A U.S. Navy veteran from Corona and a Riverside Poly High School graduate were among those killed in Las Vegas in the worst mass shooting in U.S. history, which also left two Riverside County sheriff’s deputies wounded, one seriously.
Christopher “Chris” Roybal, 28, was killed with 58 others, including Angela Gomez of Riverside.
Roybal had been in the Navy for a decade and had recently finished a tour of duty in Afghanistan, according to social media and other reports.
“He went to combat and came back without being injured, and then goes to a concert and dies,” the victim’s mother, Debby Allen, told a Las Vegas news outlet.
Roybal was set to celebrate his 29th birthday next week, she said.
The Riverside Unified School District released a statement confirming that Gomez, who graduated from Poly High in 2015, was killed in the shooting rampage carried out by a lone gunman who opened fire on a country music festival from a guest room on the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino.
“This is a tremendous loss for the Riverside Unified family, and we are shaken and saddened by this news,” according to the district. “Poly High staff remember Angela Gomez — also known as `Angie’ — as a fun-loving young lady with a great sense of humor. They say she loved the stage and participated for many years with Riverside Children’s Theater, as well as being involved in her middle and high school choirs.”
After graduating high school, Gomez went on to attend classes at Riverside City College.
The young woman died in the gunfire unleashed on concertgoers attending the final night of the three-day Route 91 Harvest Country Music Festival.
Friends and relatives identified another victim of the shooting as Carrie Barnette, 34. A relative told The Arizona Republic newspaper that Barnette bought a home in Riverside last year, and worked at a cafe at Disney’s California Adventure theme park in Anaheim.
According to Riverside County sheriff’s officials, a patrol deputy was seriously injured and a correctional deputy was treated at a hospital and released following the Sunday night rampage that wounded 527. The sheriff’s department did not release their names, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether they were together, nor could officials say whether there were other sheriff’s employees with them.
Sgt. Chris Willison said Sheriff Stan Sniff authorized departmental personnel to “liaison” with Las Vegas police to “assist with the investigation in any way we can.”
Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department officials say 64-year-old Stephen Paddock of Mesquite, Nevada, rained bullets onto an estimated 22,000 people gathered for the festival. He killed himself after shooting relentlessly for about five minutes, according to authorities.
A motive remains unknown.
“My deepest condolences go out to the victims’ families and friends and to those injured,” said Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Corona. “I commend the rapid reaction from first responders and the medical staff, who are currently treating those who were hurt. There are no words to express the sorrow at such a large number of lives lost. It defies comprehension. My prayers are with all those impacted.”
Rep. Mark Takano, D-Riverside, said he was “heartbroken” by the killings.
“I’m thinking about the victims and their loved ones, and I’m thinking about what we can do to protect our communities and prevent these senseless tragedies,” the congressman said.
— City News Service