Hundreds gather to say goodbye to Sonny Melton

Sonny Melton (Source: Family)
Sonny Melton (Source: Family)

BIG SANDY, TN (WMC) - Hundreds gathered to say goodbye to the West Tennessee nurse who died saving his wife.

Sonny Melton was one of 58 killed by a gunman at an outdoor Las Vegas music festival. A wake was held in Big Sandy on Monday.

"He was the best guy you could ever meet," Sheila Culpepper, a family friend, said.

"We're here to see Sonny in his last moments," fellow family friend Dwayne Culpepper said.

So many showed up for Sonny's wake that it had to be held at the Big Sandy High School gymnasium--the biggest venue in town.

"It just shows what kind of man he was. Everybody loved Sonny," Shelia said. "Big Sandy will never be the same."

Sonny, who was a nurse in Paris, Tennessee, was shot and killed while shielding his wife from the gunfire.

His father, James Melton, says he sadly died doing what he loves to do--helping others.

"Sonny was just a good guy, and he knew what to do. He actually had grabbed another lady and got her in front of him as he started to walk off," James said. "You don't train people for that. They just do it when they can, and he did it."

Sonny and his wife were celebrating their one-year wedding anniversary and had just built a brand new house. His uncle, Larry Waters, says it's devastating.

"Beautiful house on the lake, and it's just a shame that Sonny won't ever get to live there," Waters said.

James said it felt so good seeing so much support at his son's wake. Family, friends, and even complete strangers came together showing support for a man they're calling their hometown hero.

"This day maybe is going to begin some closure for us, and it's been a hard time getting here," James said.

Sonny's funeral is scheduled to Tuesday at 1 p.m. after a brief visitation.

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