Heather and Sonny Melton planned to spend every possible second together.
Heather, a surgeon, and Sonny, a surgical nurse, were so in love, they even found a way to work in the same operating room. They just wanted more time together.
“I don’t know, it was a love that I had never experienced before. It was the kind of love that fills you up every single day. We loved being together and people felt how much we loved each other,” Heather Melton told TODAY.
As the one year anniversary of their marriage approached, the couple headed from their home in Big Sandy, Tennessee, to Las Vegas for the Route 91 Harvest Festival.
It was during Jason Aldean’s set, that a spray of bullets came from the 32nd floor of the Mandalay Bay Resort.
“When we realized that gunshots were going off, and it wasn’t just fireworks like everybody thought, I said, ‘Let’s get down,’ and he said ‘no, we’ll get trampled. Let’s go,’ she said.
Sonny, 29, wrapped his arm around his wife’s back as they took off running. Heather said a moment later, she felt a bullet land in her husband’s back.
“At that point there was gunfire all around us, and people were lying on the ground. I tried to perform CPR on him on the field,” Heather Melton said. “As it progressed on I [knew he was dead]. As I was giving him CPR he began to bleed from his mouth, and I was just screaming for somebody to come help me.”
Once the gunfire subsided, a stranger pulled the mortally wounded man over his shoulder, and ran him to a pickup truck where two other victims had already been placed.
The man performed CPR on Sonny all the way to the hospital, but it wasn’t enough to save his life.
Heather said she still doesn’t know who the stranger is. She said she was in shock and never asked his name, but said the man never left her side.
“I’m very grateful I wasn’t left alone,” she said.
She said since her husband died, she’s received dozens of letters from his former patients telling her how kind and at-ease he made them feel.
“He could walk in a room and smile that infectious smile, and people just really felt that he cared for them,” Melton said.
“My son said to me, ‘Mom, Sonny’s an international hero,’ and he said, ‘Well, he was always our hero before this happened.’”