Excited, angry and manic.

The haunting words were part of a message that Chris Roybal wrote on Facebook that's now set atop a page designed to remember him. Roybal wrote the post less than three months before a sniper fatally shot the Colorado Springs resident and 58 others late Sunday night in Las Vegas. Gunman Stephen Paddock, 64, also shot and injured 527 people attending a concert by Jason Aldean at the Route 91 Harvest Festival.

Roybal already knew what it was like to be a target because he had served a tour in Afghanistan while in the Navy.

"It was never fear, to be honest, mass confusion. Sensory overload…followed by the most amount of natural adrenaline that could never be duplicated through a needle," Roybal wrote in the July 18 message that mentioned bullets pinging off metal all around him.

"These words will be stuck with me forever. I will never forgive this world from taking him away," his girlfriend Maree Elmore wrote in a Facebook post on Monday referring to Roybal's self-answered question: "What's it like being shot at."

Roybal was celebrating his imminent 29th birthday with his mother Debby Allen of Corona, Calif., when they became two of 22,000 random targets of the real estate millionaire.


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"Today is the saddest day of my life," Allen wrote in a Facebook post on Monday. "My son Christopher Roybal was murdered last night in Las Vegas. My heart is broken in a billion pieces."

Roybal's explanation of what it is like to be shot at was written almost like a journal narrative.

He noted that fewer than 1 percent of the U.S. population ever experiences becoming a shooter's target. But while he was on duty in Afghanistan, he endured that experience daily in what has been called the deadliest place on Earth.

Before he experienced combat, Roybal had his own opinion of "what it would be like to be a real gunfighter in the modern day Wild Wild West."

He had spent an hour on foot patrol when he placed his hand on an eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicle called a Stryker.

"Hearing the most distinct sounds of a whip cracking and pinging of metal off of the vehicle I just had my hand resting on is something that most see in movies," he wrote on Facebook.

The experience emboldened Roybal. He was ready to "take on what became normal everyday life in the months to follow. Taking on the fight head on, grabbing the figurative ‘Bull by the horns.'"

But he added that over time the excitement fades and "anger is all that's left. The anger stays, long after your friends have died, the lives you've taken are buried and your boots are placed neatly in a box in some storage unit.