MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Steve Berger was born in the Milwaukee area, but he spent his adult life in Minnesota.
On Sunday night, he was one of 59 people killed when a gunman rained bullets down on country music fans who were enjoying a concert on the Las Vegas Strip.
When news of the mass shooting broke, the Berger family was watching.
Steve’s sister, Christine Berger Moore, said she couldn’t sleep that night.
“When I saw it roll across my screen on my phone, I thought, ‘Oh, at least he’s at home,'” she said.
But her 6-foot-6 little brother had stayed an extra night in Las Vegas, and he wasn’t answering his phone.
“That wait period was hell,” she said.
After going from hospital to hospital, Steve’s girlfriend finally got the answer no one wanted.
Steve had been shot, Steve was gone.
“It’s a tragedy,” Moore said. “It’s a tragedy…specifically for his children or for anybody who knew him.”
After playing basketball at St. Olaf, Steve had made a life in Minnesota.
After his ex-wife suffered a stroke, his three children were with him at his Shorewood house fulltime.
“He was the greatest father for his three kids that you’d ever want,” said his father, Richard Berger.
He said his son was able get his kids to school in the morning, off to soccer practice in the evening and run a successful financial planning business during the day.
Now, the Berger family, whose tradition of spending the Badgers game together, will have a gaping 6-foot-6 void.
“It’s a waste, just a waste,” Richard Berger said. “He had so much to live for, so much to offer.”
Steve’s parents and sister say their first priority is figuring out what’s next for Steve’s beloved kids, who are ages 8, 12 and 15.
The family is waiting for Steve’s body to be released, then they plan to have a memorial in the Twin Cities and another in Milwaukee.
A memorial fund has been set up to help them now and support their future education. Click here to contribute.