Neighbor talks about Kurt Von Tillow, the Cameron Park man who died in Las Vegas shooting
UPDATE: Friends have set up GoFundMe pages for Kurt Von Tillow, who was killed in the Las Vegas shooting rampage, and his niece, Araiana Hyatt, who was critically injured. Hyatt’s campaign – https://www.gofundme.com/please-help-support-araina-hyatt – had raised more than $12,000 in its first day. Von Tillow’s – https://www.gofundme.com/kurt-vontillow – had raised more than $7,000.
Friends of Kurt Von Tillow continued to bring flowers and other mementos Tuesday to a memorial on the backyard fence of his home on the Cameron Park Country Club golf course.
The Cameron Park man was one of the 59 people killed Sunday night in the mass shooting in Las Vegas.
A 2007 UC Davis graduate, Michelle Vo, was also among those who died, according to Chancellor Gary S. May. Vo grew up in San Jose and was living in the Los Angeles area.
The gunman, Stephen Paddock, a 64-year-old high-stakes gambler and retired accountant, killed himself as authorities stormed his hotel room at Mandalay Bay. He had 23 guns – some with scopes – in the room where he had been staying since Thursday. He knocked out two windows at the Mandalay Bay hotel to create sniper’s perches he used to rain bullets on the crowd of 22,000 some 500 yards away.
According to KCRA, Von Tillow’s sister and niece were hospitalized Monday after the shooting. Both are expected to survive.
Von Tillow’s wife, daughter and son-in-law, who were also with him, managed to escape unharmed, the station reported.
On Monday, a procession of golf carts drove through the course in remembrance of Von Tillow, who loved golf.
“He was just a fun, fun guy and a really friendly man,” said Iain Marshall, a longtime friend who along with his wife, Sally, placed flowers at the memorial on Tuesday.
The Marshalls took Von Tillow and his wife on golfing trips to Scotland and Ireland, including to the hallowed St. Andrews course.
“He was was a big beer drinker,” Marshall said. “We stopped at every pub in England and Ireland, where there’s a pub on every corner.”
Brent Hutchings of Cameron Park, who counted Von Tillow among his best friends, said the two had spent the weekend of Sept. 22 together playing golf against another duo in Graeagle. On the way back, Hutchings said, Von Tillow had talked about his family’s upcoming reunion weekend in Las Vegas.
Von Tillow’s daughter and son-in-law flew in from Connecticut for the country music concert as they had done the previous two or three years, Hutchings said. He said Von Tillow’s son would have normally joined the family, but had just moved to Ohio for a new job.
The owner of Von Tillow Trucking in Cameron Park, Kurt would take delivery routes out to Connecticut to see his family three to four times per year, Hutchings said. When he wasn’t able to make it out, he used FaceTime to watch his grandchildren’s soccer games.
“I never, ever, ever saw him in a bad mood,” Hutchings said. “Everyone loved him. He was the life of the party and he laughed at everything with this really distinctive boisterous laugh.”
Von Tillow’s love of beer was highlighted in the memorial with dozens of cans of Coors Light, his favorite. His love of golf and the United States were also remembered with hats and flags.
“He was the most friendly and outgoing guy you could ever meet,” said neighbor Jan Westerlin. “It’s a sad day for the neighborhood. It’s a sad day for everyone. This just hit a little close to home.”
Mark Carson, Von Tillow’s brother-in-law, said neither he nor other family members would comment.
“We’re just concentrating on getting him home,” he said.
The Mercury News reported that Vo, a 2003 graduate of San Jose’s Independence High School, was attending her first country music concert. She was living in the Los Angeles area, where she was employed as a life insurance agent and also was a Red Cross volunteer.
“My deepest sympathies go to all of the victims and their families in this senseless tragedy,” UC Davis Chancellor May said Tuesday in a statement. “My heart is especially heavy as this horrific incident claimed a member of the Aggie family. Michelle Vo, a 2007 graduate, earned a communication degree and was in the midst of a financial services career with New York Life Insurance Co., where she was recognized for her ambition and work ethic. My prayers go to Michelle and her family as we mourn her.”