‘He saved my life and lost his’: Man dies shielding wife in Las Vegas shooting | world-news | Hindustan Times
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‘He saved my life and lost his’: Man dies shielding wife in Las Vegas shooting

Heather Melton’s said her husband Sonny was the most kind-hearted, loving man she had ever met. At least 59 people never made it home after a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel.

world Updated: Oct 03, 2017 17:22 IST
Sonny Melton and his wife Heather.
Sonny Melton and his wife Heather.(Facebook/Sonny Melton)

A Tennessee man died saving his wife in the Las Vegas shooting, in which at least 59 people were killed by a gunman at a music festival, on Sunday.

Sonny Melton, a registered nurse, died in the shooting, according to The Henry County Medical Center in Paris in Tennessee, where he worked.

His wife Heather Melton, an orthopaedic surgeon who was with him when shots were fired survived the shooting, the medical center said.

Heather Melton told WZTV in Nashville that Sonny “saved my life and lost his.” She said her husband was the most kind-hearted, loving man she had ever met.

Sonny’s friend Jeremy Butler told the Paris (Tennessee) Post-Intelligencer that Melton was shielding Heather Melton from gunfire when he was fatally shot.

Sonny, 29, was a graduate of the Union University in Tennessee.

The grounds are shown at the Route 91 Harvest festival, with the Mandalay Bay Hotel behind the stage, on Las Vegas Boulevard South in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Bill Hughes/Las Vegas News Burea via Reuters)

“You know how when you met someone and you know that they’re good and kind? That was Sonny,” Christy Davis, an assistant nursing professor was quoted as saying by Time.

At least 59 people never made it home after a gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel onto a crowd of more than 22,000 below at a country music festival.

Details emerged Monday about the lives of those who died, as well as countless more who were injured.

A Navy veteran, an Alaska woman, an off-duty Las Vegas police officer and a youth football coach were named among those killed in the deadliest US shooting in modern times.

Navy veteran was ‘jovial, hard-working’

Christopher Roybal, 28, was described as jovial and fun-loving, despite experiencing intense combat during four tours in the Middle East.

“He is a guy that could always put a smile on your face ... after all the stuff he had been through,” said David Harman, who founded a company that owns the Colorado gym where Roybal worked.

Roybal worked at Crunch Fitness in Corona and Riverside, California, before he moved at the beginning of the year to help open franchises in Colorado Springs.

“As far as responsibility and discipline and work ethic, there wasn’t any question about him coming on board with us,” said Harman, who has known Roybal for more than 4 years. “He was a good hard worker, a grinder.”

“He was the guy who if your car broke down in the middle of the night, you could call him and he would come help you,” Harman added. “He is that guy who would find solutions, not report on problems.”

Harman said Roybal served in Afghanistan and was coping with the loss of a friend who was killed by an improvised explosive device. Roybal adopted his friend’s bomb-sniffing dog, Bella, but was devastated when she died of old age.

“That dog saved his life quite a few times,” Harman said.

Roybal mentioned the dog in a July 18 Facebook post that also included a lengthy description of his experience getting shot at in combat.

He ends the post: “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.”

Off-duty cop coached kids, a respected officer

Off-duty Las Vegas police officer and youth football coach Charleston Hartfield was among those killed, two of his friends said.

Hartfield, 34, was known as a selfless, respected leader who brought out the best in his players, said Stan King, whose son played football for Hartfield.

Troy Rhett, another friend of Hartfield’s through football, said he knew from social media that Hartfield was attending the Sunday concert. When he heard about the shooting, he texted him, hoping to learn Hartfield was safe. He never heard back, and Rhett said he learned through another friend Monday morning that Hartfield had died.

Hartfield, who also went by “Chuck” or “Charles” or even “Chucky Hart,” was also a military veteran and leaves behind a son and a daughter, Rhett said.

A candlelight vigil is pictured on the Las Vegas strip following a mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Reuters Photo)

Hartfield is also listed at author of a book titled “Memoirs of Public Servant” about his time as a Las Vegas police officer.