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Monday, June 13, 2016

Families learn victims' fate as officials continue investigating Orlando mass shooting

Posted By on Mon, Jun 13, 2016 at 4:31 PM

  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Families anxious to learn the fate of their loved ones who had been missing since the mass shooting that killed 49 and injured 53 early Sunday at the gay nightclub Pulse received the heart-wrenching news Monday amid gasps and cries. 

So far, the city of Orlando has identified 47 victims of suspected gunman Omar Mateen, 29, who was killed in a shootout with local officials. The names on the list, which is still being updated, include: 

 - Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
 - Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
 - Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
 - Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
 - Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
 - Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
 - Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
 - Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
 - Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
 - Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
 - Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
 - Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
 - Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
 - Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
 - Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
 - Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
 - Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
 - Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
 - Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
 - Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
 - Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
 - Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
 - Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
 - Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
 - Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
 - Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
 - Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
 - Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
 - Cory James Connell, 21 years old
 - Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
 - Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
 - Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
 - Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
 - Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
 - Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
 - Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
 - Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
 - Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
 - Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
 - Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
 - Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24 years old
 - Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
 - Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
 - Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
 - Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
 - Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
 - Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz 24 years old
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs says victims' families needed guidance, prayers and fellowship from the local community. She also thanked the national community for coming together to support Orlando. 

"We remain committed to the families," she says. "We're helping and working with them through every step of this loss." 

Law enforcement officials also had more information on what is being called the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. Pulse was reportedly packed with hundreds of 'Latin Night' attendees when Mateen went inside and started shooting at the crowd. After the gunshots, an off-duty Orlando Police officer providing club security and later, two more officers got into a shootout with Mateen.

OPD Chief John Mina says Mateen went into the bathroom, where he trapped four or five hostages and made a 911 call where he swore allegiance to ISIS. A larger group of people was hiding in another bathroom. Mina says law enforcement officials contacted him by phone to negotiate, and he sounded "cool and calm."

"He really wasn't asking for a whole lot," Mina says. "We were doing most of the asking."

Around 5 a.m., officials decided to rescue the hostages by driving an armored vehicle through a wall when explosive devices didn't work. Hostages and Mateen ran out of the building. Mateen exchanged fire with officers and was killed. Aside from the .223-caliber AR-15 type rifle and a 9mm handgun, Mateen also had an "unidentified weapon" they found in his parked van.  

President Obama says the shooting in Orlando a case of "homegrown terrorism," and that Mateen was influenced by "various extremist information that was disseminated over the Internet," the Washington Post reports. 
  • Photo by Monivette Cordeiro
Many of the victims killed have been from Orlando's Latino community, and on Monday, advocacy groups gathered to say they need bilingual resources for families who don't speak English and to remind the city that their community is also hurting. 

Carlos Guillermo Smith, who is running for the Florida Legislature as an openly gay man, says these types of clubs were traditional safe gathering places for LGBTQ people, such as the Stonewall Inn. 

"I'm a proud gay man and I'm a proud Latino," he says. "We are reeling from this tragic news. … Make no mistake, this was a horrific act of terror against the Latino and the LGBTQ community."

Si necesita consejería bilingüe, llame Hispanic Family Counseling, at 407-382-9079; Victim Services Center, 407-246-4357; and Two Spirits/Zebra Coalition, 407-228-1446. Si necesita información, llame la linea de emergencia de la ciudad de Orlando, 407-246-4357, o llame Hispanic Office of Local Assistance, 407-254-4652. 

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