ORLANDO — A barista, a bouncer and an accountant.
While different in so many ways, they have one thing in common: They lost their lives in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States.
Anguished relatives still await word of the fate of their loved ones after the deadly rampage early Sunday at a club in Orlando, but authorities have released the names of the 49 people killed, and they come from all walks of life.
On Thursday, President Obama will travel to Orlando to pay respects to the victims and stand with the community. He already canceled an appearance with Democratic presumptive nominee Hillary Clinton that was scheduled for Wednesday in wake of the shooting.
Here’s what we know of the victims:
The 37-year old bouncer at Pulse nightclub always had a smile on her face. She was a big fan of basketball and mixed-martial arts fighting, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
She grew up in Torrington and attended Post University in Waterbury where she played basketball.
She moved from Hawaii to Florida a few months ago to help her mother and grandmother.
She’s being remembered by Diva’s nightclub in Northampton Massachusetts, where she was a performer.
“We will always remember her smile and her amazing way she lite up the stage in her performances . Keep dancing KJ … And we’ll keep smiling remembering you!!”
Edward Sotomayor Jr.
The 34-year-old Sarasota resident loved traveling, making new friends and black hats. So much so, his nickname was “top hat Eddie.”
Friends paid tribute on social media using emojis of black hats.
“Eddie was one sweetheart and I will miss talking and working with him. That smile and top hat is burned in my memory,” Nikki Stjames posted.
“He was a kind and loving man. A man that lit up the room with his great smile,” said friend Jason Howell. “Always there to try and solve a problem whether small or big. Just the posts on all of the social media sites show how much he is loved and how he touched so many lives … he will truly be missed.”
Sotomayor worked at a travel agency that catered to the gay community, and made his mark on clients as well.
“He was one of our tour leaders, known for wearing his top hat, and for being a really nice guy,” Robin Ziegler Suess posted on social media. “He was also a tour leader on our recent Caribbean cruise in January, where I had the honor of wearing his top hat.”
Al Ferguson, owner of Al & Chuck Travel where Sotomayor worked, described Sunday as “one of the saddest days” of his life.
Stanley Almodovar III
The 23-year-old pharmacy technician loved his family. And the feeling was mutual.
When he went out on that tragic night, his mother, Rosalie Ramos, made him a tomato and cheese dip, and put it in the refrigerator, she told the Orlando Sentinel.
But he never got to eat it. She got a phone call about the shooting in the middle of the night and rushed to the nightclub.
The last video he posted on social media showed him laughing and singing on the way to the club, Ramos told the paper.
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo
Of the people identified, the 20-year-old was one of the youngest killed in the shooting.
He was a dancer and a barista, according to a local blog dedicated to the victims.
Akyra Murray was just 18 and in Orlando on a family vacation, visiting her brother after finishing high school in Philadelphia. She had just graduated from West Catholic Preparatory High School and had signed a letter of intent to play basketball at Mercyhurst University, according to a statement from the high school.
“Akyra was a superstar who was a leader amongst her classmates and teammates. She was an honors student who graduated third in her class, and a 1,000 point scorer on the Lady Burrs basketball team,” the school said.
Luis S. Vielma
Vielma, 22, worked at Universal Orlando, where he had superstar fans.
One of those mourning his death is J.K. Rowling, creator of the “Harry Potter” book series. The author said Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal.
“I can’t stop crying,” she tweeted.
Juan Ramon Guerrero
The 22-year-old worked as a telemarketer while attending the University of Central Florida.
“He was always this amazing person (and) he was like a big brother to me,” his cousin Robert Guerrero told CNN affiliate WESH-TV.
Guerrero came out to his family this year, and was afraid they would not accept him, his cousin said.
But he had no reason to be. They not only accepted him, but they also embraced his boyfriend, Guerrero said.
“As long as he was happy, they were OK with it,” he told the TV station.
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera
The 36-year-old moved to Florida from Puerto Rico for a chance at a better life, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Ortiz-Rivera rarely went out but decided to attend a friend’s housewarming celebration at the nightclub early Sunday.
“I am really in shock that he was in the club, because he was not usually a club-scene person,” former roommate Abismel Colon Gomez told the paper.
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz
At 22, he was among the youngest victims.
He worked at a UPS Store and was known for memorizing the names of regulars, according to customers.
ʺSuch a happy soul, so hilarious, and made anyone’s frown turn upside down,” a friend wrote on Facebook.
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice
The 30-year-old accountant lived in downtown Orlando.
Before he was identified as among those killed, his mother spent an agonizing day looking for him after he texted her from the club, according to CNN affiliate WFTV-TV.
“Mommy I love you,” he said in his first message. “In club they shooting.”
His mother, Mina Justice, tried to call him, but he did not answer. She sent him a series of text messages, trying to reassure him that she had called 911 and help was coming.
After they exchanged more messages, including one where he said the gunman was in their bathroom hideout, he suddenly went quiet.
A relative said the 25-year-old was an angel to most people who knew him.
Erick Leon, who described himself as Rios’ cousin, said their ties go beyond family.
“My heart is heavy, we grew up together and now he is gone,” Leon posted on Facebook. “God took someone who was already an angel for so many people.”
Rayvon Murray Johnson said they used to work together at LaGuardia Airport in New York.
“Was such a funny and cool dude. He used to tell me, ‘don’t let world hold you back from your dreams,’ ” he posted on Facebook. “We use to talk about curry and God. … My heart is heavy, sleep well my brother. ”
Rios’ partner and a relative confirmed his death to CNN.
Anthony Luis Laureano Disla
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he had settled in Orlando, according to his Facebook profile.
Friends described him as “an amazing person,” “a special guy” and a talented dancer.
“When I saw your name on that list, my heart sunk,” a friend posted on his Facebook wall. “You didn’t deserve it.”
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega
A photo of Camuy shows him smiling and flashing his fingers in a “V” as he sits in a big red chair on the set of “La Voz Kids,” the Telemundo show where he worked.
Camuy worked in audience management for the current season of the singing competition show.
The Puerto Rican journalist got his start at a Telemundo station in San Juan before moving to Florida to work for the network in Orlando, his cousin told CNN.
“He was a great assistant producer. … Jonathan will be missed dearly,” NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises Chairman Cesar Conde said in a statement released by the National Association of Hispanic Journalists.
In a letter to NAHJ members, President Mekahlo Medina said the organization is heartbroken over his death.
“Please join me in remembering Jonathan and the other victims taken so early in life by a senseless, horrible act,” he wrote.
Camuy would have turned 25 at the end of this month.
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24, was friends with Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega and the two were at Pulse with Solivan’s brother-in-law, William Sabad Borges, who snapped a picture inside Pulse of the trio. Only Borges survived the shooting.
“I was telling my mom [Monday], how could my sister-in-law, who had two children, die … and I’m still alive? That’s what I really can’t comprehend,” he said.
It was Solivan who decided the group go to Pulse, because there had been an incident at another club. “Let’s go to a gay club because they’re killing at the other clubs,” she had suggested.
Cory James Connell
The 21-year-old was leaving Pulse with his girlfriend when the gunman walked in, his family told CNN.
His girlfriend survived the attack, but Connell didn’t make it.
He was a student at Valencia College and hoped to become a firefighter, his father, James Connell, said.
“Cory’s a good guy,” his father told CNN as he awaited word of his son’s fate over the weekend. “He loves everybody.”
Mercedez Marisol Flores
Cesar Flores is heartbroken that his 26-year-old daughter was killed. She was a happy girl, he said, who had just decided to go out with some of her friends.
But he told reporters he would forgive the gunman.
“I forgive the boy because I cannot take that hate in my life. My life is more important than hate. … It hurts so much,” Flores said.
Mercedez, he said, was born in New York and studied in the United States.
“She had so many dreams,” he said.
Now, the grieving father says he has a message he wants to share: “We must all come together, we must all be at peace, we must all love each other, because this hatred cannot continue for the rest of our lives.”
Deonka Deidra Drayton
The 32-year-old was a bartender at Pulse, her family wrote on Facebook.
Kareem Gray, her cousin, said family called her “Dee Dee.”
Gray remembered watching her grow up.
“She used to dribble the basketball around me,” he wrote.
Miguel Angel Honorato
Honorato, 30, lived in Orlando with his family and managed a Mexican restaurant in Sanford, Florida.
ʺWe don’t know what happened,ʺ colleague Jonny Reyes told CNN. ʺHe was an excellent person, boss and friend.ʺ
Jason Benjamin Josaphat
A 19-year-old student at Southern Technical College in Orlando, Josaphat is the youngest victim authorities have identified.
ʺHe was a sweet sweet kid that had a bright future ahead of him,ʺ Southern Technical Admissions Representative Fechete Mundo wrote on Facebook.
Darryl Roman Burt II
The 29-year-old was an employee on the Jacksonville campus of Keiser University, the school said.
“Darryl was a highly respected member of the KU team, and his contributions to our students and his colleagues will not be forgotten,” the university said.
In addition to his work as a financial aid officer at the school, he was also a dedicated community volunteer, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
Jacksonville Jaycees President Shawn DeVries told the newspaper he was “personable, social and easygoing.”
“He was the type of person that was always willing to help,” DeVries said.
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez and Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon
Mendez, 35, was the best salesperson his co-worker had ever met, according to the Sentinel.
“He laughed with the people and would make jokes,” Claudia Agudelo, who worked with Mendez at Perfumania, told the newspaper. “He was always happy.”
One customer he charmed at the Orlando outlet mall, according to the Sentinel: Wilson-Leon, 37, who became his longtime partner.
Family members shared word of their deaths on Facebook, posting photos of them over the years — smiling in front of a Christmas tree, posing in a photo studio, standing beside newlyweds at a wedding.
Siclaly Santiago-Leon, who described herself as Wilson-Leon’s cousin, said she was heartbroken, devastated and broken.
“I love you my love, Dani. I love you my love, Jean,” she wrote. “You are together. Rest in peace. Kisses always.”
Oscar A Aracena-Montero and Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez
Last month Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31, and his partner, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26, had something to celebrate.
They’d purchased a home together in Orlando, friend Danny Velazquez told CNN.
Carrillo, a fast food restaurant manager, was originally from Venezuela. They both studied business administration at the Universidad de Turabo in Puerto Rico, the school said.
Shane Evan Tomlinson
The 33-year-old performed with his band Frequency at another Orlando nightclub just hours before the shooting, according to the Sentinel.
In college at East Carolina University, he was known “for his high intensity personality and impressive singing voice,” the university said.
He was destined for a grand stage, and it only took one interaction with him to see how special he was, one school official said.
“He was a great person,” Lathan Turner, associate director of student transitions at the university, said in the school’s statement. “If you met him once, he became a part of who you are.”
Amanda Alvear was at Pulse with a group of friends and on Snapchat when the gunshots erupted. She looks into the camera then looks away confused. That’s where the video ends.
The 25-year-old loved her nieces, Bella, 12, and Zatanna, 8, and had gone shopping with them on Saturday, her brother told the Orlando Sentinel.
“People got caught in her wake,” her brother said. “Whatever she was doing, that’s what they were going to do and have fun doing it,” he said.
Martin Benitez Torres
Martin Benitez Torres had recently moved to Orlando from Puerto Rico and was studying to become a pharmacy technician at Ana G. Méndez University, according to spokeswoman Mayra Ramos. The 33-year-old was studying at their Tampa bay campus.
“He was a diligent and extremely hardworking student; thankful for the opportunity to advance his career and hopeful to make his dreams a reality” said Carlas Zayas, his Spanish professor.
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez was from Manati, Puerto Rico, and worked at a Speedway convenience store, according to his Facebook profile. The 25-year-old had studied health care management at Ana G. Mendez University in Orlando.
“He was a dedicated man, with great dreams of helping people in need, and the desire of becoming a health care professional. He carried a positive and contagious attitude towards life,” said counselor Maricelly Alomar.
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40, was from Guayama, Puerto Rico. He was a supervisor at a Gucci store in Orlando. On it’s Facebook page, the company expressed solidarity with the victims and their families. “Our special thoughts are with Javier Jorge-Reyes, who lost his life, and all of our colleagues in Orlando,” the post read.
Tevin Eurgene Crosby
Tevin Eugene Crosby was ambitious and goal oriented, his brother told the Orlando Sentinel. The 25-year-old had a marketing company called Total Entrepreneurs Concepts. He graduated from West Iredell High in Statesville, North Carolina, in 2010. His English teacher, Jacqueline Scott, told the Charlotte Observer she was still in shock. “I remember his smile, his love of life. … I want people to know the laughter and the joy he spread.”
Details are still emerging about many victims as authorities release their names. Other victims of the attack include:
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
- Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado , 35
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
- Luis Daniel Conde, 39
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
- Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
- Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27
- Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
- Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49
- Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
- Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
- Frank Hernandez, 27
- Paul Terrell Henry, 41
- Antonio Davon Brown, 29
- Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24
- Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25