A Husband in Tears as He Describes Search for Wife Killed in Vegas Massacre: 'My Daughter Loved Her Mommy So Much'
Reeling from the death of Lisa Patterson in the Las Vegas massacre, husband Bob Patterson remembers his wife and the mother of their three children
Telling his 8-year-old daughter that her mother had been shot and killed in the Las Vegas massacre on Sunday was the hardest thing Robert “Bob” Patterson has ever had to do.
“My daughter loved her mommy so much,” he tells PEOPLE. “I don’t think it has completely sunk in yet that mommy’s not coming home — ever.”
His wife, 46-year-old Lisa Patterson, died on Sunday as 64-year-old Stephen Paddock rained gunfire down from his 32nd-floor hotel room onto a nearby concert crowd of more than 22,000.
Paddock killed at least 58 people — and injured hundreds of others — before killing himself, in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
“I’m completely devastated,” Bob, 53, says of Lisa’s death. “She was the rock of the family.”
The couple’s three children, Amber, 19, Robert III, 16, and 8-year-old Brooke, are also grappling with the loss of the mother they adored, their father says.
“They are extremely upset,” he says. “She was 100 percent dedicated to her family more than anything else.”
Breaking down in tears, Bob says of Lisa, his wife of 21 years: “[She] was the most beautiful thing. She had such a great smile. She was such a great mother. I don’t know what I’m going to do.”
• Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Click here to get breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases in the True Crime Newsletter.
A Search in Vain
On Sunday night, just after 10 p.m., Bob says he got a call that “something had happened in Las Vegas,” where Lisa and three friends had traveled for the Route 91 Harvest country music festival.
“I started texting my wife immediately, saying, ‘Lisa – you need to text me back right now,” he says. “I want to know that you are okay.’ And I got nothing.”
Before he got the call, Bob and Lisa had texted earlier in the night when he checked in to see if she was having fun at the concert. “I miss you,” she texted back to him, her final text to her husband. She followed it with a Bitmoji with the words “Miss you so much.”
When he didn’t hear back from her, at 6 a.m. the next morning, Bob and his son and oldest daughter drove to Vegas to find her.
When they left their home in Lomita, California, last they had been told was that Lisa was on a missing and injured list, so they thought she may have been hurt and unable to contact them.
“I went to four different hospitals,” Bob says. “There was a place where everybody was meeting and finding their family and I was there for hours. I kept calling her phone. I just couldn’t find her. I was so frustrated.”
• PEOPLE’s special edition True Crime Stories: 35 Real Cases That Inspired the Show Law & Orderis on sale now.
When he finally spoke to her friends, he learned the truth: They told him Lisa had gotten shot in the melee and died immediately.
“They said they had to leave her because they were still getting shot at,” he says. “They said there were people there taking care of her and performing CPR on her and then she was just gone.
“It was without a doubt, the worst day of my life ever.”
A Beloved Partner Always at His Side
Bob and Lisa met when she was just 18, he says. “We dated for seven years before we got married,” he says. “I knew I was going to marry her the first day I met her.”
That year they met, Bob’s father died, he says.
“She was a tremendous help for me, even then,” he says. “She was just special from the moment I met her.”
Surrounded by friends, Lisa was “always nice to everybody,” Bob says.
Besides raising three children together, the couple worked together at their company, Robert Patterson Hardwood Floors.
“My wife did everything for our company, from bookkeeping to returning calls to collecting checks, estimating and working with me doing the hardwood floors,” Bob says.
He and Lisa were also often found working with young players in the Palos Verdes Girls Softball League. “I’ve coached softball for almost 15 years, and she was by my side almost the entire time,” he says.
A devout Catholic, Lisa often volunteered at their church and at the Catholic schools their kids attended.
Breaking down in tears again, Bob says, “She wasn’t the one who was supposed to die first. That was supposed to be me. It’s all so senseless.”
How to Help
Friends and family are asked to report missing people believed to be connected to the shooting using the hotline 1-800-536-9488.
Anyone with photo or video evidence of the shooting is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
A victims’ fund has been started on GoFundMe by Steve Sisolak, the Clark County, Nevada, commission chair. Other groups providing relief include the local chapter of the American Red Cross and the National Compassion Fund.
A GoFundMe account has also been set up specifically in Lisa’s memory.