Vigil held in memory of West Virginia woman killed in Las Vegas shooting

Vigil held in memory of West Virginia woman killed in Las Vegas shooting (ABC7)

A couple hundred people attended a candlelight vigil Thursday night in the West Virginia hometown of a victim in Sunday’s mass shooting in Las Vegas.

They came to celebrate the life of Denise Burditus, who lived in Martinsburg but had grown up in nearby Hedgesville. Thursday night’s vigil was held on the football field of her alma mater, Hedgesville High School.

Burditus was remembered through words, songs and prayers.

Burditus and her husband Tony, who was at the country music festival with her and survived, both grew up in Berkeley County and went to Hedgesville High.

Some of the people attending the vigil were Burditus’s classmates who graduated with her in 1985 and had remained friends ever since.

“You see all these tragedies, but then when you actually know somebody who lost their life, it really makes it hit home,” said friend April Strakal.

“We love her and we will miss her. Oh gosh, we miss her,” said Lisa Griffith, who said it’s been a week of crying one moment and smiling at happy memories the next. “It’s been up and down. But together we’ll get through this. That’s basically what we’ve been saying to each other.”

Friends say they will always remember Denise for her smile and for giving a thumbs up, which was her signature.

“She was definitely full of life,” said friend Tammy Bond. "She never ever entered a room without speaking to someone. And she was always smiling, positive, and always gave a thumbs up."

Denise’s classmates say they had originally planned to go to Las Vegas with Denise and her husband Tony to celebrate everyone turning 50, but the plans didn’t work out.

“We could have all been there,” Griffith said.

Tony Burditus was unable to attend the candlelight vigil because he was still in Las Vegas. He is expected to fly back on Friday.

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