Las Vegas Shooting Victim Kim Gervais Dies
The 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting has claimed its 59th victim. Kim Gervais, who was shot during the Oct. 1, 2017 tragedy and paralyzed, died on Friday (Nov. 15).
Gervais' sister, Dena Sarvela, confirmed Gervais' death to KPTV out of Beaverton, Ore. The 58-year-old had gone to the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival with two friends, identified in a 2017 New York Times piece about Gervais as Dana Smith and Pati Mestas. Smith escaped safely, Mestas died, and Gervais was paralyzed from the neck down in the shooting.
“She hurt. Even though she was paralyzed from the neck up, she could feel all the pain,” Sarvela says. “There was scrap metal still in her because [the shooter] used exploding bullets.”
A 2017 story from Fox 12 Oregon mentions that Gervais was helped that night by a couple who kept her safe from further harm after she was struck and transported her to a hospital. According to Sarvela, Gervais spent nearly a year away from home, because she was unable to be transported back home. "That was rough," Sarvela admits.
“She lost her zest for life because of it, because of the shooting, because of her injuries that she sustained," Sarvela adds of her sister. "It was hard to be that same person, that we all know and love.”
Adds Sarvela, “When I saw her [after the shooting], you could just tell. She was done." Gervais' heart stopped on Friday.
“She is, was, she still is ... she’ll never leave my heart, ever,” Sarvela says.
According to her sister, Gervais also leaves behind a brother, two daughters and grandchildren; the 2017 New York Times story also mentions her mother. Gervais' husband died a number of years ago; after his death, she managed their small business, which maintained trash compactors per the Times, on her own.
“She was ready to retire. Her and I spoke the night before she went to the concert. She was going to sell the business, she was ready to just go abroad and enjoy life, like she should have, and it was snatched from her," Sarvela says. "She worked her life, and butt off for -- just to go enjoy, you know, and she doesn’t get that, she doesn’t get that chance."
Adds Sarvela, "I also know she was missing her husband very, very much, and that’s what gives me hope -- that she’s with him right now. Gives me a lot of hope, and I know they are."
Two memorials will be held in Gervais' honor: one at her home in Los Angeles, Calif., and another in Kansas City, where she grew up. Her siblings plan to take her ashes on a road trip across the United States, like the ones they used to take as children.
Fifty-eight other people died on the night of the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival shooting and in the days immediately following the tragedy; more than 800 others were injured as well. The event remains the deadliest non-war mass shooting in U.S. history.
In August of 2018, the FBI closed its investigation into the tragedy without uncovering a motive. In early September, it was announced that the festival grounds will be turned into, among other things, a community center, and in early October, MGM Resorts International agreed to pay between $735 million and $800 million to settle lawsuits related to the shooting.
Remembering the Victims of the 2017 Route 91 Harvest Festival Shooting