Three days after the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history, details about the 58 people who were killed are beginning to emerge. A gunman's open fire on a music festival crowd in Las Vegas hit victims indiscriminately, a massacre that has left the nation reeling. Among those who tragically lost their life in the Las Vegas shooting was Christiana Duarte, a recent University of Arizona graduate who had just started work in marketing for the Los Angeles Kings.
22-year-old Duarte went to see Jason Aldean on Sunday night with Ariel Romero, part of the three-day country music Route 91 Harvest Festival. Romero is the girlfriend of Christiana Duarte's older brother, Mikey Duarte, a minor league player for the White Sox. According to the Daily Breeze, the Duartes were in Las Vegas as a family for the weekend. Romero was also hit with gunfire, but she survived and is in stable condition.
Duarte recently graduated in May with a degree in communications from the University of Arizona, where she was a reportedly member of the Sigma Kappa sorority. She had relocated to California where she secured a job as a fans-services associate for the L.A. Kings. The team put out a picture of Duarte on its Instagram page on Tuesday, asking for any information on her whereabouts.
Earlier in the year, Duarte had worked for the Arizona Diamondbacks. The team issued the following statement in response to learning of Duarte's passing:
We are all shocked and extremely saddened by the horrific news of Christiana Duarte being among the victims in Sunday's tragic shootings in Las Vegas. She was a member of our Sales Development Staff this past spring and summer prior to receiving full-time employment with a team in another professional sports league. Her wonderful personality and passion for her career will forever be remembered by her D-backs family. And to her immediate family, along with her friends and co-workers, our thoughts and prayers are with you at this horrific time.
In the aftermath of Sunday's horrifying chaos, Duarte's family and friends frantically searched for her. The police recovered Duarte's phone and ID, but there was no definite word on where she was or what had happened to her. After a brief false hope that Duarte was alive at the hospital, the heartbreaking news broke that Duarte was actually among the 58 victims killed.
Duarte's family has started a GoFundMe page, with proceeds raised going to help the family cover memorial costs. Extra funds will be used to start a scholarship fund in Christiana Duarte's name.
Duarte's life was taken in a crime that the country has struggled to comprehend. Police have yet to uncover a definite motive behind a 64-year-old man's decision to fire at random into a crowd of 22,000 concertgoers.
President Trump is traveling to Las Vegas on Wednesday, and will deliver a speech in response to the shooting. He is expected to offer solidarity with the victims and their friends and family. But Trump will likely stay away from the issue of gun control — as he did in his speech the morning after the shooting — despite mounting calls for a real debate and discussion on the current slate of legislation surrounding gun laws.
The gunman behind Sunday's attack was Stephen Paddock, who police say had no previous criminal record. Paddock reportedly purchased his stockpile of weapons legally has prompted many to question the legal basis for allowing private citizens access to such deadly weapons. Nevada has exceptionally lax laws when it comes to gun ownership, which reportedly helped Paddock get his hands on such an enormous cache of guns.
The FBI has said there is no evidence that Paddock was associated with ISIS, despite the terrorist group's claim otherwise. Investigators are still looking into a possible motive behind his shooting spree.
For the family and friends of Christiana Duarte, the loss of her young and vibrant life is heartbreaking. She will be missed by many.