Thousands gather at emotional vigil for police officer killed in Vegas massacre (videos)

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Mourning for the 58 lives lost in the deadliest shooting in United States history continued Thursday night, as thousands gathered at an emotional vigil for a police officer, ex-soldier, and father of two who was killed in the Vegas massacre.

Charleston Hartfield attended the Route 91 Country Music Festival in Vegas annually with his wife, Veronica. Photos from Instagram and Facebook show the couple taking selfies and making funny faces just hours before the violence broke out. When he heard gunfire, the 11-year veteran of the Las Vegas Police Department immediately jumped into action, helping others find cover and safe evacuation routes.

The sad ceremony witnessed Veronica, along with the couple’s two children, 15-year-old Ayzayah and 9-year-old Savannah, openly weeping.

In a statement to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, Mayor Carolyn Goodman said Hartfield was a “very special, beautiful man,” and his death was a “very special loss.”

In attendance at the ceremony were Las Vegas Sheriff Joseph Lombardo, members of the US Army, and dozens of police officers, some of whom visibly wept during the memorial.

Hartfield recently experienced marked success as an author, publishing a book titled “Memoirs of a Public Servant” that quickly became a number-one seller on Amazon.

“He was just a great individual, a positive individual,” said Troy Rhett, a longtime family friend, according to NBC News.

“He was dependable. You meet certain people in life who are all of those things, and that’s who Charles was for the community. He was the best of what we had all wrapped into one.”

“The healing process may take a long time but I know it’s something that we can start, and hopefully his family will be able to rebound from this,” Rhett said.

Rhett says he texted Hartfield as soon as he got word of the gunfire, knowing he was at the concert.

“I figured he was probably busy helping others,” he said. “I don’t know a better man than Charles. They say it’s always the good ones we lose early. There’s no truer statement than that with Charles. … Our hearts have just been very heavy since hearing the news.”

In his author description on Amazon, Hartfield described himself as a “public servant from the early age of 18 who is committed to bridging the gap with no filters or shaded perceptions.”

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