58°F
weather icon Heavy Rain

59th Las Vegas shooting victim was a ‘super mom,’ daughter says

Updated November 26, 2019 - 12:40 pm

Even after a bullet left her paralyzed below the neck, Kim Gervais showed “superhuman strength,” her daughter said.

On the night of Oct. 1, 2017, one of more than a thousand bullets fired during the Route 91 Harvest festival shooting lodged itself in Gervais’ C7 vertebra in her neck, and shrapnel scattered from shoulder to shoulder. The bullet left her a quadriplegic, according to her oldest daughter, Amber Manka.

Yet she survived two more years — and even made it out alive after two near-death instances during a hospital stay in June.

Gervais, of Mira Loma, California, died Friday at Redlands Community Hospital in Redlands, California. She was 57.

The coroner’s division of the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department had not determined Gervais’ cause and manner of death as of Tuesday, but if investigators find she died from her spinal injuries, Gervais would be the 59th victim of the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.

“It’s easy to say the last two years were extremely hard for everyone, yet they were also a blessing filled with last talks and precious time,” Manka told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Tuesday in a text message conversation.

Gervais had always been a “fun mom,” Manka said. She was an avid country music concertgoer who spent her weekends riding quads in the California desert.

Kim Gervais drives her quad in 1985. She often spent weekends racing quads in the California de ...
Kim Gervais drives her quad in 1985. She often spent weekends racing quads in the California desert before she was paralyzed during the Oct. 1, 2017, mass shooting in Las Vegas. Gervais died more than two years later, on Nov. 15, 2019, in California. (Amber Manka)

In 2017, she attended Route 91, a three-day festival on the Strip across the street from Mandalay Bay. She was with two friends, Dana Smith and Pati Mestas, one of the original 58 victims.

‘Some miracle’

The last of the victims was pronounced dead Oct. 3, 2017, and the official death toll has not been increased since.

After the shooting, Manka said, her mother spent roughly two weeks hospitalized in Las Vegas before she was transferred to a spinal rehabilitation facility in Loma Linda, California.

“She lost her zest for life and was in a lot of pain,” she said.

Still, Manka considered her mom “superhuman.”

Even long before the shooting, Manka said, Gervais’ strength stood out.

“She didn’t have an easy upbringing and helped raised her siblings,” she said. And after her husband, George, died in 2003, she was left to run their family company and raise Manka and her younger sister, Ale’, on her own.

During a hospital stay in June, her heart stopped twice, according to Manka.

“The second time, they performed CPR for 30 minutes, and we were told she was brain dead,” she said. “We were asked to make choices no child ever wants to be asked.”

Manka and her sister kept their mom on life support.

The next morning, “by some miracle and by her superhuman strength,” Manka said, Gervais woke up with little or no brain damage.

Gervais spent the next five months in and out of hospitals and acute facilities in Southern California until her death last week.

But Manka doesn’t want the shooting to define her mom, who she said was a gifted painter and cook.

“She had many amazing qualities,” she said. “The ability to make friends anywhere. She was funny. Her laugh was contagious. Her smile and dimples would light up the room. She would give the shirt off her back to anyone in need.”

Gervais leaves behind two daughters, five grandchildren and three siblings, as well as her mother-in-law, Betty, who raised her as her own.

Manka said her mom will be laid to rest during a private celebration of life in California.

Contact Rio Lacanlale at rlacanlale@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0381. Follow @riolacanlale on Twitter.

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Crime Videos
Metro briefing on officer-involved shooting.
Las Vegas police released body camera footage of an officer-involved shooting Sunday in south Las Vegas. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police handcuff inattentive driver - VIDEO
A motorist who apparently ignored or did not see police vehicles struck a Las Vegas police vehicle while officers were working at the scene of a rollover crash on Washington Avenue near H Street. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Victim forced to testify about the day he was shot
Johnny Brooks sits on the witness stand in shackles, forced to testify about the day he was shot in an attack that left two people dead.
Video shows man stealing money gifts from Las Vegas wedding - VIDEO
A man sneaked into a wedding Saturday in the western Las Vegas Valley and stole most of the monetary gifts, according to the groom’s sister. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Family of sucker punch victim speak at parole hearing - VIDEO
Family and friends of Luis Campos, the man who was killed by James Beach in Las Vegas with a single punch in 2017, speak out at a parole hearing for Beach on Feb. 10, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Jury spares life of man who fatally shot liquor store clerk - VIDEO
A Las Vegas man must spend the rest of his life in prison for fatally shooting a 24-year-old liquor store clerk during a robbery, jurors decided Friday. (Michael Quine, Nathan Asselin, James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Police briefing about Excalibur fire
Las Vegas police say a sexual assault and hotel fire Wednesday morning at the Excalibur are connected. (Alexis Egeland/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Guilt lingered for coworker of of slain Lee's Liquor clerk
For more than three years since Matthew Christensen was slain in the back room of a southwest valley Lee’s Discount Liquor store, as the killer awaited trial, his coworker has been haunted by the memory of that night.
Teens burglarize Summerlin home
Dr. Paul Wilkes’ Summerlin home was robbed while his realtor gave a group a tour during an open house on Sunday. The crime was captured on his home surveillance system.
Fatal Las Vegas shooting, stabbing at Super Bowl party may be related - VIDEO
Las Vegas police are investigating a fatal shooting and a Super Bowl party stabbing that may be related in the east valley. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review Journal)
Prosecutors to rest in Lee’s Discount Liquor death penalty trial - VIDEO
Investigators quickly ruled out one suspect in the 2016 shooting of a Las Vegas liquor store clerk in part because the gunman walked with a limp, a homicide detective testified Friday. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas ready to enforce homeless camping ban - VIDEO
Las Vegas police will begin enforcing a controversial camping ban on city streets on Saturday, but officials say they expect to impose the penalties available under the new ordinance only in rare instances. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Man killed in hit-and-run in east Las Vegas, police say - VIDEO
Police are investigating after a body was found in the middle of an east Las Vegas intersection Wednesday night in an apparent hit-and-run crash. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Death penalty trial Lee's Discount Liquor robbery and killing
Day one of the death penalty trial of Ray Charles “Ray Ray” Brown, 26, who is accused of being the gunman in the April 2016 robbery and killing of a Lee's Discount Liquor store clerk.
Barricade situation in central Las Vegas - VIDEO
Las Vegas police and SWAT are at the scene of a barricade in a neighborhood near Washington Avenue and Valley View Boulevard, Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Suspect in mall shooting posts bail - VIDEO
Christopher Valenzuela-Olivas, ,18, charged with shooting three people at the Fashion Show mall, is expected to be released Monday, Jan. 27, after posting bail over the weekend. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal) Vegas88s
Las Vegas jury convicts man in woman’s 2018 rape, murder
On Friday a Las Vegas jury convicted 52-year-old Charles Talley Jr. of first-degree murder and sexual assault in the rape and killing of Kelly Deanne Kazoon inside an east valley apartment.
Lockdown lifted at Desert Pines High School - VIDEO
Desert Pines High School’s lockdown has been lifted after an active shooter was near campus. No one has been reported injured on Friday, Jan. 24, 2020 in Las Vegas. (Elizabeth Brumley/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shooting at Las Vegas Fashion Show mall injures 3 - VIDEO
Three people were injured Tuesday night, Jan. 21, 2020, in a shooting at Fashion Show mall. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
North Las Vegas resident reacts to dead baby found in dumpster - VIDEO
North Las Vegas resident Dagoberto Navarro talks about police finding a dead baby in a dumpster. (David Guzman/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Elderly woman robbed in Fremont elevator - VIDEO
An elderly woman was robbed in an elevator on the 300 block of Fremont Street. Video courtesy of Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department. (James Schaeffer/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police give details on officer-involved shooting - VIDEO
Las Vegas police identified the officer and show body cam video of the officer who discharged his weapon at a suspect accused of shooting his mother at a credit union, Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. (Renee Summerout/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bail set at $300K for suspect in Las Vegas credit union shooting
William Cass Jackson who authorities said shot his mother three times before firing at police at a credit union in southwest Las Vegas was ordered held on $300,000 bail on Thursday.
Police update on shooting at Las Vegas credit union - VIDEO
Las Vegas police Capt. Nichole Splinter gives an update of officer-involved shooting at Navy Federal Credit Union, 6975 Spring Mountain Road, near Rainbow Boulevard, on Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Las Vegas police investigate officer-involved shooting - VIDEO
Las Vegas police brief the media on an officer-involved shooting in the 6900 block of Spring Mountain, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Witnesses discuss officer-involved shooting in Las Vegas - VIDEO
Witnesses discuss what they saw during a shooting involving Las Vegas police on Spring Mountain Road near Rainbow Boulevard, Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (Glen Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Store clerk shoots assailant after stabbing - VIDEO
North Las Vegas police say a 7-Eleven store clerk, who was stabbed by an attacker, pulled out a firearm and shot the individual in the store's parking lot early Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2020. (Glenn Puit/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
The car that Tupac was shot in is for sale - VIDEO
The vehicle that legendary rapper Tupac Shakur was riding in when he was shot after a boxing match in Las Vegas is up for auction. The black 1996 BMW 7 Series is listed by Celebrity Cars Las Vegas for $1.75 million. (Angus Kelly/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Nye County deputy dragged by Las Vegas man driving stolen vehicle - VIDEO
A Las Vegas man was taken into custody after dragging a Nye County officer while in a stolen vehicle, and then leading police in a pursuit. (Nye County Sheriff's Office)
Margaret Rudin's first interview after release from prison
Convicted killer Margaret Rudin maintains her innocence in her first interview after spending 20 years in a Las Vegas prison for the murder of her husband, Ron Rudin.
Convicted killer Margaret Rudin is released from prison - VIDEO
Greg Mullanax, attorney for Margaret Rudin, makes a statement to the press after Rudin's release from prison. She served 20 years for killing her husband. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Women accused of high-heel attack at Cosmopolitan - VIDEO
Prosecutors agreed to drop felony charges Thursday against four Utah sisters accused of storming into a penthouse suite at The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas and attacking one woman’s estranged husband and his girlfriend with fists and high-heeled shoes. (James Schaeffer / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Bayzle Morgan Sentenced To 44 Years To Life - Video
A man with neo-Nazi tattoos on his face who pleaded guilty to killing a 75-year-old woman in her Las Vegas home in 2013 was sentenced Thursday to at least 44 years behind bars.
Body found in vacant lot in Las Vegas ruled a homicide - VIDEO
Las Vegas police homicide detectives investigate what is described as a suspicious death in northeast Las Vegas, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. (Michael Quine/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
$50K bail set for suspect in attack on girlfriend seen on video - Video
A judge set bail at $50,000 on Friday for a man accused of beating and kidnapping his girlfriend in an act caught on a home surveillance video. Darnell Rodgers, 23, was arrested early Thursday morning, hours after the Metropolitan Police Department released the video in which a woman was seen crying while she ran to a house screaming for help near Warm Springs Road and the 215 Beltway.
THE LATEST