Sanger High School graduate and Disneyland employee Jessica Milam, called a strong, quiet leader whose priority is helping others first, is among hundreds injured in the Las Vegas mass shooting.
The 23-year-old was recovering from a gunshot wound to the abdomen Tuesday in a Las Vegas hospital.
“She’s in a lot of pain, she’s been pretty quiet,” said her father, Ed Milam, on Tuesday afternoon. “We’re just as worried about Jessica’s emotional state as physical state at this point.”
A former Coalinga man and four Kern County residents, including a Fresno State graduate, were among those killed in Sunday night’s horrific event, the worst mass shooting in modern American history. They were among people with ties to the central and southern San Joaquin Valley identified as victims of the deadly mass shooting that killed at least 59 people and injured at least 527.
Never miss a local story.
Ed Milam said his daughter saw someone struck in the shoulder with a bullet before she was shot trying to flee as a second wave of bullets began to fall. A friend who attended the concert with Milam helped her make it to safety. When the girls got to the street, someone quickly loaded Milam into a pick-up truck and took her to the hospital, where she underwent surgery.
Ed Milam said his daughter was in stable condition and didn’t need more surgeries, but a blood transfusion was planned Tuesday afternoon. He said it would likely be several more days before she’s released from the hospital as doctors monitor her injuries. The gunshot damaged her liver, which was repaired.
Ronnie Scott, who taught Milam when she was a student at Sanger High, called her “one of those quiet, strong types.”
“She had such a big heart, always wanted to serve others and make sure others’ needs were taken care of before her own,” recalled the Sanger High activities director of Milam’s participation in the school’s student government leadership program.
Krista Johnson, a friend and co-worker, said Milam works assisting guests and helping operate attractions in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland. Johnson says she always looks forward to seeing Milam because “I know she will make me smile.”
“Jessica is probably the funniest person I know,” Johnson said. “Her smile brightens your day and her laugh is contagious. I know she is recovering from her surgery well.”
Priscilla Guzman, another of Milam’s colleagues at Disneyland, said Milam “would take her shirt off her back and give it to someone in need.”
“She’s an amazing and strong woman,” Guzman said, “and I can speak for my Disney family in saying we can’t wait for her to come back home.”
Milam formerly worked for the Fresno Grizzlies and Walt Disney World through the Disney College Program. She was living in Anaheim and previously attended Cal State Fullerton and Reedley College. A GoFundMe donation page was set up by one of her friends to help with Milam’s recovery.
“Thank you to everybody who has been so supportive,” Ed Milam said of the outpouring of support his family has received from people in the Valley.
Officials said four Kern County residents were killed in the shooting – Jack Beaton, Bailey Schweitzer, Victor Link and Kelsey Meadows, a Fresno State grad who was working as a substitute teacher at Taft High.
Former Coalinga resident Bo Taylor is among the missing, ABC30 reported. But Santa Barbara station KEYT reported Taylor’s family said he was killed.
Bakersfield police said one of their officers, Aaron Mundhenke, was wounded while attending the concert with other off-duty officers who were unharmed.
Sgt. Ryan Kroeker of the Bakersfield Police Department said Tuesday morning that Mundhenke, a six-year veteran of the department who was shot in the hip, had undergone surgery and is expected to make a full recovery and should be released from the hospital soon.
“He’s a good officer who cares about his community,” Kroeker said. “He always has a smile on his face. He’s a super fun guy to be around.”
KGET-TV 17 in Bakersfield reported Rachel Sheppard of Tehachapi was in critical condition from a gunshot wound.