1 Year Later, Remembering The SoCal Victims Of The Las Vegas Mass Shooting
Monday, Oct. 1, 2018 marks the one-year anniversary of the mass shooting at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, where 58 people died and hundreds more were wounded.
A sunrise memorial service was held this morning in memory of those killed in the attack, with 58 doves released in their honor.
Remembering #1October - 58 doves take flight in honor of our 58 angels. Each dove had a tag on its foot with the name of one person who died in the Las #Vegas shooting at the #Route91 Harvest Festival. #VegasStronger #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/jkbaPWT8jt— Clark County Nevada (@ClarkCountyNV) October 1, 2018
Of the dozens of victims, nearly half were from Southern California. This is who they were and what we learned about them in our reporting last year.
Hannah Ahlers lived in Beaumont and was married with three children. Sandy Pearson wrote on Facebook that she admired how Ahlers would publicly declare her faith on social media. "That always stood out to me," Pearson said.
Others joined in the tribute. "You created happiness wherever you went," Mandi Norris wrote on Facebook.
"A young full of life always willing to help mother of three," is how Tori McCurdy described Ahlers on Facebook.
Shortly after Ahlers was killed, her friends organized a car wash in Calimesa to help raise money for her family.
Carrie Barnette, 34, was a Disneyland employee, her cousin Janice Chambers told the Arizona Republic.
Disney Chairman and CEO Bob Iger tweeted his condolences:
A senseless, horrific, act, and a terrible loss for so many. We mourn a wonderful member of the Disney family: Carrie Barnette. Tragic.— Robert Iger (@RobertIger) October 3, 2017
Sandy Casey was a special education teacher who taught at Manhattan Beach Middle School for the past nine years.
"She's absolutely loved by students and colleagues alike and will be remembered for her sense of humor, her passion for her work, her devotion to her students, her commitment to continue her own learning and taking on whatever new projects came her way," school district Superintendent Mike Matthews said Monday.
"She's made a tremendous difference in the lives of our students and their families, many of whom worked with her over multiple years. Her loss will be deeply felt at [Manhattan Beach Middle School] and throughout the entire Manhattan Beach community," he said.
Andrea Castilla of Huntington Beach was visiting her sister, Athena, in Las Vegas. They went to the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival to celebrate her 28th birthda. Her aunt, Marina Parker, wrote on a GoFundMe page that Castilla's boyfriend, her sister and her sister's fiancé were with her at the concert.
Brother Adam Castilla tagged Andrea in a Facebook post and said he was "completely shattered" by the loss. "You are the greatest gift life has ever given me."
Castilla worked at Sephora in Huntington Beach, and she was featured in a June 12, 2017 Instagram post by the store.
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, 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."
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.
-- Associated Press
THOMAS DAY JR.
Tom Day, 54, of Corona, worked the past 24 years as an estimator at Portrait Construction in Corona.
Colleague Bruce Abbey said Day was a "people person" who loved his four adult kids and spending time on the Colorado River on his boat. He said Day loved music and was not at all surprised he had made the trek to Las Vegas to see the country music festival.
"It's going to be a real void," Abbey said. "He's a great person."
Denise Cohen, 58, had two adult sons and had been married twice. She grew up in the Bay Area then moved to the Santa Barbara area and settled in Carpenteria nine years ago.
"She moved here for a guy and things didn't work out as planned so she started meeting new friends," said Leana Orsua, Cohen's roommate and friend.
Both were socialized at Friday night happy hours where Orsua appreciated Cohen's positive outlook and constant smile.
"Her and I just instantly connected. I've never had a friend like that ever, that I've ever connected so deeply with," Orsua said.
Orsua said Cohen always looked out for he well-being.
"Denise always wanted to see me married. I'm 44. I've never been married. Every guy I had dated, she would say, 'He's the one.' She was always wanting to see me happy," Orsua said.
Cohen was in Las Vegas with her boyfriend, Derrick "Bo" Taylor, who was also killed in the shooting.
Cohen worked as a property manager. Besides her two sons, she is survived by three grandchildren.
The Southcoast Church near Santa Barbara, which Cohen had been attending for couple of years, organized a memorial for her.
Redondo Beach resident Christiana Duarte graduated from the University of Arizona in May 2017. In a statement, University President Robert Robbins said: "All of us in the University of Arizona community are saddened that Christiana Duarte, one of our graduates... is among the victims from Las Vegas." Duarte was a Torrance native, and was an intern for the university's hockey team, according to her Facebook page.
She worked for the Los Angeles Kings, where she had started over the summer as a fan service associate. In college, she played intramural softball, soccer and volleyball.
KERI LYNN GALVAN
Thousand Oaks resident Keri Lynn Galvan, 31, was at the music 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 leaves behind three children, aged 10, 4 and 2 years old.
Galvan's days "started and ended with doing everything in her power to be a wonderful mother," Poole wrote.
-- Associated Press
Brian Fraser, 39, lived in La Palma, studied at Cal Poly Pomona and worked as an area sales manager at Greenpath, a mortgage company, according to his Facebook page. His stepmother Mary Beth Fraser described the father of four as "compassionate and kind," saying, "He loved his family."
Fraser was attending the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival with his wife, family and friends, according to a GoFundMe page created by his sisters-in-law, Briana Flanigan and Brittany Gonzalez. He'd been "having the time of his life" and getting closer to the stage "in anticipation for his favorite Jason Aldean song" when he was fatally shot, they wrote.
The tragedy, they wrote, left his "wife, children, parents and loved ones in a world of pain and emptiness."
Dana Gardner, 52, was a deputy recorder-county clerk in the San Bernardino County Assessor/Recorder/County Clerk's office, according to county spokesman David Wert.
Gardner had worked for the county since 1991, and lived in Grand Terrace, he said.
Angie Gomez, 20, was a 2015 graduate of Riverside Poly High School. "Poly High staff remembers Angela Gomez (also known as Angie) as a 'fun-loving young lady with a great sense of humor,'" said a statement on the Riverside Unified School District's Facebook page. "She loved the stage and participated for many years with Riverside Children's Theater, as well as being involved in her middle and high school choirs. Angie was a hard-worker who always challenged herself academically, and after graduation she went on to attend classes at Riverside Community College. Angie was a loyal friend who loved her family and will be forever missed by all who knew her."
Gomez was studying to be a nurse at Riverside Community College.
"She was a natural caregiver," remembered high school friend Veronika Maldonado, 20. "She's the biggest animal lover. She has two nieces that she loves more than anything. Whenever she came over to my house, she would always treat my two sisters as her own. She's very much so the mom of the group -- the 'mom friend,' more of the responsible [one], the thinker."
Maldonado said she and Gomez both made the cheerleading team in their freshman year at Polytechnic High School and looked so much alike that even their parents sometimes confused them.
"I just remember her as being very cheerful," Maldonado said. She remembers one particular Halloween costume, "Spongebabe," a riff on the popular Spongebob Squarepants cartoon character. "I was like, 'This girl is so funny.'"
Maldonado said Gomez was attending the concert with her boyfriend of four years, who was unhurt in the shooting.
Rocio Guillen lived in Eastvale, in Riverside County. She was raised in Anaheim and went to Katella High School, according to a GoFundMe page set up by her cousin Vanessa Pineda. Guillen was a "young, beautiful, happy, hard-working mother" who had recently given birth to her fourth child, Austin, a month before the music festival. Pineda said Guillen's other children are 18, 13 and 1 1/2.
"Her greatest accomplishment was being a mother, as she would always say," Pineda wrote. "She was a supermom, always working hard and juggling everything to be the best mom to her 4 children."
Pineda said Rocio was engaged to be married.
Chris Hazencomb, 44, lived in Camarillo. He was attending the concert with his friend Nikki Torres, who described Hazencomb as part of her family. She says he will be missed by many.
"He was the kindest person I knew," she said. "I am deeply saddened over the loss of a dear friend that went with me. Words honestly fail me as I try to describe the loss that has been felt by his family and ours."
Hazencomb worked as a self-checkout host at the Walmart Neighborhood Market in Camarillo. A company spokesman said he'd worked there since 2013.
Las Vegas police officer Charleston Hartfield was not on duty the night of the concert, he was attending as a music fan, but Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo said his death occurred in the line of duty, since he was shot trying to help others.
In addition to his job as a law enforcement officer, Hartfield was also a sergeant in the Nevada Army National Guard. He had served tours of duty in Iraq, according to the county Facebook page.
He had two children and was a youth football coach. Stan King, a parent with a child on the team, said Hartfield was an inspiration to the youngsters. "A guy like that comes around once in a lifetime," King said.
Jennifer Irvine, 42, was a family-law attorney in San Diego. She did her undergraduate work at the University of San Diego and later the California Western School of Law, according to the San Diego Union-Tribune.
Thomas Slattery, a fellow attorney, wrote on his Facebook page: "My good friend, colleague, and business partner Jennifer Irvine was killed by a madman at the festival in Las Vegas. A tragic loss of a kind, generous, and beautiful lady. She will be greatly missed."
Mestas, 67, lived in Menifee, according to The Press-Enterprise newspaper. "She was a firecracker, a joy to behold and be in the presence of, lighting up everything around her," longtime family friend Alexis Magaña told KPCC. "I just never dreamed she'd be taken from us in an instant. Our firecracker is gone and now it's just dark."
Mestas was "very likeable, very outgoing," her cousin Tom Smith told the Press-Enterprise. "Focused on family and very sensitive to other people's concerns or problems or issues. She was genuinely a very nice person to have a conversation with and to share both fortunate and unfortunate events."
The extended family last gathered in March, for the funeral of Smith's and Mestas' uncle, he said.
"She shined," said Smith. "She was vocal and attentive and comforting. I would categorize her as one of the ideal cousins, a role model." She was a good mother to her children and a devout Christian, he told the Press-Enterprise.
Nicol Kimura, 38, went to the festival with a group of seven friends, male and female, who are so close they call themselves a "framily" -- friends + 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 is survived by 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.
-- Associated Press
Rachael Parker, 33, was a Manhattan Beach police records technician, according to the Manhattan Beach Police Department. She worked there for 10 years "and will be greatly missed," the department said in a statement.
Jennifer Parks was a kindergarten teacher for the past three years at Anaverde Hills Elementary School in Palmdale.
"Our school district, our community, our students lost just a tremendously talented individual, smile on her face every day, ready to greet the world, wanting all of the children in her class to be successful," said Regina Rossall, superintendent of Westside Union School District.
Rossall said she first met Parks over four years ago when the aspiring teacher took a masters in education class from Rossall.
"From having been her teacher I know she was very happy to get the certification so that she could be a classroom teacher. You just had the sense that this had been a passion of hers her whole life and she was finally able to go back to school and earn that teaching credential," she said.
Parks is survived by her husband and two children.
Lisa Patterson was a 46-year-old mother of three from Lomita, who came to the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival with her girlfriends.
"She loved country music that sang about America," said her husband, Bob Patterson.
The couple met when she was 18 and he was 25, he said. "We clicked from the very beginning," said Patterson. They lived separately and dated for seven years while she attended Cal State Long Beach.
"I know she wanted to get married before then but I wanted her to finish college and do that for herself before she had to concentrate on having kids, raising our family," Patterson said.
Their Catholic faith was important to them, he said, noting that they sent their three children, now ages 19, 16 and 8, to Catholic schools.
"More than anything, she was a mother to our kids," said Patterson.
The couple would go on to open a hardware flooring company together, a venture that he described as a partnership.
"Even though it's Robert Patterson Hardwood floors, I was more of an employee," Patterson said. "She ran the company. I just knew how to do floors really well."
John Phippen, 56, was attending the concert in Las Vegas with his son Travis, a medic for movie studios, who was shot in the elbow, according to family friend Leah Nagyivanyi.
"He just was one of those people that whether he knew you or he didn't know you, you needed help, he was there. No questions asked," she said.
Phippen owned JP Specialties, a home remodeling company in Santa Clarita. He was an avid music fan and had been excited to have a guys' weekend away, said Nagyivanyi.
"He loved his country music," she said. "He loved to get out there and dance, and he was just a great guy."
This is the second time tragedy has struck Phippen's family in recent years. Nagyivanyi says Phippen's wife died in 2013. She set up a GoFundMe campaign for Phippen's children.
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.
"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 La Verne, Rivera was studying health care management.
-- Associated Press
Corona native and Navy veteran Chris Roybal, 28, had survived his deployment in Afghanistan, only to die in the Las Vegas shooting. On July 18, he had written a Facebook post about what it's like to be shot at.
Roybal's mother, Debby Allen, said he was "a proud American." She said, "He sang in Spanish all the time. He sang so beautifully."
At the time of his death, Roybal was living in Denver, where he managed a Crunch Fitness.
His grandfather, Stalin Mendoza of Downey, said Roybal was the light of his life. "He was my baby. He was everything to me," said Mendoza, who said he gave Roybal the nickname "buddy boy ... He was my buddy boy."
Laura Shipp was attending the concert in Las Vegas with her son Corey. Her former brother-in-law, Tom Baker, said she was a wonderful mom who raised Corey on her own. In the past few years, she moved from Southern California to Las Vegas to be closer to her son, said Baker.
"The first thing you would notice was that she had a big huge smile on her face, almost all the time," he said. "She was a very bubbly person. She was the kind of person who would go out of her way to make somebody else happy."
Shipp's niece, Paris Shipp, wrote on Facebook: "Those of you who know Laura can attest to her huge heart and contagious free spirit."
On a GoFundMe page, Dais Beth posted a selfie with Shipp and wrote,""Laura was an amazing friend. She will be deeply missed. Rest in Paradise!!"
Shipp attended Thousand Oaks High School and was in the graduating class of 1985.
Susan Smith, 53, was the office manager at Vista Fundamental Elementary School in Simi Valley, said Jake Finch, a spokeswoman for the Simi Valley School District.
"Susan was very patient and kind with the students," said Finch. "She always had a smile on her face when you walked into her office. She was also incredibly efficient and skilled at her job. And most importantly, she had a great sense of humor. She was just a really sweet, kind, neat person."
Smith, who lived in Simi Valley, had worked for the school district for 16 years, at five different schools. She had worked at Vista Fundamental Elementary for the past three years, said Finch. She was married and was the mother of two adult children.
Derrick "Bo" Taylor, 56, from Oxnard worked for California's Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation for nearly three decades. He was attending the concert with his girlfriend, Denise Cohen, who was also killed.
He leaves behind two sons, Kyle Taylor of Paso Robles and Greg Taylor of San Diego. Kyle said his father had been busy working over the summer and had been looking forward to his Las Vegas vacation.
"He loved country music. He loved just having a good time," said Kyle, 31. "He was excited to just kind of cut loose." Kyle described his father as a man who many people admired, the type of person his friends considered a second father.
"The world lost a good man. He was the best man I've ever known, and a lot of people would agree with that," Kyle said. "He was the most positive guy I ever met. And I just know that if it was anybody else, he'd be sitting there saying, 'Yeah, but let's remember the positives.'"
Kyle did not receive confirmation of his father's death until Tuesday. His body was identified by his fingerprints. On Thursday, Kyle was able to view his father's body at a mortuary in Las Vegas. Fifteen uniformed officers came to show their respect and support the family.
"I knew I wanted to see him. It was very tough to do that. I felt like no matter what happened, I needed to see my dad," Kyle said.
At the time of his death, Bo was a lieutenant at the Ventura Conservation Camp, according to Bill Sessa, spokesman for CDCR. CDCR Secretary Scott Kernan described Bo as a well-liked and respected man, someone who was both a leader and a friend.
"I extend my warmest condolences to his family, friends and colleagues," Kernan said, in a post on the department's newsletter website.
Michelle Vo, 32, lived in the Eagle Rock neighborhood of L.A. and worked for the New York Life insurance company. She had a bubbly personality and had recently discovered a passion for country music, said her sister, Cathy Vo. "You instantly loved her, and she could talk to anybody, whoever you were," she said.
Vo was attending the third day of The Route 91 Harvest Music Festival by herself but, true to her personality, had made friends with other concertgoers, said her sister. That night, one of her new friends called her family to inform them Michelle had been shot. "We're so glad that she had somebody with her in her last moments," Cathy Vo said. "She was the sweetest person. She was a great sister."
This story has been updated.