Derek Miller planned to do it right after the Route 91 Harvest Music Festival.
He came to Las Vegas with his girlfriend Andrea Castilla to celebrate her 28th birthday. Castilla’s sister Athena and Athena’s fiance came as well.
When the first shots rang out, they ducked. Andrea protected her sister and the two held hands. Then a bullet struck Andrea in the head.
Miller and Athena’s fiance Shan Armstrong shielded Andrea and carried her out of the concert grounds and rushed her to a hospital. After 7 hours of waiting, they learned the tragic news. She was gone.
That’s when Miller revealed his secret. He was going to propose to his beloved after the concert.
“He told me after she had passed,” Athena Castilla told People. “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 said, “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.”
Andrea worked as a makeup artist at Sephora. Her mother died of cancer when she was a teenager. Her mother’s battle with cancer inspired her to use makeup to make cancer patients feel beautiful.
The seven-hour wait everyone endured at the hospital turned out to be due to an error. Andrea had passed away upon admittance, but the hospital lost track of her in the chaos following the mass shooting.
With all the chaos and no ID, she was lost in the system. The family provided her ID and Facebook photos and she was confirmed deceased.
On Wednesday, Oct.4, the girlfriend of the Las Vegas gunman who killed 58 people and himself in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history was questioned by the FBI and said she had no idea he was “planning violence against anyone.”
Marilou Danley, who returned late on Tuesday from a family visit to the Philippines and is regarded by investigators as a “person of interest,” said through a lawyer that the carnage Stephen Paddock unleashed while she was abroad caught her completely by surprise.
“He never said anything to me or took any action that I was aware of that I understood in any way to be a warning that something horrible like this was going to happen,” Danley, 62, said in a written statement read to reporters by her attorney in Los Angeles, where the FBI was questioning her.
A Federal Bureau of Investigation official in Las Vegas, meanwhile, said no one has been taken into custody.
But Clark County Sheriff Joseph Lombardo told reporters he found it hard to believe that the arsenal of weapons, ammunition, and explosives recovered by police in their investigation could have been assembled by Paddock completely on his own.
“You have to make an assumption that he had some help at some point,” Lombardo said at a news briefing. Lombardo said the attack was the obvious outcome of meticulous planning.
“What we know is that Stephen Paddock is a man who spent decades acquiring weapons and ammo and living a secret life, much of which will never be fully understood,” the sheriff said.
Nearly 500 people were also injured when Paddock, 64, strafed an outdoor concert with gunfire on Sunday night from his 32nd-floor suite of the Mandalay Bay hotel on the Las Vegas Strip.
He took his own life before police stormed his room, bringing the total death toll to 59.
Police recovered nearly 50 firearms from three locations they searched, nearly half of them from the hotel suite. Twelve of the rifles there were fitted with so-called bump stocks, officials said, allowing the guns to be fired almost as though they were automatic weapons.
In response to a question, Lombardo said investigators were examining the possibility Paddock’s purchase of more than 30 guns in October 2016 may have been precipitated by some triggering event in his life. He did not elaborate.
If Paddock did have any accomplice, there remained no evidence as yet “to indicate terrorism” in the shooting spree, said Aaron Rouse, FBI special agent in charge of the Las Vegas field office.
Earlier in the day, U.S. President Donald Trump visited Las Vegas, marking the first time since taking office that he has had to confront a major mass shooting.
Reuters contributed to this report.