The Las Vegas cop who was killed in the mass shooting during a country music festival on the strip was a father, football coach and published author.
“He gave up his life for this country,” Tara Murray, 46, a relative of slain Las Vegas police officer Charleston Hartfield, told the Daily News on Monday as she was fighting back tears. “Just to be taken out like this. You don’t understand. He’s got two little babies.”
Hartfield, 34, posted a photo of a Route 91 Harvest banner to Facebook page on Sunday. Country singer Jason Aldean was performing when a gunman opened fire at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing at least 59 people and wounding more than 500 others. The suspected shooter, 64-year-old Stephen Paddock, later killed himself.
The cop was a military veteran and also coached a youth football team, friend Troy Rhett told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Coach Hartfield touched many lives both on and off the field,” Henderson Cowboys, a youth football organization, posted on its Facebook page. “He was a great man who we all lost way too early. Players and alumni, Coach Chucky would want you to keep to the plan and keep moving forward.”
Rhett — who knew Hartfield for almost eight years — told the paper he was texting with the cop Sunday night before the mayhem and hoped he would hear back from him.
“I figured he was probably busy helping others,” Rhett told the newspaper. “I don’t know a better man than Charles. They say it’s always the good ones we lose early. Our hearts have just been very heavy since hearing the news.”
Stan King, another of Hartfield’s friends, described the officer as “the most true-blue American guy” he’s ever met.
Hartfield had also authored “Memoirs of a Public Servant” in which he documents his experiences of serving his community as a police officer in Las Vegas.