NOVATO, Calif. - A vigil was held in Novato Tuesday night to honor 50 year old Stacee Etcheber, among the victims of the Las Vegas concert massacre.
Hundreds of people gathered at San Ramon Elementary School, where Etcheber's 10 year old son Vinnie is a student.
His older sister, Alivia, 13, attends Sinaloa Middle School. "Your mom was the fiercest woman and mom in this community any of us have ever known," said speaker Ben Kerns, a family friend and Pastor at Marin Covenant Church.
The two Etcheber children listened, alongside their father. "We pray for you, we pray for our community and we honor your mom," said Kerns, as people held candles aloft.
Stacee Etcheber was attending the Las Vegas concert with her husband and another couple.
When bullets rained down on the audience, Vincent Etcheber told his companions to run away, while he helped people who'd been shot next to them.
It was second nature for the veteran police officer. He never saw his wife alive again.
"We don't know what happened to Stacee," brother-in-law Al Etcheber told KTVU, after the vigil, "and we don't know how she got from point A to point B."
Al and several of Vincent's police colleagues rushed to Las Vegas to help him search for his wife, scouring every hospital, and finally checking the morgue.
Loved ones don't want Vincent to second-guess his actions Sunday night. "He went with his instinct and his instinct was to help people. And I don't want him living with regret at all," declared Al Etcheber, "and I guarantee his wife tried to help people too. That's just who those two were."
At the vigil, the crowd was urged to live each day with love and compassion, as a goal, not just an emotion.
"We choose love and we are here for you," everyone said in unison to the Etcheber family.
Stacee was remembered as vivacious, and capable, funny and fierce. "If Stacee were here tonight, we would hear her say, toots, I got you, and hold on, then whoop whoop!" smiled San Ramon Principal Amanda Langford.
Etcheber owned her own hair salon in Chico for many years, prior to her marriage. After relocating to Marin County, she worked at a MIll Valley salon, and for the past two years, at Ciao Bella Salon in downtown Novato.
The owner showed KTVU her work station, adorned with a few sympathy bouquets, and a photo of the children she adored.
"When we first told the kids their mom wasn't coming home, they were resoundingly tough, even through their tears," observed their uncle Al, "and it's a testament to their mom who really taught them that toughness."
As Stacee's legacy, the crowd was urged to live with love and compassion. But amid the hugs and tears, adults were grappling with the same question as Stacee's kids.
"They wanted to know, why?," admitted Etcheber "why did he shoot mommy? And we didn't have an answer."
The San Francisco Police Union has established a GoFundMe account for the benefit of the Etcheber children.