“We are safe.”
In a short Facebook post at 10:39 p.m. on Oct. 1, less than an hour after bullets rained on thousands of Las Vegas concertgoers, Lorraine Carver assured loved ones that she and her husband, Dennis, managed to escape unscathed.
Lorraine had been documenting their weekend at the Route 91 Harvest festival, posting pictures of her and Dennis with his arms around her. They had been singing along with country singer Jason Aldean on the last day of the festival when the shots began.
Dennis Carver shielded his wife from bullets as they ran to safety, Lorraine said on Facebook four days later.
“I have the most amazing husband,” she wrote, sharing a picture of a bunch of red roses he’d just sent her.
But their respite was short lived.
A little more than two weeks after the couple narrowly escaped the deadliest mass shooting in the country’s recent history, they died in a fiery crash near their Southern California home in Murrieta.
Dennis Carver was trying to round a curve when the 2010 Mercedes-Benz sedan he was driving veered off the roadway and into a grassy area, said Officer William Strom, a traffic officer for the California Highway Patrol. The car crashed into a metal intercom speaker. Its back struck a brick column that’s part of a fence; the impact ripped the car’s rear axle and ruptured the gas tank, Strom said. The car struck another brick column, rolled onto its side and caught fire.
Strom said the couple died immediately.
An investigation is ongoing, but Strom said police do not suspect foul play. It also remains unclear whether speed was a factor in the crash.
The crash happened just before 11 p.m. on Oct. 16. The fire was contained an hour later, according to the Riverside County Fire Department.
The couple left behind two daughters, ages 20 and 16. Aside from their Southern California home, they also lived part-time in Henderson, Nev., just outside of Las Vegas.
The night of the crash, their younger daughter, Madison Carver, ran down the street from their Murrieta home after hearing a loud bang outside her window, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported. She found her parents’ car engulfed in flames just a half a mile away.
Their older daughter, Brooke Carver, did not respond to an interview request from The Washington Post, but she told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that her parents had been “living in the moment” since surviving the Las Vegas massacre.
Three days after the shooting, she said her father asked her about what kind of flowers to give her mother.
“He just wanted to give my mom a reason to smile after the shooting,” Carver said. “I swear they were more in love in those two weeks than the last 20 years.”
Although they had lost both their parents, Brooke Carver said she and her sister are thankful that they didn’t die in the shooting — and that they had two more weeks with them.
“We’ve been given little pieces of them that we would’ve never gotten if the shooting hadn’t happened right before they died,” she told the Review-Journal.
Fifty-eight people were killed and hundreds were injured after Stephen Paddock opened fire from the window of his 32nd-floor hotel suite inside the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino. Investigators have been unable to explain why Paddock carried out the rampage before turning a gun on himself.
Dennis and Lorraine Carver had been together for 22 years, but did not get married until 2010 at a small ceremony at a chapel on the Las Vegas Strip. Their daughters were the only witnesses.
Mark Berman contributed to this report.