The horrific massacre that occurred on the Las Vegas Strip has only become more harrowing as we learn about the victims who lost their lives to the senseless act of violence. Mother-of-two, Denise Burditus, was one of the 58 people who was killed by gunman Stephen Paddock when he opened fire on the thousands of concert-goers attending Route 91 Harvest.
Burditus and her husband Tony made a weekend trip to Las Vegas solely for the annual country music festival. The high school sweethearts from West Virginia kept their friends and family updated by sharing pictures of their vacation on social media. However, one selfie taken among the concert-goers would tragically end up being the last the couple of 32 years would take together.
Moments after the photo was taken, the sound of gunfire erupted and Denise was struck while the two tried to escape. The 50-year-old immediately went unconscious and reportedly died in her husband’s arms in the minutes following. Hours later, Tony updated his Facebook to relay the heartbreaking news alongside a photo of them kissing the day of the shooting.
“It saddens me to say that I have lost my wife of 32 years, a mother of two, soon to be grandmother of five this evening in the Las Vegas shooting,” Tony Burditus grievingly wrote. “Denise passed in my arms. I LOVE YOU BABE.”
About a half an hour before the tragedy unfolded, Denise updated her Facebook profile picture to a photo of her and her husband that had been taken earlier that day. The photo showed the happy couple standing on the concert grounds with the Mandalay Bay hotel, where the shooter was situated, visible in the background.
Denise and Tony met at Hedgesville High School in Berkeley County, West Virginia. The two got married and started their family when Tony was serving in the US Army. The grieving husband stayed in Las Vegas until his wife’s remains could be transported back to their home state.
Burditus told CNN’s Anderson Cooper that following the loss of his wife, he’d look through photos on his phone of her beaming smile and be in complete disbelief. “Denise always had a smile on her face,” Burditus said. “Denise never met a stranger. You could be at the grocery store line and she’d start talking to you, or at a concert with 20,000 or 30,000 people ”
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