There are multiple videos inside this story. Click here to see them all from the News 2 app.
BIG SANDY, Tenn. (WKRN) – Friends and family gathered to say their final goodbyes to Sonny Melton on Tuesday.
The Big Sandy man has been hailed a hero after shielding his wife from gunfire during the mass shooting in Las Vegas. The 29-year-old was one of 58 people killed.
Sonny’s relatives told News 2 that in this most difficult time, the outpouring of love and support has been incredibly comforting. Hundreds of people attended Tuesday’s visitation and funeral held at Big Sandy High School.
News 2 spoke with Sonny Melton’s father, who said he is so proud of his son, and it’s just like him to put others before himself.
“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,” his father James Melton said.
Sonny’s wife, Heather, also spoke briefly to introduce another hero from the tragedy in Nevada–the man who rushed to her side after her young husband was shot.
“In that very dark night, I was screaming for somebody to come and help me, and then an angel came and put Sonny over his shoulder and carried him off the field into a truck where he performed CPR the entire way to the hospital,” wife Heather Melton said.
“After I found out Sonny had passed, he stayed with the entire time–a complete stranger. There was more than one hero that night, and we’re all very lucky that he has come from California to join us in our celebration of Sonny’s life, and I wanted to acknowledge him, and I’d like for everybody to raise him up in prayer.”
That man then joined Heather on stage, hugging her as she introduced him to the crowd.
“This is Daniel, and he was also my hero that night. Thank you,” she said. The California man then took the stage with his brother, singing “Like A Cowboy” by Randy Houser to honor Sonny.
Friends and family members shared heartfelt stories about the Big Sandy man, saying the town won’t be the same without him.
“All the kids, my wife’s kids, played ball with Sonny. That is how we know each other, tight. We will miss him. We’ll miss him. Big Sandy will never be the same,” said Dewayne Culpepper, a close family friend.
A memorial fund was also set up in Sonny’s honor. The money will be donated to charities on his behalf.