LAS VEGAS - A West Virginia couple was in Las Vegas for a long weekend of fun and music. But in the next coming days, only one of them will be flying back home.
"She was my wife for 32 years, married happily,” said Tony Burditus. “It got stronger every day.”
Tony and his wife, Denise, were in Las Vegas for a second year in a row to see their favorite singers.
“It could be in a grocery store line, she would talk to you,” Tony said. “Or a venue with 30,000 people. She was talking to the person next to her and had that smile on her face.”
The couple from Martinsburg had been already planning for third trip back for the Route 91 Harvest Festival next year. But on Sunday, Tony and Denise were standing halfway to the stage in an area that was less crowded.
"Initial gunshots, I did not think there was gunfire,” said Tony.
He said the panic was palpable, but they were still able to maneuver freely as they made their way out.
But it wasn't until the second burst when Tony, a retired Green Beret, realized they were in the direct line of gunfire.
"On our way out, Denise was struck,” Tony recalled. “She was immediately unconscious and I stayed with her there. Her wounds were pretty bad. Another gentleman stopped and we moved her back, and then finally got the ability to move her outside the fence. We loaded up in someone's pickup truck that was out there and started on the way to the hospital, and she left us prior to making it to the hospital.”
Denise was a lifelong banker and had just decided to pursue a college degree. She was a mother of two. In February, she would have been a grandmother for a fifth time.
"As soon as I know Denise is on her way home, I will get on a plane and get back to family,” Tony said. “I need to get back to the family. But once I know she is on the plane, then I will be on my way also."