Every week between now and the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shootings, Orlando Weekly will profile a person killed on June 12, 2016. This week: Martin Benitez Torres.
Just hours before the shooting at Pulse nightclub, Martin Benitez Torres was posting videos to his Facebook page, laughing with his family as they cooked a meal on Saturday morning. His last post was a picture with family members, jokingly referring to them as the Kardashian sisters.
Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Torres was in Orlando visiting his family. He was a student studying to be a pharmacy tech at a Tampa satellite campus of the Puerto Rican university Sistema Universitario Ana G. Méndez.
His former co-worker Brumy Maldonado told the Orlando Sentinel that he was creative and loved to design costumes for office Halloween parties.
Maldonado affectionately referred to Torres as "flaco" or "skinny." On the day after the shooting, she posted on Facebook about just how much she would miss Torres.
"Skinny, you don't know how much pain I feel, how much I wanted to tell you again that I love you," she wrote in Spanish. "Thank you for your ingenuity, your creativity, for inspiring others to be better human beings, to love without expecting anything in return."
Another friend, Nelly-Frank Garcia, also posted about Torres' creative spirit, writing that he was an artist, the best costume-maker and the life of the party.
"A humble caring soul, a person who gave and expected nothing in return and let's not forget his million dollar smile ... I could go on and on," Garcia wrote. "I will never get over the way you were taken from us. You will live in our hearts forever."
Torres, friends wrote on his Facebook page, was always able to appreciate the beauty around him. In his cover photo on the social media site, he highlighted this quality with a quote in Spanish: "If God takes away my eyesight, it's because I've been allowed to see everything that's beautiful in the world."
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