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UPDATE: W.Va. native remembers wife killed in Las Vegas shooting

(WSAZ)
Published: Oct. 2, 2017 at 3:47 PM EDT
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UPDATE 10/3/17 @ 11:45 p.m.

The smile that Denise Burditus wore everyday is the same one her husband Tony wears when he talks about his wife of 32 years.

"Everyday got better. I am telling everyone that 32 years and every day got better. It never ended; it just got better everyday."

Sunday, the high school sweethearts, who call Martinsburg, West Virginia, home spent the day at a pool in Las Vegas.

That's where Denise talked about making plans to come back to Las Vegas in 2018 for the same country music festival they would attend later that night. They also attended the concert in 2016.

Tony said via Skype Tuesday evening from his hotel room in Las Vegas that her friend described her best in a social media post.

"I think one of her friends described her as spunky, she was the life of the party," he said.

Tony also said she was the backbone of their family.

The pair has two children and their fifth grandchild will arrive in February.

"She was an amazing woman and just powered through it all."

At 50 she was in her second year of college for business after spending decades as a bank employee.

As the wife of an Army veteran, her love of country ran deep and so did her love for country music.

"She wanted to see Jake Owen and Jason Aldean."

But it was during Aldean's performance that Tony's life would change forever.

They thought the gunshots were coming from the ground.

"We started heading out and she got struck."

A man helped get them out of the concert area and another nurse stopped to help and stayed with the couple, even riding with them to the hospital. Another stranger picked them up to take them.

"Denise's wounds were fatal, I knew that. But she wouldn't stop fighting and I wouldn't leave her. I wouldn't quit on her."

"She left me on the way to the hospital."

Tony originally didn't want to speak out to the media. But he says he was watching coverage, hearing the stories of other victims and he wanted the world to know what kind of woman Denise was.

"I want the world to know Denise, and I think they are getting to know her from what I've seen my main attempt today was to ensure everyone knew what kind of person she was."

Tony says he is putting one foot in front of the other as he works to come home to West Virginia. He says he will leave Las Vegas once he is able to bring wife home with him.

As he works through the process of doing that, he's grateful for the overwhelming support. From the strangers who helped them during that fateful concert to the crisis command center set up on the ground in Las Vegas to help him now and the people at home: friends, family and stranger who continue to pray.


ORIGINAL STORY 10/2/17

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WV MetroNews) -- A woman with West Virginia roots was among the first victims of a mass shooting in Las Vegas to be identified.

Denise Burditus, who grew up in Hedgesville and who lived in Martinsburg, was attending Sunday night’s Jason Aldean concert at the Route 91 Harvest Festival in Las Vegas Village when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock opened fire from the 32nd floor of an adjacent hotel.

At least 58 people were killed and more than 500 were injured. About 22,000 attended the concert.

Tony Burditus wrote on his Facebook page that his wife died in his arms.

“It saddens me to say that I lost my wife of 32 years, a mother of two, soon to be grandmother of five this evening in the Las Vegas shooting,” Tony Burditus wrote. “Denise passed in my arms. I LOVE YOU BABE.”

On her own Facebook page, Denise Burditus had posted a photograph of the couple at the concert venue, apparently earlier in the day.

Tony and Denise Burditus are pictured at a concert venue in Las Vegas that was the scene of America’s worst mass shooting.

The couple had apparently been looking forward to the concert and trip for months. Tony Burditus’s only two posts on his Twitter page focused on the music festival.

They were both originally from the Hedgesville area and graduated from Hedgesville High. One family member described them as high school sweethearts.

He was retired from the Army, and they had moved back to Berkeley County, living in Martinsburg.

Denise described herself as semi-retired, and the couple had spent the past couple of years traveling to places like Florida, Georgia, Texas and New Orleans. The two started a blog about their travels in 2015.

On his Facebook page today, Tony Burditus had posted a photograph of the couple kissing. Posts expressing sympathy were flowing in.

“What an awesome picture Tony. My heart aches for you and your family,” one friend wrote.

Another wrote, “Oh Tony, I just keep looking at the cool beautiful pictures both you and Denise have been sharing of all the fun you were having in Vegas and at the festival. Your loss is unfathomable. Thoughts and prayers to all of you guys “