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Security guard, 21, killed at Vegas concert mourned as hero
Chantel Sosa cries at the graveside during a funeral for her brother Erick Silva, Thursday, Oct. 12, 2017, in Las Vegas. Silva was working as a security guard when he was killed during a mass shooting Oct. 1, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo - John Locher)
By SALLY HO
From Associated Press
October 12, 2017 8:36 PM EST

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Dozens of fellow "yellow shirt" security guards were among the hundreds of people mourning a man who died helping others escape the deadly Las Vegas concert shooting.

At the funeral Thursday morning for Erick Silva, 21, loved ones and dignitaries hailed him as a hero for helping people climb over a barricade at an outdoor country music festival as the gunman perched high in a casino-hotel tower unleashed more than 1,000 bullets into the crowd.

His mother, Angelica Cervantes, was emotional and cried at times, heaving into the embrace of her husband. She said Silva was great a son, a tender brother and well-liked by many. She's proud of him and his generosity, whether it was saving others from the massacre or just buying fellow colleagues lunch in the office.

"I'm sure if he could save more lives, he would have," Cervantes said in Spanish.

Silva was a Contemporary Services Corporation security guard working the Route 91 Harvest Festival when he was shot in the head on October 1. He was among the 58 people killed in the massacre. Hundreds of others were wounded.

"Without him and people like him, Las Vegas could not be the entertainment capital of the world," said Clark County Commissioner Steve Sisolak.

The funeral service included songs in Spanish with tearful mourners clutching flowers and the security guards in uniform standing in formation in the aisles. One fellow guard came on crutches after his own injuries from the shooting.

Photos of Silva also appeared on screens during the funeral, alternating between him posing as a toddler in a graduation cap and gown, and him at work standing watch at various events — a reminder that Silva died just as he was coming into his own as a man.

"He could have run but he didn't," Gregorio De La Rosa, his stepfather, said in Spanish. "In a hard moment, he gave up his life. We're very proud."

Gina Argento, Silva's boss who was like a second mother to him, said in the packed chapel that Silva loved his family immensely. He was driven by duty and lived at home to help support his mother.

"You have to watch over your mom and your brother and your family," Argento said in tears. "And your CSC family. You need to go to the events."

Argento said that Silva took pride in his work, especially his ability to spot fake wristbands at the major events that he worked at over the last three years. He collected them to show off his "x-ray vision" to his co-workers.

Silva was also on his way to a promotion within the company, and was so excited when he heard about it four days before the shooting, that he immediately told his mother. Silva was buried in a blue supervisor's uniform.

"We counted on him and he didn't let us down," Argento said.

___

Follow Sally Ho at https://twitter.com/_sallyho .

___

For complete coverage of the Las Vegas shooting, click here: https://apnews.com/tag/LasVegasmassshooting.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.