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The Globe and Mail

Canadian victims of Vegas shooting: Alberta mom 'raised four beautiful children,' B.C. man 'a hero'

Jordan McIldoon, left, of Maple Ridge, B.C., and Jessica Klymchuk, of Valleyview, Alta., are among the victims of Sunday's shooting rampage in Las Vegas.


Jessica Klymchuk was a school librarian and doting single mother to four children in Alberta's Peace River Country, enjoying a Las Vegas holiday with her fiancé.

Jordan McIldoon was a construction worker from suburban Vancouver, who used the final moments of his life to protect his girlfriend from deadly gunfire.

The two Canadians were among at least 59 people killed when gunman Stephen Paddock opened fire on concertgoers on Sunday.

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CTV News reported that a third Canadian, an unidentified Albertan, was also killed.

Ms. Klymchuk lived in Valleyview, Alta., a town of 1,900 people, 350 kilometres northwest of Edmonton. She worked as a librarian, bus driver and educational assistant at St. Stephen's, a Roman Catholic elementary school.

"She's a very good mother. She's raised four beautiful children," her grandmother, Margaret Klymchuk, told The Globe and Mail on Monday. Margaret said Ms. Klymchuk was in Las Vegas with Brent Irla, her fiancé. Her children, who range in age from 9 to 15, remained back home with a friend.

Mr. McIldoon, 23, a resident of Maple Ridge, B.C., worked for Jacob Bros Construction in Surrey. He was in Las Vegas with his girlfriend, Amber Bereza. Ms. Bereza's brother credited Mr. McIldoon with saving his sister and vowed to get a tattoo in his honour.

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"You are a true hero for saving my sister's life I can't ever thank you enough," Cole Bereza, who declined an interview request, wrote on Facebook. "I know you will always be looking down and watching over her to protect her just the same as you did when you [were] by her side. I love you man."

A Las Vegas resident, Heather Gooze, said on Facebook that she had comforted a mortally wounded Mr. McIldoon.

"I am right outside of the festival grounds. We are not allowed to go anywhere. I am with a young man who died in my arms," she wrote Monday at 2:41 a.m.

Another Canadian, 34-year-old Tara Rowe of Okotoks, Alta., remained missing, according to a report on CKLQ radio in her hometown of Brandon, Man. Ms. Rowe was in Las Vegas with her husband and two friends, who have been all been accounted for, CKLQ reported, but Ms. Rowe has not been heard from.

It was not immediately clear how many Canadians in total were affected by the shooting. But as the dust settled Monday, many shared harrowing tales.

Todd Lawrence of Weyburn, Sask., was in Las Vegas for the concert with his wife and four friends. The group was split up between bathroom breaks and drink runs, and Mr. Lawrence found himself alone when the shooting began. He took cover behind a food stand, next to one person who appeared dead and another who had been wounded in the thigh. As the gunfire continued, the injured man – a stranger – covered Mr. Lawrence.

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"This fellow, he threw himself on top of me to try and protect me even though he was clearly already shot," Mr. Lawrence, 48, said in an interview. Ultimately, Mr. Lawrence, who works as an operations manager for an oil company, made a run for it and reconnected with his wife at the Excalibur Hotel. No one in his group was injured.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau spoke by telephone with U.S. President Donald Trump to offer condolences. Mr. Trump also "expressed solidarity" with Canada after the alleged terrorist attack in Edmonton this weekend, the White House said, and the pair offered each other any help necessary in the respective investigations.

In a statement, Mr. Trudeau said his government was "following up" on slain and injured Canadians in Las Vegas. B.C. Premier John Horgan said flags at the legislature in Victoria and provincial government buildings in Maple Ridge would be flown at half-mast in memory of Mr. McIldoon.

One Victoria resident, Sheldon Mack, tweeted that he was shot twice – suffering a ruptured colon and broken arm. His father, former news anchor Hudson Mack, wrote on Facebook that a stranger saved his son's life by "dragging him to safety and getting him to an ambulance."

Jody Ansell of Stonewall, Man., posted on Facebook that she had been shot in the right arm. She told the CBC that her friend, Jan Lambourne, was shot in the stomach.

Steve Arruda, a referee for a Calgary recreational hockey league, was shot in a leg while helping concertgoers flee over a fence, his friend Terrance Cook wrote on Facebook. Mr. Cook lauded Mr. Arruda for helping his wife to safety, then staying back to assist others.

"Thank you Steve for your courage," he wrote.

With a report from Wendy Stueck

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