BRANDON — Tara Roe, one of four Canadians confirmed killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday, is being remembered as a devoted wife and mother who remained close with her family in Brandon, where she grew up.

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BRANDON — Tara Roe, one of four Canadians confirmed killed in the mass shooting in Las Vegas Sunday, is being remembered as a devoted wife and mother who remained close with her family in Brandon, where she grew up.

"She was just a really warm and beautiful person," said Brandon resident and former neighbour Loretta Hamilton, who remembers seeing Roe riding her bike and selling cookies in the north end neighbourhood where she grew up.

"She was close to her parents, very tight with her parents and her sister — who, of course, is just devastated with the loss of her only sister and the auntie of her children. The whole world has been shaken with the loss of Tara."

Born Tara Smith, the 34-year-old resident of Okotoks, Alta., had been reported missing in the hectic aftermath of the most deadly mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Fifty nine people have been reported killed.

Roe had two young children with her husband, Zach Roe. An unverified fundraiser on gofundme.com was set up at midday to help support Roe’s family. Within eight hours Tuesday, it had raised almost $70,000 of its $100,000 goal.

A family spokesperson confirmed Roe’s husband, who was in Las Vegas with her, survived the shooting.

'Beautiful soul'

Her aunt, Val Rodgers of Brandon, confirmed her niece’s death Tuesday, calling Roe a "beautiful soul" and "wonderful mother."

Two people close to the family confirmed Roe’s parents, Mark and Brenda, have flown to Alberta to be with their grandchildren.

While Roe had been living in Alberta for about 10 years — where she worked as a model and part-time educational assistant — she still came back to Manitoba for six weeks every summer and for most holidays, Hamilton said.

Roe’s family issued a statement earlier Tuesday saying they were devastated by the loss.

"The family is incredibly grateful for the outpouring of love and support and we send our condolences to the many other grieving families who’ve also lost a loved one, or are impacted by the horrific event that has unfolded."

The family statement called Roe’s death an "unthinkable tragedy."

Calgary-area resident and former Brandon, Man. native Tara (Smith) Roe, is one of four Canadians who died in the wake of Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy Sophia Models International)</p>

Calgary-area resident and former Brandon, Man. native Tara (Smith) Roe, is one of four Canadians who died in the wake of Sunday's mass shooting in Las Vegas. (Photo courtesy Sophia Models International)

Aside from the shock and grief of the loss, one thing bothering those close to the family is not knowing how Roe died, Hamilton said.

"Was she shot or was she trampled? She was with her husband at some point and then they got separated.  He doesn’t understand how she got lost from him. Did she get shot? Did she trip and fall?

 “We ask: ‘Oh my God. How did this happen to Tara?’ But 58 other families are asking the same question. How can something as innocent as going to enjoy some country music turn into this? Who can understand the mind of a madman? Who wants to understand that?" –Loretta Hamilton

"As those things are revealed there will be more sadness to come for what her final minutes looked like," Hamilton said.

"We ask: ‘Oh my God. How did this happen to Tara?’ But 58 other families are asking the same question. How can something as innocent as going to enjoy some country music turn into this? Who can understand the mind of a madman? Who wants to understand that?"

People close to the family have been sending their thoughts and prayers to Roe’s parents through messages and texts, Hamilton said. Her passing has left the community "rocked to the core," she said.

"We all watched out for each others kids and shared in their birthdays and celebrations and graduations, their weddings, their baby showers," Hamilton said of the close-knit Brandon neighbourhood where Roe grew up. 

"We just shared everything. So for her parents, our grief is unbelievable. That they’re away from home and not with us and no one can comfort them, that is very painful for us.

"None of us should have to bury a child," Hamilton said. "There is just so much wrong with this. And of course her husband. How do you tell your two little boys their mom is not coming home?"

 

Fourth Canadian confirmed dead in shooting

Roe was the fourth Canadian confirmed dead in the mass shooting in Las Vegas.

Calla Medig, who grew up in Jasper, Alta.,was also shot at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. Going to Las Vegas for the festival had become an annual tradition for the country music fan.

Another Alberta woman, Jessica Klymchuk, was identified as one of the shooting victims on Monday. Klymchuk was a mother of four who lived in the northwestern Alberta town of Valleyview, where she worked as an educational assistant, librarian and bus driver at an area Catholic school.

Another Canadian victim, Jordan McIldoon, would have turned 24 on Friday and was a month shy of completing a course to qualify as a heavy-duty mechanic.

His parents, Alan and Angela, said he grew up on a rural property in Maple Ridge, B.C., and loved the outdoors.

— Winnipeg Free Press staff with files from The Canadian Press

Ryan Thorpe

Ryan Thorpe
Reporter

Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.