LA PALMA (CBSLA) — Tuesday marked two years since the deadliest mass shooting in modern United States history — and families of those killed remembered their loved ones with a sunrise service in Las Vegas.
On the night of Oct. 1, 2017, a gunman opened fire on the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Hotel killing 58 and injuring 700 — nearly half of the victims were from Southern California.READ MORE: Dr. Dre Partners With LAUSD To Open New High School In South LA
One of those victims was Brian Fraser of La Palma, whose wife and children are still trying to learn how to live in a world without him. Stephanie Fraser and her two youngest children made the trip to Vegas to honor Brian and decorate his tree in the healing garden with updated photographs and other small mementos.
“It makes us feel good, because I think being in California we don’t hear a lot about it anymore,” Stephanie said. “And that makes me a little fearful that the world has forgotten, which is sad, but when we come back here, there’s so much support.”
Stephanie said in the first year following Brian’s death, the entire family was numb. Nick Arellano, a member of the United States Air Force, moved back to La Palma to help his mom after the shooting.
Now the two of them say the painful reality has sunk in, but they try to focus on the good times they shared.
“I’m not trying to remember the actual events of what went down two years ago,” Nick said. “I’m just more focused on the happy times we had together looking back on pictures and videos.”READ MORE: Aiden Leos, Boy Killed In Road Rage Shooting, To Get Plaque At Orange County Zoo
The family even saved Brian’s old phone, and Nick said they sometimes listen to his voicemail just to hear his voice.
And, nine months after the shooting, the family had something to celebrate — the birth of Nick’s daughter Brynn — who Nick said Brian knew about before anyone else. At the festival, Nick said Brian rubbed his daughter-in-law’s stomach and talked about a baby.
“He just knew,” Nick said. “It was just something that he knew, so we just look at that as a gift from God and him.”
In Corona, a vigil was held where the names of those who were killed were read and candles were lit in their memory.
“You think about God’s grace and saving my own life, and you do kind of think about the events that happened that night and why you weren’t shot and the grace of God,” Tammy Dickerson, who survived the massacre, said.MORE NEWS: 2 Homes Destroyed In Flats Fire, Evacuations Still In Place For Pinyon Crest
Investigators from the local police department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation found the gunman had meticulously planned the attack, but there was no clear motive.