Heather Melton is in shock and mourning the death of her husband after a gunman opened fire late Sunday night at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas, killing at least 58 and wounding more than 500. Heather said she and Sonny Melton, both from Tennessee, were in the audience when shots rang out and chaos ensued. Sonny died trying to protect her amid a hail of bullets, she said.
“He saved my life. He grabbed me and started running when I felt him get shot in the back,” Heather told WSMV. Police said Stephen Paddock, 64, of Mesquite, Nevada, used an automatic weapon to spray bullets down from a window on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort onto the unsuspecting crowd watching the concert below. Authorities say Paddock killed himself just before police reached the hotel room he was shooting from. It is the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
“I want everyone to know what a kind-hearted, loving man he was,” Heather, who escaped the ordeal unharmed, said. “But at this point, I can barely breathe.” Sonny was 29 years old.
Heather is an orthopedic surgeon at Henry County Medical Center in Paris, Tennessee according to her Facebook page, and Sonny, a registered nurse who worked in the ICU and the emergency room at the same hospital, often assisted in the operating room while she was performing operations.
“At this point, I’m in complete disbelief and despair. 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,” she said in a statement to Fox 17 News. According to WKRN, Heather and Sonny have three children from a previous relationship. In a Facebook post, Heather said, “Words cannot describe what happened last night. He was always smiling. The most infectious smile. He loved his family and my children like his own.”
Sonny had graduated from Union University nursing school in 2015. The school posted a memorial on Facebook, mourning his death. A professor at the university remembered Sonny as “a sweet, kind spirit.”