The father of Las Vegas shooting victim Sonny Melton, a man who died while protecting his wife during Sunday’s attack, wrote a touching and heartbreaking letter on Facebook this week praising his son as a “hero” and reflecting on the tragic new realities that his family faces in the wake of Melton’s death.
James Warren Melton, 62, who also revealed new details about Sonny’s heroism, opened the letter by noting that he’s seen 22,623 sunrises throughout his life and, until Sunday, had never experienced a day in which he struggled wholeheartedly to find the good.
“I had never really experienced one that I couldn’t find at least some good in and I had never, ever hated anyone. And I mean that, not anyone,” he wrote in a Facebook post. “Well, as of 12:57 am Monday morning Oct. 1, 2017 I am now well acquainted with both horrible things, a hated day and a hated person. That’s the moment I received the telephone call that everyone, especially a parent fears.”
After receiving the call about Sonny’s death, Melton said that he found himself praying that he was either “sleep stupid, drunk, having a nightmare or crazy,” but the reality of what unfolded soon set in. In learning that Melton’s son had tragically died, he said he also learned that he was a hero up until the very end.
“James Sonny, my youngest son at 29 years of age, was dead,” he wrote. “Bullets in his back as he lay over his wife, protecting her as best he could with all he had available, his body.”
Melton went on to share some of the other details that haven’t been as widely reported, including not only his son’s brave quest to save his wife, Heather, but also Heather’s heroic efforts to save perform CPR on her ailing husband in the midst of chaos.
As Sonny shielded Heather and the two moved just yards from a concrete wall, he was hit and fell to the ground; that’s when Heather, who could have fled right over the line to safety, stopped and also displayed her own bravery.
“She made a quick exam and yelled for help as dozens of others fell around them. Bullets hitting the concrete so near that the resulting dust irritated her eyes,” Melton wrote. “But she stayed right there and started CPR there out in the open on the cold ground in a last ditch chance to save her husband. Don’t you see, Heather is a hero also. Protected by nothing more than the grace of God’s invisible hands, she stayed with him and I’m comforted now knowing my son didn’t have to die alone.”
Melton also praised two other “angels” — young concert goers who ran over as bullets flew to help Sonny and Heather, carrying Sonny to their pickup truck and racing him and two other victims to the hospital, as Heather continued CPR.
In the end, Melton praised his son as a “good guy” and a “hero” who did the right thing in protecting his wife to the very end. Read the touching open letter in its entirety here.