A Tennessee man is being hailed as a hero for his act of bravery during the Oct. 1 mass shooting in Las Vegas.
Sonny Melton, 29, was among at least 58 people who died when a gunman opened fire on concertgoers at the Route 91 Harvest Festival, a three-day country music event, reports WKRN.
He died while shielding his wife, Dr. Heather Gulish Melton, from a barrage of gunfire.
Dr. Gulish Melton, who was not injured, posted on Facebook that she lost her "true love and knight in shining armor" and asked for time to grieve.
"He was always smiling," she said. "The most infectious smile. He loved his family and my children like his own."
Her husband, a registered nurse, was praised by his colleagues. "He was a great nurse, just a year or so out of school, studying to be surgical nurse. A kind and loving person. Horrible loss for [our] medical center," said Tom Gee, CEO of Henry County Medical Center, where Sonny worked.
"We heard that he shielded her from the bullets, and that's what type of person he was, that he would be a selfless person that would sacrifice his safety for someone else's. That very much sounds in character to him," Gee added.
Officials at the Union University School of Nursing, from which Sonny graduated, also expressed shock at his death.
"Our hearts are broken for his family, friends and colleagues," said Dean Kelly Harden. "Sonny was energetic, enthusiastic and had a positive attitude that was infectious. He had a love for people, and was a natural choice for class president. You could not help but smile when you saw him, whether that was in class or taking care of patients."
Harden continued: "Nursing was his calling, and he served well as the hands and feet of Jesus. We are all better for having known him. Even as we grieve his passing, we rejoice in the fact that in Christ we have victory over death."
Tennessee's governor, Bill Haslam, issued a statement to the media, reported by the Jackson Sun: "I am praying for the many people affected by the senseless act of violence in Las Vegas. In particular, [my wife] and I extend our condolences and prayers to the family of Sonny Melton, from West Tennessee, who was among those killed in this tragedy."
The gunman opened fire from the 32nd floor of a Las Vegas hotel, killing at least 59 people and injuring 527 others, in one of the deadliest mass shootings in American history, The New York Times reports.
Police identified the gunman as Stephen Paddock, 64, who was found dead in his hotel room of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot.
President Donald Trump, speaking at the White House, described the shooting as an "act of pure evil."
Sources: The Jackson Sun, KKRN, The New York Times / Featured Image: Pixabay / Embedded Images: John Locher/The Associated Press via The New York Times, David Becker/Getty Images via The New York Times