Rachael Parker, a civilian employee of the Manhattan Beach, California Police Department, was among the 59 victims of the Las Vegas concert shooting. It was the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history and left over 500 others injured. The 33-year-old Parker worked for the department for a decade and was remembered by her mother as a woman with a “heart of gold.”
The shooting happened late Sunday night, when 64-year-old Stephen Paddock fired at the crowd of 22,000 at the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival. Paddock fired out of a 32nd-floor window, across the street from the open-air concert venue. Police have yet to determine the motive for the shooting, which left Paddock’s family members shocked. Paddock was found dead by police when they arrived at his room.
Here’s a look at the life of Rachael Parker.
She Was at the Concert With Other Manhattan Beach Police Department Employees
The Manhattan Beach Police Department confirmed that Parker was among the four MBPD employees at the concert. Two of them, Parker and a sworn officer, were injured in the shooting. The sworn officer suffered minor injuries.
“Rachael Parker, a Manhattan Beach Police Records Technician, was shot and ultimately lost her life in the hospital,” the department said. “She was employed with the Manhattan Beach Police Department for 10 years and will be greatly missed.”
Parker’s friend Arlene Richardson told the Long Beach Post that Parker was in Las Vegas to celebrate a friend’s birthday. Richardson said she tried to reach Parker after hearing about the shooting, but could not, so she called another friend.
“I was trying to get in touch with her to find out if she was okay because Rachael wasn’t returning my texts, I just had a terrible feeling,” Richardson told the Post. “So I ended up texting her, and at first she said she was okay […] but she was going to go to the hospital, and then this morning she told me [Rachael] passed away.”
Richardson also said her friend loved dogs and recently adopted two rottweilers.
“She loved dogs so much, she’s such a dog and animal person in general, she loved dogs so much that if anybody would ask her what she would want the world to know, is to adopt dogs that really need help,” Richardson told the Post. “She deserves all the praise, she was just such a great person.”
Parker’s Mother Says She Was ‘Brilliant & Had a Heart of Gold’
Parker was originally from the Spokane, Washington area, reports KXLY. She graduated from Cheney High School in Cheney, Washington.
Her mother, Robin Monter, told KXLY she flew to Las Vegas the moment she heard about the shooting. She said her daughter was “brilliant and had a heart of gold.”
Monter said her daughter volunteered with the homeless and elderly. She praised her daughter’s colleagues for helping the family out in this difficult time.
“I just remember honestly that whenever I walked by she took the time to look my way, wave and smile. And that wasn’t just for me, that was form everybody. She was that kind of person,” MBPD Captain Tim Hageman told KXLY.
Monter also sent a photo of her daughter smiling to KHQ. “This is my daughter in a happier time with her fur kids. She rescued them. She was always saving something,” Monter said.