Tennessee town says goodbye to man killed in Vegas shooting

(Photo: WKRN)

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BIG SANDY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Hundreds of mourners began saying their goodbyes to a Tennessee man killed in last week’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Sonny Melton died while shielding his wife from the bullets. More than 50 others were also killed and hundreds of others hurt.

Visitation for Melton began Monday at 2 p.m. and continues until 8 p.m. at Big Sandy School Monday. On Tuesday, visitation will be held from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the funeral immediately following.

“The outpouring of emotion and support – it’s actually good will and people want to help. I think all of these people would try to do anything to make a better time for Sonny and me and the family. There is nothing that anyone can say to make it good, but we have all made a pact among ourselves, and everyone I’ve seen here is going to try to do something a little bit better as we move on in life to honor Sonny,” his father James Melton said.

(Photo: WKRN)

MORE: Wife of Tennessee man killed in Las Vegas: ‘Shots raining from everywhere’

Melton was a nurse in West Tennessee at the Henry County Medical Center.  His remains were flown back to Tennessee on Saturday.

“It’s a hard time for us right now, but if any two people in the country can come together with a little bit of a better attitude and not argue and fight as much as they used to, Sonny’s accomplished something,” James Melton said.

“He was one of my best friends. We would play video games together, we’d fish together sometimes, we’d just do all the things that typical dad and son would do,” his step-son told News 2, saying “it’s almost typical of him to do something so selfless, and to just save my mom like that. He was the last person I’d ever expect this to happen to.”

His body was then escorted through his hometown to give friends and family a chance to pay their respects. Green balloons and ribbons have also been hung in the town in his honor.

“This [visitation] today is actually going to begin some closure for us and it’s been a hard road getting here,” James Melton said. “Our new normal starts now. It’s a new normal, but we will make it.”

(Courtesy: Ridgeway Funeral Home)

Melton’s visitations and funeral are opened to the public.

“The prayers and the thoughts of all these folks here and all across the country and the world that have been in contact with us – it’s been amazing. The outpouring of sympathy – you don’t want to go on and I don’t want to be right here doing this, [but] it’s for Sonny,” James Melton said.

His father’s recent letter about his son and his death went viral across the nation. Click here to read his words.

Click here for complete coverage of the Las Vegas attack.