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.

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'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.

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Quadriplegic paraglider raising awareness for ‘disability-friendly’ parks has trailer stolen in Utah 

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 6:12 AM

Joe Stone, a quadriplegic paraglider touring the country as part of a project to help kids with disabilities, had his trailer full of specialty equipment stolen while he was out paragliding in Utah.
Joerg Koch/Getty Images
Joe Stone, a quadriplegic paraglider touring the country as part of a project to help kids with disabilities, had his trailer full of specialty equipment stolen while he was out paragliding in Utah.(Joerg Koch/Getty Images)

A quadriplegic paraglider from Missoula, Montana, is asking for public help after his trailer and video equipment were stolen from a park in Utah.

Joe Stone, 33, has been using the trailer to visit parks and paraglide across the country, as part of a film project for his foundation to inspire disabled people to explore the outdoors. 

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Stone suffered a permanent spinal chord injury in a paragliding accident in 2010. He is paralyzed from the waist down and has impairment in both of his hands, KPAX reports.

“So I just went all in and living in this camper, it’s my home at this point,” Stone told KUTV.

Stone said he went paragliding on Wednesday at Utah’s Point of the Mountain and returned to his campsite to find all of his belongings had been stolen.

His clothes, computers and filming equipment were all in the trailer -- and it was all custom-made for him to use, according to a Go Fund Me page set up to help him replace the stolen items.

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Visit Stone’s website to learn more about his foundation. 

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No winner in Friday’s Mega Millions jackpot; prize skyrockets to $493 million

Published: Saturday, July 21, 2018 @ 2:53 AM

There were no winners in the Mega Millions drawing on Friday, July 24. The jackpot is now at least $493 million for Tuesday's drawing.
Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
There were no winners in the Mega Millions drawing on Friday, July 24. The jackpot is now at least $493 million for Tuesday's drawing.(Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

No winners in Friday’s Mega Millions means the jackpot keeps rising -- Tuesday’s drawing has topped $493 million.

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Tuesday’s jackpot of $493 million will be the fifth-largest in Mega Millions history.

If there is a winner and they choose the cash payout, they will take home $296 million.

Friday’s winning numbers were 44-14-30-62-1, with a Mega Ball of 1.

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There were over 1.8 million winning tickets in Friday’s drawing at all levels, with 47 ticket winners of $10,000.

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Transgender woman says CVS pharmacist refused to fill hormone prescriptions

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Transgender woman Hilde Hall said a pharmacist at a CVS store in Phoenix, Arizona, refused to fill her hormone prescriptions. CVS said that employee has since been fired.
Scott Olson/Getty Images
Transgender woman Hilde Hall said a pharmacist at a CVS store in Phoenix, Arizona, refused to fill her hormone prescriptions. CVS said that employee has since been fired.(Scott Olson/Getty Images)

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In a blog on the ACLU of Arizona website, Hilde Hall said it was the first time she filled the prescription for hormone therapy.

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“I was finally going to start seeing my body reflect my gender identity and the woman I’ve always known myself to be,” Hall said.

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Hall also said the pharmacist refused to give her back the doctor’s note so that she could go to another pharmacy. 

Hall said she called the CVS customer service complaint line twice, and when she didn’t hear back, she filed a complaint with the Arizona State Board of Pharmacy.

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That would be almost identical to the $7.28 trillion in deficits run up under the eight years of the Obama Administration.

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The update in budget deficit estimates earlier this month by the White House drew almost no attention on Capitol Hill, where GOP demands for budget restraint have for the most part, gone silent.

The last time the budget was close to being balanced was 2007, when the deficit dropped to $161 billion. But in 2008, the Wall Street Collapse led to an extended recession, as deficits jumped to $458 billion in 2008, and $1.41 trillion in 2009.

A few weeks ago, White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow boldly pronounced in a television interview that the federal deficit was coming down, because of a jump in revenues spurred by economic growth under the Trump tax cuts.

But figures clearly show, that just is not the case, as the budget estimates for the White House show flat revenues in 2018, when compared to a year earlier.

“The White House is living in an alternate economic universe,” says Maya MacGuiness, the head of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget.

But few in Washington seem to be listening to warnings from budget watchdog groups like the CFRB, as the deficit just keeps going up, generating little consternation among GOP lawmakers in Congress who once badgered the Obama Administration about its deficit spending.

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