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The Big Life Of John Phippen, Who Died In Las Vegas

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

The shooter in Sunday night's massacre had a girlfriend. The Associated Press says Marilou Danley has now returned to the United States from the Philippines. Police, as you can imagine, have many questions for her about the gunman who killed at least 58 people Sunday night. One of them was John Phippen. Brian Mann of North Country Public Radio, am I pronouncing his name correctly, John Phippen?

BRIAN MANN, BYLINE: That's right, John Phippen, a transplant from New York to California and - yeah, a 56-year-old, a handsome guy, gray hair and a mustache. He was at this music festival, Steve, with his son, Travis, an emergency medical technician. They were dancing when one of the bullets struck John in the lower back.

INSKEEP: One of the bullets strikes him. His son is there and is an EMT and must have tried to save his - save his life.

MANN: Yeah. Travis Phippen was also shot in the arm, but he helped get his dad out of the kill zone, got him into a car, and this part is just heart-wrenching. Travis tried to staunch his father's wound. They actually made it to the hospital, but John Phippen died from his wounds, and by all accounts, Travis and his dad were really close, good friends.

INSKEEP: And how's Travis doing? You said he was wounded.

MANN: Yeah, that's right. The son, Travis Phippen, is expected to recover.

INSKEEP: OK. So what else do we know about the father, John Phippen?

MANN: Well, he ran a home repair and remodeling company in Valencia, Calif., but he really seems to have just been a family man. He had six kids - his youngest daughter just 14 years old. His friend Leah created a fundraising page for the family on the GoFundMe site, and she talks about him being a good guy, someone who liked to go camping, liked cold beer, was always helping people. One of his hobbies was riding dune buggies in the desert and also listening to country music.

INSKEEP: That's you'd end up at this festival, I suppose.

MANN: Yeah, that's right. On his Facebook page, John Phippen posted a song by Sam Hunt called "Make You Miss Me," and his friend Leah said it was one of his favorites. They used to sing it together.

INSKEEP: Let's give a listen.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "MAKE YOU MISS ME")

SAM HUNT: (Singing) When your phone rings after midnight and you're thinking maybe it's me, I'm going to make you miss me.

MANN: That's country music singer Sam Hunt there. He was a favorite of John Phippen, this guy who lived a really big life with his kids and his friends.

INSKEEP: John Phippen was his name, one of those who died this week in the Las Vegas shooting, and we heard about him from reporter Brian Mann. Brian, thanks for coming by.

MANN: Thanks, Steve. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.