A model with two young sons and a restaurant staffer about to be promoted to manager are among the Canadians confirmed dead in a mass shooting at a country music show in Las Vegas.
Tara Roe Smith, who was 34 and lived in Okotoks, Alta., was there with her husband, Zach, and another couple for a weekend getaway, said her aunt, Val Rodgers.
“They were there just to have a good time and to enjoy a concert.”
Rodgers said Roe Smith died when a gunman opened fire on the crowd from the window of a hotel on Sunday night. Nearly 60 people were killed and hundreds were injured.
“She was a beautiful soul,” Rodgers said from her home in Brandon, Man., Tuesday. “She was a wonderful mother and our family is going to miss her dearly.”
Roe Smith worked with Calgary modelling agency Sophia Models International for 10 years, said owner Bill Giofu.
“She was always a friendly face when she came in to see us at the agency, a very caring spirit,” he said. “We are deeply saddened and shocked and pray for everyone affected by this tragedy in Vegas.”
Roe Smith also worked as an educational assistant at the Foothills School Division.
“It has been a challenging time for our division yet we continue to stand together and support one another,” John Bailey, superintendent of schools, said in a statement. “We have put our crisis response team in place and they will remain as long as is needed to assist students and staff.”
Lyndsay Perham’s childhood friend, Calla Medig, was also at the Route 91 Music Festival when she was shot. Going to Las Vegas for the festival had become an annual tradition for the country music fan, Perham said.
“She was a very loyal friend. We always had fun together,” said Perham, who grew up with Medig in the Rocky Mountain town of Jasper, Alta. “We had a very tight-knit group of girls and we just did everything together growing up.”
Medig, 28, was with her best friend when she was shot, Perham said. The friend managed to get Medig to a hospital, where she died.
“We’re going to miss her and we’ll just have to try and get through it together, but I don’t know if we’ll be able to.”
Medig had taken time off from her job at a Moxie’s restaurant in west Edmonton to attend the festival said her boss, Scott Collingwood.
When news broke about the shooting Sunday, Collingwood said he immediately called Medig, but it went right to voice mail. She didn’t answer texts or Facebook messages, he said.
On Monday, he called her roommate, who went to Vegas with Medig, and got the terrible news.
“She was a little bit of everything around here. She was kind of a rock and, as of Thursday, she would have been our newest manager,” Collingwood said. “A lot of us around here have super heavy hearts and we already miss her.”
Another Alberta woman, Jessica Klymchuk, was identified as one of the shooting victims on Monday.
Klymchuk was a mother of four who lived the northwestern Alberta town of Valleyview, where she worked as an educational assistant, librarian and bus driver at an area Catholic school.
St. Stephen’s School was planning a candlelight vigil for her on Tuesday evening. A family friend has set up a crowdfunding page to support Klymchuk’s children.
“Jessica was an amazing mother who worked to provide her children with as best a life as she could,” Noella Marie wrote on the GoFundMe page, adding Klymchuk was engaged to the “love of her life”, Brent Irla.
Another Canadian victim of the attack, Jordan McIldoon of Maple Ridge, B.C., would have turned 24 on Friday and was a month shy of completing a course to qualify as a heavy-duty mechanic.
Bartender Heather Gooze was serving McIldoon when the gunfire began. He was shot in the stomach and Gooze said she helped carry him out.
She said she held his hand for his final moments.
“The fingers kind of squeezed and then just stopped. You don’t have to be a doctor to know,” she said. “And I kept thinking about if this was me, would people stay with me? Would they make sure that I was OK?
“I couldn’t go.”
— With files from Mary Jo Laforest in Edmonton and ABC News
Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press