Who Were The Orlando Shooting Victims?
Sunday afternoon, while the world was still reeling from the devastating mass shooting at Orlando's Pulse nightclub that took 49 lives* and injured 53 more, the City of Orlando's website began posting names of the victims.
The post reads,
On this very difficult day, we offer heartfelt condolences to today's victims and their families. Our City is working tirelessly to get as much information out to the families so they can begin the grieving process. Please keep the following individuals in your thoughts and prayers. #PrayforOrlando
That number -- 49 -- is staggering, and makes the tragic event the deadliest mass shooting in US history. But each of these victims was much more than a number. Every person who died in that despicable scene early Sunday morning was someone's friend, someone's lover, someone's child. They were dancers, social workers, community volunteers.
At Elite Daily, we believe in focusing on the innocent human beings who senselessly lost their lives, instead of on the killer. Get to know the stories and the faces of the 49 people the world is mourning, below.
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
Stanley Almodovar III, 23
Stanley Almodovar III, 23, was a pharmaceutical technician from Clermont, Florida. His mother, Rosalie Ramos, told the Sentinel he was "a happy man with a big heart."
He was seen on Snapchat laughing and singing Saturday night on his way to Pulse. He was reportedly shot three times.
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20, was a dancer, according to his Facebook page.
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, was a telemarketer and student at the University of Central Florida, according to the Boston Globe. His boyfriend, Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32, was also killed.
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36, was originally from Puerto Rico but lived in Miami, the Daily Beast reports.
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22, was originally from South Africa and worked for UPS. He went to high school in New Jersey, according to the Daily Beast.
Luis S. Vielma, 22
Luis S. Vielma, 22, was a production assistant at Universal Orlando Resort, according to his Facebook page.
Kimberly Morris, 37
Kimberly "KJ" Morris, 37, was reportedly a bouncer at Pulse.
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30, sent heart-wrenching texts to his mother from the Pulse bathroom before he died.
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37, of Puerto Rico, was at pulse with his partner, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35, who also was killed. A friend remembered Wilson-Leon on Facebook as someone who "always protected and loved his friends."
Luis Daniel Conde, 39
Luis Daniel Conde, 39, had his own business in Kissimmee, Florida called DMagazine Salon & Spa, which he ran alongside fellow victim Juan Rivera Velazquez, 37. They had worked together for 10 years. Conde's sister, Lynette Conde, said, “They were both exceptional people. They were always helping each other."
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26, was reportedly a huge music fan. She was originally from Davenport, Florida and studied literature at Valencia College in Orlando. Flores' niece, Jennifer Flores, told the Orlando Sentinel in an email, “Whenever I was in the car with her she always had her music blasting, and I guess she got the love of music from my father and uncle who DJs."
Martin Benitez Torres, 33
Martin Benitez Torres, 33, a student from San Juan, Puerto Rico, had only touched down in Orlando a few days before the shooting to visit family. A spokesperson from his school, Sistema Universitario Ana G. Mendez in Puerto Rico, said he was one of multiple students killed.
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35, was reportedly the father of a five-year-old. He was an avid salsa dancer and has performed for Disney and Universal Studios. Friend Glenda Padua, 32, told People that he was a “great father." She said, “He was just the most fun, happiest guy you could ever know."
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37, co-owned DMagazine Salon & Spa in Kissimmee, Florida with Luis Daniel Conde, 39, who also died in the shooting.
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29, was a financial aid officer for Keiser University and a dedicated volunteer in his community of Jacksonville, Florida, the Orlando Sentinel reports.
Antonio Davon Brown, 29
Antonio Davon Brown, 29, was from Cocoa Beach, Florida. He graduated from Florida A&M University in 2008, where he majored in criminal justice. Part of a statement released on Monday read, “He is being remembered fondly by classmates and fellow alumni on social media. Our hearts go out to all of the families of those affected in the tragic shooting."
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
Frank Hernandez, 27
The sister of Frank Hernandez, 27, has paid a heart-wrenching tribute to her brother. Julissa Leal Escalante posted on Facebook, "I honestly don't know how to say it, I don't want to say it, I don't even want to believe it. I don't understand why he had to be one of the many victims who didn't make it. Why did it have to be him of all people. They took my big brother away from me, they took him away from us. Frankie we love you, we will always love you and we will never forget you. You will always be in my heart. I love you Frankie."
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24, was a bank employee in the Tampa, Florida area. His brother posted an emotional tribute on Facebook, part of it reading, “My heart is completely broken. He was so strong. He was my rock through everything we ever went though. He was the light of my family and I know that he will continue to bless us and his light will be radiating down from a better place."
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32, who went by Drew, died alongside his boyfriend, Juan Guerrero, 22. Leinonen started his school's first Gay-Straight Alliance, according to the Daily Beast.
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28, had recently landed in Orlando from Chicago. He is originally from Guanica, Puerto Rico. Just last week he started a new job as an ophthalmic technician at the Florida Retina Institute.
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49, was a regular at Pulse. She often brought her 21-year-old son, Isaiah Henderson, for a dance. The incredible woman has beaten cancer twice, and leaves behind 11 children.
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33, originally of Puerto Rico, was an assistant at a blood bank. His friend, Johnny Rivera Muñiz, told the Orlando Sentinel Rodolfo was someone who was all about “doing things the right way."
Paul Terrell Henry, 41
A friend mourned the loss of Paul Terrell Henry, 41, on Facebook, saying "Orlando visits won't be the same."
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25, was known on the drag scene as Alanis Laurell. "Alanis Laurell was a amazing performer and a beautiful person inside and out. She will be missed deeply. You are now a angel looking down at all of us," Drag Around The World posted on Facebook.
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25, was a sales associate at Speedway in Orlando. He was originally from Manati, Puerto Rico.
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31, was killed along with his friend, Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26. The two were aspiring realtors, according to a post from a friend.
Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26
Oscar A. Aracena-Montero, 26, was at Pulse with his friend, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31. Both men were killed.
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25, lived in Brooklyn and was a social worker. He was in Orlando celebrating a friend's birthday.
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30, was from Apopka, Florida. He leaves behind three children, according to reports.
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40, was a supervisor at Gucci.
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19, called his mom from Pulse amidst the chaos. She told him to hide inside the bathroom. On Monday Josaphat's uncle, Christopher Long, said, “he was loved very much by his family."
Cory James Connell, 21
Cory James Connell, 21, has been described by his brother as a “super hero.” Ryan Connell wrote in a Facebook post, “The world lost an amazing soul. God just got the best of angels."
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33, is remembered as a gifted singer and performer who made regular appearances with his band Frequency Saturday. Carey Sobel, who hired him to play at his upcoming wedding, told the Orlando Sentinel, “I've never met anyone like him."
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50, lived in Orlando and was a visual merchandiser for Forever 21. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, he graduated from Inter American University.
Amanda Alvear, 25
Amanda Alvear, 25, was recording herself dancing with friends on Snapchat when the gunshots rang out at Pulse nightclub.
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25, reportedly lived in Davenport, Florida and worked at Reunion Resorts. Friend Tomas Martinez said he had a lot of friends. He added, “My heart is still breaking."
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31, worked for Walt Disney World. Tributes have poured in for him. A former colleague, Scott Dickison, said, “It's hard to understand, but the people you work with at Disney are an amazing family. Jerry was a great guy. He was quiet but really wonderful. He always had a smile on his face."
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25, is remembered as having brightened up any room with his love of music and dance. If he wasn't putting on Beyoncé-style shows for a crowd, he was filling his leasing agent office with Adele songs. One colleague said, “He sang Adele in the office until we couldn't take it anymore."
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25
Tevin Eugene Crosby's brother described him as a hard-working businessman. He said of the 25-year-old, “He was very ambitious. Whatever goal he had in mind, he worked hard. Whether alone or on a team, he worked on that goal."
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24, was a producer for children's talent show La Voz Kids. The National Association of Hispanic Journalists released a statement saying the association is “heartbroken” and offers its condolences to his family.
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27
Akyra Monet Murray, 18
Akyra Monet Murray, 18, just graduated from West Catholic Preparatory High School in Philadelphia a week before the shooting.
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32, was remembered by friends and family as a cheerful, religious man who loved to dance and lift everyone's spirits.
Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
*Editor's note: This post originally stated that 50 lives had been lost in the shooting, but authorities confirmed the total number of fatalities on Monday to be 49. We will continue to update this post as more information becomes available.
-- With reporting by Oliver McAnteer