A few hours before the shooting, Lisa Patterson called her husband to tell him what a great time she was having with her girlfriends — one of the rare weekends she was not coaching one of her kids’ softball teams or volunteering at a school or church event.
Her husband, Bob Patterson, told his wife, a country music lover, to enjoy herself and stay for the last band, assuring her he could get their kids off to school the next morning.
It was the last time Bob Patterson spoke to his wife. After news broke of the shooting spree, he spent the night calling hospitals trying to find her. By 6 a.m. Monday, he and his 16-year-old son, Robert, jumped in the car and drove three hours from their Los Angeles suburb to Las Vegas to find her. His 19-year-old daughter, Amber, drove over from Arizona.
They spent 10 hours searching. Late Monday, Bob Patterson was approached by an official at the Las Vegas convention center, where the coroner’s office set up operations to have more space where families could come to identify those who died.
“My children who had been waiting 100 feet outside the room, knew when I came back out that she had died by the look on my face,” he said. “My oldest daughter instantly broke down and fell on the ground crying.”
Patterson was given his wife’s blood-stained purse, her cell phone and wrist band she wore to get into festival, but little information.
“I have not been told yet how she died,” said Patterson on Wednesday as he planned a funeral for his 46-year-old wife in their home town of Lomita next Friday at their Catholic church.
After he and his children headed home to Lomita, he told his 8-year-old daughter, Brooke, that “mommy passed away.”
He said since she is so young, she seems to be taking it the best out of all of them.
Bob Patterson met his wife when she was 18 and immediately was taken by her beauty, he said. They dated for seven years and were married for 21 years. They opened a hardware flooring store together. They were always together, he said, whether it was running their business, helping at their church, volunteering at school or coaching the many sports their kids did.
“My wife loved life, loved helping and there is nothing she would not do to help someone,” he said.
Bob Patterson said he would get upset whenever there was a mass shooting in recent years from the one at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut to the night club in Orlando, and would think about the victims’ families.
That is why he said he is sharing his own pain, with the hope that it will help stop such tragedies from happening to another family.