Andrew Himmler’s "Superman" showed super strength after taking a pancake-sized bullet wound to his stomach in a drive-by shooting at Bob Baskin Park.
For the last 18 days of his life, 19-year-old Chris Luscombe remained at University Medical Center in critical condition and in pain, sometimes grimacing and muttering curse words under his breath, Himmler said.
In the end it was too much to overcome, even for a young man called "Superman" by his friends.
Luscombe, the 2007 prom king at Clark High School and the second fatality in the June 8 shooting, died at 12:51 a.m. Wednesday.
"There is only so much the human body can take," said Himmler, 19, a 2006 Clark High School graduate who played varsity football with Luscombe.
"Chris’ body took the human limit," Himmler said. "It was just a horrible, devastating shot."
Doctors did not expect Luscombe to survive, according to the arrest report of Jessie James Cole, the 21-year-old man charged in connection with the park shooting.
But family and friends hoped for more, congregating outside University Medical Center in the days after Luscombe’s hospitalization to support him.
They donned "Superman" shirts and lit candles.
They made signs, prayed and visited Luscombe in his hospital room.
They didn’t stop believing.
"He looked like he was really getting better," Himmler said.
Luscombe’s friends said they were called to the hospital early Wednesday and were told Luscombe had suffered a heart attack.
When Himmler arrived, he saw dozens of family members and friends embracing and crying. That’s when he knew his friend had died.
"God wanted an angel," said 18-year-old Natalie Eddy, a friend of Luscombe who graduated from Clark this month. "He wouldn’t take a bad person. He had to take the biggest, strongest and nicest."
The official cause of death is a gunshot wound to the torso, according to the Clark County coroner’s office.
Cole was charged with attempted murder with a deadly weapon in connection with Luscombe’s shooting. Clark County District Attorney David Roger would not speculate on the likelihood that Cole now would be charged with Luscombe’s death.
"Once we review the autopsy, we’ll make a decision about whether to add the additional murder charge," Roger said.
Cole already faces one charge of murder for the death of 18-year-old David Miramontes, who was sitting in the back seat of a Volkswagen Jetta when he was shot in the head in the drive-by shooting. The shooting happened about 3 a.m at the Las Vegas park, on Oakey Boulevard near Rancho Drive.
Police said Luscombe had been at the park with friends and other young people when Cole drove up and fired several shots out of the car window.
The bullet that hit Luscombe went into his torso and "ping-ponged" in his body before exiting, his grandfather Thomas Passante said last week.
It’s still unclear whether Luscombe and Miramontes, who did not know each other, were intentionally targeted. Both were at a party at a southwest valley house earlier in the night, where Cole fired several shots into the air after fights broke out, police said.
Luscombe was taken to University Medical Center, where he underwent seven surgeries, his friends said, but he never emerged from critical condition.
Himmler and Eddy visited every day.
During most of Himmler’s bedside visits, Luscombe was heavily sedated.
Himmler tried to remain positive during each 15-minute visit he was allowed with his friend.
He told Luscombe that they soon would be playing the video game "Madden NFL Football" together.
"Superman" was a fighter, his family said, someone who never gave up.
"He’s so damn good. That’s why he’s still fighting," Passante, 75, said last week.
Friends said Luscombe, who topped 6 feet and weighed 225 pounds, was driven and had NFL dreams. He was a student at the College of Southern Nevada.
Eddy said the "Superman" nickname was just the tip of the iceberg in describing what kind of person Luscombe was. She said she will remember him as someone who was full of life, even as he struggled to recover.
That vibrancy was evident in one of the last visits Eddy made to Luscombe.
"When I was walking out, he reached his hand up for me to walk back in," Eddy said, fighting back tears. "I asked him what he wanted, and he puckered his lips."
Eddy left him with a kiss on his right cheek.
Contact reporter Lawrence Mower at email@example.com or 702-383-0440.