocked the snow scare.

The biggest snowfall totals seemed to be to north of the Washington area, up near the Mason-Dixon line along the Maryland and Pennsylvania border, where as much as two feet of snow could fall.

But federal officials did not take any chances, as they closed government offices on Wednesday.

Despite the weather threat, Congress was in session today, though some committees had scrapped hearings set for Wednesday morning, worried about the snow.

Both the House and Senate were still going to be in session, as lawmakers were trying to finish a giant funding bill, facing a Friday night shutdown deadline.

At the White House, it was a snow day as well – even without any snow on the ground in the morning – as the President erred on the side of caution, and canceled two events, including a Cabinet meeting.

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Former Make-A-Wish patient now doctor at same hospital that treated her

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 8:02 AM

FILE PHOTO (DarkoStojanovic/Pixabay license:
FILE PHOTO (DarkoStojanovic/Pixabay license:

Jen Pratt used to walk the halls of Children’s St. Paul when she was a child. She was diagnosed and treated for a tumor in her leg. 

She visited the hospital for a year as she received chemotherapy and surgery to remove the tumor, WCCO reported

Pratt became a Make-A-Wish kid, receiving a trip to Walt Disney World.

She was 11 years old at the time and knew then what she wanted to do with her life when she grew up.

>> Read more trending news 

Pratt wanted to go into medicine, WCCO reported

Flash forward a few years and now Pratt is called Dr. Pratt and she’s now on the other side of the hospital beds, treating the patients at the same hospital that saved her life.

“Some of the nurses that I had during my treatment are still nurses at Children’s, so I actually get to work with them,” Pratt told WCCO.

>> Need something to lift your spirits? Read more uplifting news 

But Children’s St. Paul isn’t the only location from her cancer treatment she’s revisiting. During her trip to Disney, she stayed at Give Kids the World resort. She’s planning on volunteering at the hotel later this fall, WCCO reported.

Click here to learn about volunteering with Give Kids the World.

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Austin bombings: Dead suspect identified as 24-year-old man

Published: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 5:18 AM
Updated: Wednesday, March 21, 2018 @ 5:18 AM

Austin Package Explosions: Suspect Dead

A suspect in the deadly package bombings in Austin, Texas, is dead, law enforcement sources told the Austin American-Statesman.

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Parents arrested after mother leaves kid home alone, goes to Florida, police say

Published: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 @ 12:19 PM

Kids Left Home Alone For Weeks, Parents Arrested

Two parents from Lakawanna County, Pennsylvania, have been arrested after police said that the they left their two children home alone while the mother traveled to Florida.

The investigation started when police were alerted to a case of children who had been left alone for weeks. When they visited the home, they found a 10- and 11-year-old alone, in a home that had food, boxes, pills and trash on the floor, WNEP reported.

>> Read more trending news 

Police said that Nicole Sciortino told them that she was not far away, but then admitted that she was in Florida. She then told the authorities that the children’s father Vincent Licciardello was watching the children. 

>>Read: Police: Florida couple left child living alone in trailer for months

He told police he dropped them off at Sciortino’s home on March 5 and he would stop by over the following days to give the children food, WNEP reported.

Sciortino told police that she didn’t know that it was against the law to leave the children home alone.

Both she and Licciardello were arrested, charged with endangering the welfare of children and are free on $10,000 unsecured bail. The children are staying with friends of the family, placed there by children and youth services, WNEP reported.

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