'Love you to pieces'

Man laments slain fiancée, ‘a kind soul,’ who died in Las Vegas gun rampage

Sandy Casey and Christopher Willemse. (Facebook)

A man and woman who were engaged to be married while on vacation in New Zealand five months ago were torn apart on Sunday night by a sniper’s bullet in Las Vegas. Sandy Casey, 35, and Christopher Willemse, 32, were in attendance at the Route 91 Harvest Festival as country musician Jason Aldean was performing. Bullets began flying when, police say, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire through the window of a hotel room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort, which was just across the street. When the shooting finally stopped, at least 58 had been killed and more than 500 were wounded in what is the worst mass shooting in U.S. history.

Casey died in Willemse’s arms.

They were situated near the front of the stage when the shooting started, The Washington Post reported. She cried out that she’d been hit and told Willemse she couldn’t feel her legs. He stuck his finger in the bullet hole in an attempt to stop Casey’s bleeding. He then picked her up and tried to carry her out of the concert venue, eluding gunfire as he went along. Soon, though, Casey ceased responding and Willemse told her he loved her.

“She was just a kind soul and she was full of life and loved to live it,” Willemse said. The two had met at the Manhattan Beach Middle School where he worked as a behavioral therapist and she a teacher. “She made everybody smile, she was an excellent teacher and loved the kids she taught. Everyone who meets her never forgets her,” Willemse told the Post.

In a Facebook post on Monday morning, Willemse opened up about his loss some more. “As I sit and mourn such a beautiful life gone too fast, all i can say is look up and watch the birds fly high and free today as that’s where I feel you smiling down upon all of us. I love you baby girl! Love you to pieces!” Family and friends poured their hearts out offering him condolences. “Chris so sorry for your loss,” one friend wrote. “Can’t imagine what you are going through. If you need anything let me know man.”

A few hours later posted a selfie of Casey and himself. It appears to be shot at the music festival not long before the sun went down. It was captioned simply, “With Sandy.”

Read the full story at The Washington Post.

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