The boyfriend of a 28-year-old woman shot dead in Sunday night’s Las Vegas massacre had been planning to propose to her after the Route 91 festival.
Andrea Castilla was at the festival celebrating her 28th birthday, when she was fatally shot in the head.
She had no idea her partner of seven months, Derek Miller, who she lived with in Huntington Beach, California, was preparing to ask her to marry him.
Yesterday, 59 music fans went to a concert and never made it home. Today, we remember them. pic.twitter.com/UzAuPNS1R2
— UNILAD (@UNILAD) October 3, 2017
Andrea, whose festival ticket had been a birthday present to herself, was holding hands with her younger sister Athena, who lives in Las Vegas, when Stephen Paddock started shooting.
Athena told PEOPLE magazine Derek had told her about the proposal:
He told me after she had passed.
They were planning on staying on until Thursday in our guest room. He told me, ‘I was planning on asking her this weekend with you guys. … We talked about spending the rest of our lives together’.
Andrea’s brother Adam added:
They had promise rings and they always talked about it. Derek had asked my dad’s permission. He wanted to start a family with her.
The siblings described Andrea as a ‘funny, creative and a photogenic makeup artist’ who had been inspired by their mother’s battle with cancer to help other cancer patients look and feel beautiful.
— Hetty Chang (@HettyNBCLA) October 5, 2017
Two weeks before she died, Andrea bought passes to the country music festival for her and Derek – Athena and her fiancé were already attending.
When she realised [the festival] fell on her birthday weekend, she was like, ‘Oh no, I’m coming!’
She told me, ‘I love country … We’re going to have a great time, so excited to see you!’
Andrea Castilla, 28. Huntington Beach, Calif. Makeup artist at Sephora. Boyfriend Derek had been planning to propose in Las Vegas. pic.twitter.com/r8N5hR7JP6
— The Trace (@teamtrace) October 4, 2017
But Andrea was hit during the initial shots which started shortly after 10pm.
59 people were killed, and more than 500 others have been injured in what’s the deadliest mass shooting by a single gunman in modern US history.
Athena described the scene:
We just weren’t sure what it was at first. Then everyone started running.
Next thing you know, [Andrea’s] on the floor.
My fiancé and I covered her body to keep people from stepping on her. Her whole hair was drenched in blood. The gunshots kept going and going. We were just praying we were going to make it.
Athena said once the shooting stopped, strangers came up to them to help get Andrea to a hospital, she was put on a metal gate and placed in the back of a truck because they didn’t have time to wait for an ambulance:
There were people on the streets trying to take people, I was holding onto her head and trying to keep her from losing so much blood, talking to her, kissing her, telling her she was going to make it.
She was trying to breathe. She was struggling, her eyes were closed. … She was just struggling really bad. We all did our best to help her get through it. We did the best we could.
Andrea died shortly after arriving.
Now, with Andrea gone, Adam said:
Any time I close my eyes, and I picture her, it’s always her smile. It’s never anything else.
The family has set up a GoFundMe page in Andrea’s honour and the funds will be used for her memorial service, to allow her family to stay in Las Vegas until her body is released, to help the family with counselling and give them time to grieve.
Our thoughts remain with all those affected by this tragedy.