NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Stars and fans of country music gathered in Nashville, Tennessee to honor those killed and injured after a gunman opened fire at a country music festival in Las Vegas on Sunday. The City of Nashville hosted a vigil Monday night featuring artists Keith Urban, Amy Grant and several others.
The support for victims and their families was shared as Dallas and cities around the world held vigils and tributes. Downtown Dallas lit up with the colors of the American flag. A tweet from Reunion Tower was sent out Monday night saying, “Dallas stands with Las Vegas. Our hearts go out to everyone and their families who were affected.”
The death toll stands at 59 and each one of the victims should be remembered. So far we know the names of nearly 20 of the victims and are learning their heartbreaking stories.
Neysa Tonks is from Las Vegas, and worked for an IT company. Her coworkers say she brought joy, fun and laughter to her job. She leaves behind three sons.
Rhonda Lerocque was a huge country music fan from Massachusetts. She attended the concert with her family, including her husband and six year old daughter. He father-in-law had just taken her daughter back to the hotel when the shots rang out.
Rhonda’s half-sister, Jennifer Zeleneski, said, “This is just ridiculous. I could understand if one person did something to somebody but this person killed so many people he didn’t know… for no reason.”
Angie Gomez graduated high school in Riverside, California two years ago. The cheerleader was involved in choir and loved to act. A GoFundMe page set up for her family has already raised more than $47,000.
Jennifer Topaz Irvine was a San Diego attorney who was passionate about helping people. She was always surrounded by friends and is being remembered as being kind and generous.
Jennifer’s friend, Kyle Kraska, said, “She loved going to games. She loved going to festivals. She loved boating. She just loved life.”
Seeing the terror and chaos at the concert and hearing the sound of gunfire is surreal, but when you see the faces of the people who died and hear from the loved ones they left behind, the magnitude of what happened begins to sink in.
We’re learning more about people like Jenny Parks, a mother of two, who was a kindergarten teacher in Palmdale, California. She was married to her childhood sweetheart and had just graduated with her Masters degree this past summer.
Adrian Murfitt was a fisherman from Anchorage, Alaska. His sister says a friend who was with him called to let her know he had died, but the family is still waiting for confirmation. She says Adrian had just come off a successful fishing season, and made the trip to Las Vegas with good friends. One friend said, “He was an outstanding guy. He would take his shirt off for you… didn’t deserve to die. He would always make you smile, always told you he loved you.”
Loved ones are focusing on the lives the victims lived, not the way they died.
So many want to do something to make a difference and show they care. To that end, Steve Sisolak, the chairman of the Clark County, Nevada, Board of County Commissioners, which includes Las Vegas, started a GoFundMe page on Monday. As of Tuesday morning the fund had raised nearly $3 million for he families of the 59 people killed and 527 hurt.