Orlando Shootings: The Real Lives Of The 49 Who Were Killed, By Family & Friends

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On 12th June 2016, a man by the name of Omar Mateen went into a gay nightclub called Pulse in Orlando, Florida with the intention of killing. 53 people were injured and 49 were killed. There have been various rumours spreading about the gunman in this incident; that he is gay, that he’s been to the nightclub before, that he had been using a gay dating app to target gays, that he’s seeking revenge due to a previous HIV positive partner, that he had possible links to extremist groups, that his wife knew what he was going to do.

The people killed in the shootings are:

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old. His friend, Nate Carrick said, “Edward Sotomayor, one of the funniest and nicest guys, he lived in Sarasota.”

Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old. His Aunt Yoly described him as, “An amazing person with a good soul”.

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old. His Co-worker, Claudia said, “Omar got along with everyone. Young, old, male, female, gay or straight. It didn’t matter to Omar.”

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old. His cousin, Roberto said, “He was always this amazing person, he was like a big brother to me.”

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old. He studied at Univercidad Central De Babyamom.

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old. His Aunt Sonia said, “Peter makes a difference everywhere he goes. He was a happy person. If Peter is not at a party, no one wants to go.”

Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old. A family friend of his, Laura said, “He just enjoyed life. Everything he did, he did with joy.”

Kimberly Morris, 37 years old. Narvel Benning, who played basketball at college with Kimberly, said, “I’m so thankful of the good memories I have of her. This is so unreal.”

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old. The first text message he said whilst hiding in the club toilets was “Mommy I love you”.

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old. Shawn DeVries, President of non-profit organisation, Jacksonville Jaycees said, “Darryl was very passionate about working in the community and wasn’t afraid to take the lead.”

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old.

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old.

Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, 25 years old. His cousin, Ana said, “I want people to remember Anthony as someone who was very happy and very kind.”

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old. Partner of Luis Daniel Wilson Leon. They loved latin night.

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old. Former colleague, Bret said, “He was a very outgoing, friendly person. Everyone wanted to be around him.”

Amanda Alvear, 25 years old. Her sister-in-law explained that Pulse made her feel accepted, it was family to her, and lots of her friends were gay.

Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old. One of his university professors said he was “diligent and extremely hardworking student.”

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old. His cousin said, “He was loved by everyone. He walked into the room and all eyes were on him because of his positive energy, just what he radiated.”

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old. Best friend of Amanda Alvear, Nancy Flores said, “She was very outgoing.”

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old.

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old.

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old. Co-worker, Ivonne said, “He had to be the best, that was his thing. I cook the best, I clean the best, I work the best.”

Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old. His cousin, Yamilka said, “Oscar was a very sweet guy. Very sweet to everybody. Every time he met somebody they would like him a lot. He was the type of guy who goes along with anybody.”

Enrique L Rios, Jr, 25 years old. Family and friends said that he was determined, always helping others and had a heart of gold.

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old. His brother, Jose said, “He was my mentor and my supporter. He helped very much in my parent’s house and work.”

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old. His friend, Jose spoke about Javier’s pride in being latino: “He was proud to be latino, super proud. He was always positive. He was very humble. He was a lovely friend.”

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old. Friend Lorena said, “He was the best. He was loyal. He was always trying to do stuff to make you feel better.”

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old. Childhood friend, Messiah McMillan spoke about being the first person Jason came out to: “When I found out, I never judged him. I never looked at him any differently, he was always my friend.”

Cory James Connell, 21 years old. His father said, “Cory’s a good guy. He loves everybody.”

Juan P Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old.

Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old.

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old. Shane loved to sing. Carey Sobel, an Orlando resident who hired his band said, “He was special”.

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old. Former colleague, Jose said, “He was very well known among us as very kind and loving.”

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old. Colleague Kenneth said, “He was one of the kindest people you could meet.”

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old. Best friend, Jennifer said, “He was like a brother. He was just really very spirited and always happy. You know?”

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old. His brother, Chavis said, “He was definitely a good person and a good brother to me.”

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old. He worked for Spanish television network, Telmundo, who said, “Jonathan was an extremely hardworking individual, full of life, enthusiastic with a great personality.”

Jean C Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old.

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old.

Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old. Brenda had fought cancer twice and has 12 sons, one of which was with her at the club that night. He survived, she did not.

Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24 years old.

Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old. His mother, Christine drove to the club at 4am after hearing about the shootings from her son’s friend. “They’re killing our babies,” she said whilst sobbing.

Angel L Candelario-Padro, 28 years old. His Aunt Luticia said, “He was a humble boy, a good student. He liked to work and wasn’t too much into partying.”

Frank Hernandez, 27 years old. One of his siblings, Jessica said, “He had the best of everything, the most expensive. He liked the good stuff and worked hard for it.”

Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old. His partner, Francisco said, “Such a loving spirit. I’ll always have him in my heart.”

Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old. His former Lieutenant said of him, “He kept a smile to his face. He was willing to work very hard to earn his commission.”

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old. His friend, Josh described him as “the most positive person I’ve ever known.”

Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old. Akrya was months away from starting in college. She excelled at basketball.

Geraldo A Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old. He studied law at the Universidad Del Este in Carolina, Puerto Rico. One of his friends on Facebook expressed over his death, “You are with the glory of God now.”

Vigils have been held all over the world to pay respects to the dead and show our support to their families. Whether you are for or against the LGBTQ+ community, I can see no reason as to why harming people apart of the community or supporting the shootings can be considered a morally right thing to do. After this incident, it has brought up the debate as to whether or not gun control is the issue.

What do you believe needs to be done in order to prevent mass killings like this happening in future?

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