Parents Perspective

Las Vegas Victims Included Several Teachers and School Staffers

More than 50 people were killed in Sunday's brutal shooting. Here are some of their stories.

Las Vegas victims Drew Angerer/Shutterstock
There's a famous quote from Mr. Rogers that tends to make the rounds during national emergencies, and it's come across my newsfeed several times in the 24 hours following the deadly shooting at a country music festival in Las Vegas that left at least 59 people dead and more than 527 injured.

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news," the quote beings. "My mother would say to me, 'Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.'"

It's such a great piece of advice, and one I have used with my own children time and time again. But sadly, a lot of the people who lost their lives on Sunday night were helpers. They were nurses and teachers and police officers and moms and dads. Here's what we know about some of the helpers killed in the attack so far:

Sonny Melton, 29, was an emergency room nurse from Tennessee who'd gone to Vegas for a wedding anniversary and died protecting his wife from gunfire. "He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back," Heather told WSMV. "I want everyone to know what a kindhearted, loving man he was, but at this point, I can barely breathe."

Christopher Roybal was a 29-year-old military veteran who served in Afghanistan and went to the festival to meet his mom, Debby Allen. When Allen texted him asking for his location, she never heard back. According to NBC, Allen later found out from a firefighter who'd been walking behind her son that he'd been shot in the chest.

Jenny Parks was a kindergarten teacher for the Lancaster School District in California. "She was truly one of the most loving people you could ever hope to meet," her husband's uncle told CNN. "She always went out of her way to help anybody."

Charleston Hartfield was a Las Vegas police officer, a member of the armed services, a father and a youth football coach. According to the Washington Post, those who knew him said each of those roles exemplified the type of person he was.


Sandra Casey, 35, was a special education teacher and country music lover from Manhattan Beach who'd gone to the festival with her fiancé and was shot in her lower back.

Rachael Parker, 33, was a police records technician for the Manhattan Beach Police Department, who died in the hospital after being shot Sunday night. She worked for the Southern California department for 10 years, according to a news release.

Angie Gomez, 20, had just gotten a job as a certified nursing assistant, and was attending the festival to celebrate, the Washington Post reported. She was shot three times and died before her boyfriend could get her to a hospital.

Susan Smith, a 53-year-old mother who was the office manager for Vista Elementary School in California, was killed in the shooting. She had been with the school district for 16 years, was married with two young-adult children, and had gone to Las Vegas with a couple of friends for the music festival.

Bill Wolfe Jr., 42, was a wrestling and Little League coach from Shippensburg, PA. According to the Shippensburg Police Department, the father of two was at the concert with his wife, Robyn, who survived.

Our prayers go out to all of their families.

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Hollee Actman Becker is a freelance writer, blogger, and mom of two who writes about parenting and pop culture. Check out her website for more, and then follow her on Instagram