LAS VEGAS – The mother of Las Vegas Metropolitan police Officer Charleston Hartfield died of a heart attack just two days after her son’s funeral, Fox 5 Vegas reported. Yet family members are simply saying she died of a “broken heart.”
Sheryl Stiles suffered a heart attack and fell down an escalator, the report said. A family member said she was on her way back to her hotel room following the memorial service.
Her son was among the 58 people killed Oct. 1 in the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
He was buried Friday following private graveside services. His burial came after a funeral that drew more than 2,000 family members, friends and police and military officers, with honors that included a motorcade down the Las Vegas Strip.
Mother Dies of a “Broken Heart”
Afterward the mourning for her son continued. According to reports, Stiles not only suffered the heart attack, but a brain injury in the fall. She was reportedly placed on life support and died two days later from pulmonary arrest and acute cardio infraction.
“Just devastated by this,” Stiles’ cousin Cecil Ralston said. “It’s unexpected.”
“I was sitting up in the room crying,” Lewis Stiles, Sheryl Stiles’ brother said. “We came to bury my nephew and then the next thing we know, I have to bury my sister.”
Lewis Stiles said he came to Las Vegas from Louisville to support his sister Sheryl Stiles for a somber occasion, attending the funeral of her son Charleston Hartfield.
“It was important because it was my sister’s son,” Lewis said. “We has a lot of family from Louisville that came.”
Lewis stayed with his cousin Cecil Ralston and everyone else stayed at a nearby hotel. The funeral was Friday, which they said was a beautiful service, but afterward, the mourning became twofold.
“She was on the escalator and she had a heart attack,” said Ralston. “She fell and sustained brain injuries.”
Cecil Ralston said the police chaplain told him that she wanted to be with Charleston and that she “wanted to die.”
A year before his death, Hartfield began a computer file detailing the instructions for his funeral.
“If you’re reading this, then I’ve been called home,” Hartfield’s note read. The file was found by his wife, Veronica, following his death.
“Nothing I type will make this any easier, so I will get to the facts. My largest request: Please do not allow anyone to wear black. Black is totally depressing and I don’t want anyone expressing their sorrow over my passing,” Hartfield’s instructions read.
Moreover, Hartfield requested songs by Nina Simone and Johnny Cash be played during his funeral.
“I would like for everyone to enjoy themselves. And remember me for who I was. The truth only. None of that stuff about how great I was. Only real stories,” the officer wrote.
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Sheryl Stiles Was a Mother Who Raised a Fine Son
Clark County Sheriff Joe Lombardo called Hartfield, an 11-year police veteran, a “remarkable officer” killed by “an unremarkable person.”
“He gave up his life for this country,” a relative told the Daily News after the massacre. “Just to be taken out like this. You don’t understand. He’s got two little babies.”
Hartfield posted a photo of a Route 91 Harvest banner to Facebook prior to the event. Country singer Jason Aldean was performing when a gunman opened fire at the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino, killing at least 58 people and wounding more than 500 others. The shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, later killed himself.
In addition to being a police officer and military veteran, Hartfield coached a youth football team, friend Troy Rhett told the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
“Coach Hartfield touched many lives both on and off the field,” Henderson Cowboys, a youth football organization, posted on its Facebook page. “He was a great man who we all lost way too early. Players and alumni, Coach Chucky would want you to keep to the plan and keep moving forward.”
Rhett knew Hartfield for almost eight years. He told the paper he was texting with him the night before the mayhem and hoped he would hear back.
“I figured he was probably busy helping others,” Rhett told the newspaper. “I don’t know a better man than Charles. They say it’s always the good ones we lose early. Our hearts have just been very heavy since hearing the news.”
Stan King, another of Hartfield’s friends, described the officer as “the most true-blue American guy” he’s ever met.
Hartfield had also authored “Memoirs of a Public Servant” in which he documents his experiences of serving his community as a police officer in Las Vegas.
Returning to Louisville
“My sister was very outgoing,” Lewis said. “She was a lively person who had a lot of good friends that enjoyed her company.”
So the family of this fallen hero has suffered another tragedy. And now they need to arrange to have his mother’s remains cremated returned to Louisville where the rest of Stile’s family is located.
(Photo: Screenshot Fox 5 Vegas)