The first victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday night have been identified, and among them are a 29-year-old man who shielded his wife from gunfire, a 23-year-old Canadian man who died in his friend’s arms, and a school secretary from New Mexico.
Sonny Melton, who hailed from Paris, Tennessee, died protecting his wife, Heather Gulish Melton, from the hail of bullets coming from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay hotel, Fox News reported. Moments prior, they were among a crowd of 22,000 people who were enjoying the final day of the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
“At this point, I’m in complete disbelief and despair,” Melton told WZTV in a statement on Monday. “I don’t know what to say. Sonny was the most kind-hearted, loving man I have ever met. He saved my life and lost his.”
According to his Facebook profile, Melton worked as a registered nurse at Jackson-Madison County General Hospital in Jackson, Tennessee. A Facebook post made on Friday night revealed that Melton was attending the country music festival with his wife, an orthopedic surgeon who worked at the same hospital. They married in 2016.
“We were the couple that never should have met, fallen in love or had a future together… but life is funny and we believe God brought us together as soul mates,” they wrote on their wedding page on The Knot. “We have shared amazing times together and nearly unbearable heartaches but through it all we have grown stronger in our love for each other and our families.”
Jordan McIldoon, a 23-year-old from Canada, attended the concert with his girlfriend and was slated to return home on Monday; he also died in the shooting. Heather Gooze, who was also at the concert, wrote on Facebook that he died in her arms.
“We only had one child,” McIldoon’s parents told CBC News. “We just don’t know what to do.”
Lisa Romero, who worked as a secretary at Miyamura High School in Gallup, New Mexico, was also confirmed to have been killed in the shooting.