In the midst of gunfire, chaos and carnage, Sonny Melton — a nurse from Tennessee — died shielding his wife from the bullets raining down on them.
Mike Cronk, a retired teacher from Alaska, used his pickup truck as a makeshift ambulance to transport wounded concertgoers.
And Mike McGarry, a financial adviser from Philadelphia, threw himself on top of his kids as he heard hundreds of bullets ring out.
These are some of the acts of heroism that have emerged out of the bloodshed created by Stephen Craig Paddock, 64, a lone gunman firing a barrage of bullets from his hotel room down at a Las Vegas music festival.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders was on the verge of tears Monday as she recounted the heroes born out of the heartbreak.
“What these people did for each other says far more about who we are as Americans than the cowardly acts of a killer ever could,” Sanders said, fighting back tears during the daily news briefing.
Sanders placed a spotlight on Melton and McGarry, among others, including stories from witnesses who described local police officers shielding victims with their bodies or cars.
McGarry told Reuters that his first instinct was to protect his children after the bullets began flying.
“It was crazy,” he said. “I laid on top of the kids. They’re 20. I’m 53. I lived a good life.”
Jolene Bennett described how she drove a gunshot victim to safety.
“As we are driving, people are running, screaming, wanting in the car,” she told MSNBC.