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Orlando gay club shooting: The victims

We remember the 49 people who lost their lives on the morning of 12th June 2016.

2018-06-12

In the early hours of Sunday, 12th June 2016, the lives of 49 innocent people were taken in the name of hatred. Here, we remember the LGBT brothers, sisters and allies who fell victim to the tragic events at Pulse club, Orlando.

Our thoughts go out to everyone affected by this devastating attack on equality and freedom. #LoveIsLove

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34

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Edward Sotomayor Jr. worked as the brand manager for Al and Chuck Travel which specialised in holidays for gay people. The owner wrote this on Facebook: "One of the saddest days of my life. I will try to start to find the good in all of this."

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22

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Guerrero was at the club with his boyfriend, Christopher 'Drew' Leinonen, who was also killed in the tragedy. Guerrero's cousin said: "He was like a big brother to me. He was never the type to go out to parties, would rather stay home and care for his niece and nephew."

Christopher 'Drew' Leinonen, 32

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Christopher Andrew Leinonen, better known as Drew, was Juan Guerrero's boyfriend, and was one of the last victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting identified.

His mother, Christine, spoke of her pride at her son's LGBT activism work during an emotional television appeal following the tragedy. The families of Leinonen and Guerrero told BuzzFeed they will have a joint funeral for the couple.

Luis S. Vilema, 22

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Friends and colleagues have paid tribute to Vielma, who worked at the Harry Potter ride at Universal Studios. J.K. Rowling tweeted in the wake of the tragedy: "Luis Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. He was 22 years-old. I can't stop crying. ".

Universal Orlando released a statement saying: “We are deeply saddened over the loss of our team member. We are working to support his friends and colleagues here at Universal Orlando. "Our thoughts and prayers are with Luis, his family, and all the victims of this tragedy."

Stanley Almodovar III, 23

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Stanley was reportedly shot three times while helping others escape into the bathroom. His Mother, Ramos, said her son "was a happy man with a big heart." - Orlando Sentinel

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36

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Eric Ortiz worked in merchandise management and was out after a house-warming party. A former flatmate, Colon Gomez, said: "We have seven friends who were there, and already we know three are dead."

Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22

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The Facebook page of Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, better known Peter Ommy, has been left with meessages in the wake of the tragedy. His mother has described the "deep and immense pain" at his death.

Kimberly Morris, 37

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Kimberly, known as 'KJ' recently moved to Orlando to Hawaii to help her mother and grandmother, who both live in Florida. She worked as a bouncer at Pulse, and was working the night of the shooting.

A friend, Ashley Ann Matthews,  wrote on her Facebook page: "That beautiful smile will forever be engraved in my mind."

Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30

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Eddie who worked as an accountant in downtown Orlando, texted his mother as shootings took place around him. His mother, Ms Justice described her son as a "homebody" who liked to make everyone laugh.

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20

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Often called 'Omar' by friends and family, Luis Capo was another victims of the shootings. Relatives on his Facebook page have ask for people to pray for their family, saying: "Lord guide us with your light so we don’t live in fear of the darkness evil brings."

Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25

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Laureno Disla worked as a drag artist called Alanis Laurell in Orlando. On his Facebook, his cousin Lucas Daniel Acosta D’oleo wrote: "What I have is pain beyond repair. I love you cousin."

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 and Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37

Jean (left) was on a night out with his partner Luis (right) when the shootings took place.

Amanda Alvear, 25

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Alvear was enjoying a night out with friends when the shooting took place. Many of her other friends didn't know she was at the club until seeing a Snapchat post Amanda sen where gunshots could be heard in the background. Her sister, Ashley Velez, posted on Facebook.

"The best godmother anyone could ever ask for. RIP Amanda Alvear. You will be missed my angel. I love you."

Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26

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Mercedez Flores was out at Pulse with Amanda Alvear. A friend of the pair both posted that he had lost his "best friends."

Martin Benitez Torres, 33

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Martin had only just arrived in Orlando on the day of the shooting. A friend on Facebook, Arlene J Cruz Torres posted: "I am heartbroken that a beloved friend got killed in this tragedy. Beautiful soul you definitely will be missed."

Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50

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Franky worked at Forever 21 as a visual merchandiser. Following confirmation of his death, a friend wrote in tribute: "What happened in Orlando affects all of us because it is an act of hate against the freedom to be who you are."

Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35

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Xavier was a dancer and had a son. On a post on Facebook a friend called Matt Molandes paid tribute, saying: "Waking up to the news that Xavier E. Serrano has passed, it’s soul crushing. My heart aches for his family and Wilma Lozano and their beautiful baby boy."

Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 and Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26

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Friends Fernandez (left) and Aracena-Montero (right) were both at Pulse when the shootings happened. A friend to them both, Kimbu Garcia, posted: “Beautiful princes, Oscar Aracena & Simon A. Carrillo. They were taken from me and a piece of me went with them."

Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25

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Enrique was a coordinator at True Care Home Health Care and was on holiday in Orlando. His heartborken mother described him as a "good kid", adding: "He was just having a great time on his vacation."

Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40

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Javier was a supervisor at Gucci. A friend of his, Ellen Taaffe, wrote on his Facebook: "Harvey George Kings, your smile was contagious and your sass always entertaining! You made me feel like a beautiful woman and mother even on days I couldn’t see it."

Miguel Angel Honorato, 30

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Miguel was from Florida and worked for FajitaMex Mexican Catering. His brother, Enrique Ezequiel Honorato, paid tribute: "R.I.P Brother Miguel Honorato, man I would’ve never thought this would happen to you."

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25

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Menendez was originally from Manati, Puerto Rico, and was working as a sales associate in Orlando.

Cory James Connell, 21

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Connell was studying sports journalism and broadcasting and worked as a stocker at Publix. He was at Pulse celebrating his 21st birthday with friends and his girlfriend, who was injured in the attack.

His brother described him as a "superhero", adding: "The world lost an amazing soul."

Jerald Arthur Wright, 31

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Wright went to Pulse to celebrate Cory James Connell's 21st birthday. Scott Dickison, a former coworker at Disney World, told the Orlando Sentinel: “Jerry was a great guy to work with."

Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19

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One of the youngest victims of the shooting, Jason lived in Orlando. A friend wrote: "You made everyone laugh and smile when you came around. You were there for everyone. You were a friend to whomever needed one."

Rodolfo Ayala, 33

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Rodolfo was a biologics assistant at the OneBlood donation center off Sand Lake Road, where crowds later queued round the block to dontate. His friend, Rivera Muñiz said "He loved to dance salsa and all kinds of Latin dancing."

Darryl Roman Burt II, 29

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Darryl had just got a degree in Human Resources Management. He was at Pulse to celebrate after deciding against a trip to New Orleans.

Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24

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Jonathan Camuy worked in Orlando for the Spanish-language Telemundo network as an assistant producer on a show called La Voz Kids.

NBC Universal Telemundo Enterprises Chairman: "We want to extend our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences to Jonathan’s family and friends."

Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28

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Angel had moved to Florida in 2016 and recently begun a job at Florida Retina Institute. He leaves behind a partner.

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25

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Tevin was the director of operations for a marketing firm. His recent posts on Facebook were of inspirational memes which, his brother told the Orlando Sentinel, reflected his work ethic. 

Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32

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Deonka was working at the club the night of the shooting. Her aunt, Patricia Drayton Banks, wrote: "You know this auntie will miss you.”

Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25

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Leroy Valentin Fernandez was at Pulse with his partner, Xavier Serrano, who also died. "He filled our office with music," Yolanda Quinones-Perez, Fernandez's friend said to Orlando Sentinel.

Paul Terrell Henry, 41

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Paul leaves behind two children - one of whom, Alexia, had just graduated from high school. A friend described Henry as a "true gentleman" who "will be missed".

Frank Hernandez Escalante, 27

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Frank had moved to Orlando two years ago for work. KRGV reported that he was at Pulse with his partner. The two became separated in the crowd, and Escalante was killed.  

Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25

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"He was extremely friendly, very dedicated to his family, to his co-workers. It is very difficult. Everybody loved him," said a former colleague. 

"He was very well known among us as very kind and loving," declared another co-worker. "There was nobody else like him. It is a devastating loss."

Brenda McCool, 49

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Brenda McCool was at Pulse with her son and her niece, who both survived the attack. McCool's cousin, Wilson Cruz, revealed she was a cancer survivor and "a proud and fierce advocate for her LGBT family."

Akira Monet Murray, 18

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The youngest victim of the Pulse atrocity, Akyra Murray recently graduated from West Catholic Prep School, where she played basketball.

The school said in a statement: "Akyra was a model scholar-athlete and as a school community we pray for Akyra’s family and friends at this time."

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32

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Joel was from Mexico but had moved to Orlando when he was a child. A friend said he "worked day and night" to support his family.

Jean Carlos Nieves Rodriguez, 27

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Jean had recently bought his first house as he wanted somewhere nice for his mother to live. One of his friends, Ivonne Irizarry, told the Orlando Sentinel Rodriguez was a "caring, loving guy — just like a big teddy bear."

Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24

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Christopher Sanfeliz, 24, died from injuries sustained in the shooting, his brother revealed on Monday (June 13). "He was so strong, and was my rock through everything we ever went through," he wrote on Facebook.

Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33

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Shane sang with his band Frequency, who had performed the night before at Orlando's Blue Martini nightclub. When his death was announced many fans took to social media to pay their respects.

One woman, Rebekkah Joy Rosado, said: "He was so crazy talented and everyone knew all of the love he put into Frequency Band and every other music outlet he was involved in."  

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24

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William Sabad Borges, posted a photo of himself with his sister-in-law Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan and friend Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega asking for any information on the pair which was the last photo they had all taken together. 

Borges later found out that he was the only one out of the trio to survive the attack. Borges said on Facebook Camuy died a hero as his body was found trying to protect Rodriguez.

Antonio Davon Brown, 29

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Antonio studied criminal justice at the university and also served in ROTC. He went on to become a captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21

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Having only moved to Florida in 2014 from Cuba, Alejandro has been described by a friend he had met in North America, as positive, outgoing, and "always with a smile on his face".

Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37

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"Best known as the Maker of Queens of Orlando and Puerto Rico, [Juan] is the favorite of all queens of Orlando" states his salon’s website biography.

Luis Daniel Conde, 39

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"He had such a good heart.’’ Said a close friend.

Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25

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Known to his friends as “Drake Ortiz”, Geraldo was originally from Santa Domingo, Dominican Republic.

"We didn’t meet. We never knew each other but somehow I feel the need for whatever reason to say RIP, and sending love to your friends, family and people that knew and loved you," reads one comment on his Facebook page where hundreds and hundreds of, both friends and strangers, have been mourning their loss.