LAS VEGAS, Nevada — The grieving husband of Martinsburg resident, Las Vegas shooting victim, Denise Burditus, is speaking out for one main reason.
“I just want the world to know who she is,” Tony Burditus said during an appearance Wednesday on MetroNews “Talkline.” “She always had a smile and I have to say if anybody in Berkeley County didn’t know her they probably would at some point because she was probably going to stop you and talk to you in the grocery store, or anywhere you were at.”
Denise Burditus was one of the 59 victims in the deadliest mass shooting in United States history. She died in her husband’s arms as they tried to run to safety after the shots rang out above them during the Route 91 Harvest Festival Sunday night.
Tony and Denise were high school sweethearts at Hedgesville High School. He joined the military and they got married. The 32-year marriage got stronger every day, Tony said Wednesday.
His military career would lead him to special forces and that meant lots of moving for the family and lots of time away from home for Tony. He said Denise held things down and led the way in raising their children, Josh and Mallory.
“Through all of that travel Denise was the backbone and continued to be the backbone of our family. She held us together. She was a remarkably strong woman,” Burditus said. “Parts of the year I’d be gone 70 percent of the year or the complete year and she was the one who was there handling everything and she always did it well.”
After retirement, Tony and Denise decided West Virginia was the only place they wanted to be. She began taking classes at Blue Ridge Community and Technical College where she began her second year just a few weeks ago. They spent this past summer traveling a lot with their four grandchildren. Gmaw is what her grand children called her, Burditus said.
“If they needed anything Gmaw would be there for them,” he said.
When shots rang out Sunday night during the Jason Aldean concert, Tony said Denise asked him if they were gunshots. He said at first he thought they were fireworks but quickly realized that wasn’t the case.
“When the second burst started I grabbed her and said we needed to get out of there,” he recalled. “We were just not aware of where the gunfire was coming from. We started across and tried to get away from it and she was fatally struck,” Burditus said.
When asked by MetroNews “Talkline” Host Hoppy Kercheval if he could have done anything to help his wife–
“I comforted her. There was not the ability to help her at that point,” he said.
Burditus plans to stay in Las Vegas until his wife’s body is released and returned to West Virginia. A prayer vigil is scheduled for Thursday night at Hedgesville High School.
Burditus said he wants the memory of his wife to live on.
“Get online, if you haven’t already, and find some photos of her and see her beautiful smile,” he said.
Burditus said he’s been overwhelmed with the hundreds of supportive comments posted online by total strangers for himself and his family. He said it’s help sustain him during this difficult time.