Orlando nightclub shooting: 49 lives cut short

Forty-nine people were killed in the US resort city of Orlando this week.

AFP| Updated: Jun 15, 2016, 04:47 AM IST

Florida: Forty-nine people were killed in the US resort city of Orlando this week when Omar Mateen sprayed a gay nightclub with bullets during a three-hour siege.

Authorities said Mateen, an American of Afghan heritage, was radicalized by Islamist propaganda but the motive for the attack was unclear with news reports saying he had been a regular at the Pulse club and used gay dating apps.

His victims ranged in age from 18 to 50. Here are thumbnail sketches of some of those who died:
Camuy worked in audience management for Telemundo`s "La Voz Kids" ("The Voice Kids") and a photo posted on the show`s Facebook page showed him sitting in a red judge`s chair on the set, grinning and flashing the "V" sign in imitation of the show`s logo.

Camuy got his start with Telemundo in his native Puerto Rico before joining the program in Orlando, his cousin told CNN.

In a statement, NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises Chairman Cesar Conde called Camuy a "great assistant producer" and said he would be dearly missed.

"Please join me in remembering Jonathan and the other victims taken so early in life by a senseless, horrible act," he said.

McCool was a mother of 11, a two-time cancer survivor -- and loved to dance. She often went to Pulse to let loose with her 21-year-old son, Isiah Henderson, NBC reported.

"She was always really cool, but really a mom at the end of the day," Khalisha Pressley, McCool`s oldest daughter, told the network.

She called her mother "the sweetest lovingest person in the world."

Henderson, who survived, watched his mother die, his sister said.

"He feels it was his fault," she said. "He saw everybody getting killed."

Murray had recently graduated from high school in Philadelphia and was in Orlando for a family vacation to celebrate the end of school and to visit her brother.

She not only graduated third in her class, but was a standout athlete as well, netting 1,000 points as the leading scorer on the school`s basketball team, West Catholic Preparatory High School said in a statement.

"Akyra was a respectful and self-determined young woman who served as a natural leader to her teammates and all that observed her from afar," basketball coach Beulah Osueke said in the statement.

"What she displayed in academic and athletic excellence, she also displayed with her shining personality. Losing Akyra is heartbreaking."

Murray was an incoming member of the basketball team at Mercyhurst College, a Catholic liberal arts school in Pennsylvania.

A photo showed the young woman smiling broadly as she signed the letter of intent in a ceremony at her high school.
The national brand manager at a travel company catering to gay clients, Sotomayor was remembered for always wearing a top hat when working on his company`s cruises and other events.

"He was one of my best friends, my cousin, everything," cousin David Sotomayor -- who appears on the TV show "RuPaul`s Drag Race" under the name Jade -- told NBC. "He was an angel."

Edward Sotomayor was at the Pulse nightclub with his boyfriend and had messaged his boss Al Ferguson from the dance floor about 20 minutes before the shooting began, urging him to join them.
"He had traveled to so many places in the world," Ferguson told the Orlando Sentinel. "He loved travel."

"What I will say, over and over again, was he was a person who said, `We cannot be afraid,`" Ferguson said.

Sotomayor had recently returned from Cuba after coordinating the first-ever gay cruise to the Caribbean island nation after it re-established diplomatic ties with the United States.

Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at the Universal Orlando theme park, and a photo of the young man shows him dressed in a gray vest with a loosely knotted scarlet-and-gold Gryffindor tie, giving the photographer two thumbs up.

"He was 22 years old. I can`t stop crying," Harry Potter author J.K. Rowling said on Twitter.
Co-worker Olga Glomba described Vielma as "a true friend."

"A funny, sweet, nerdy guy without a mean side. He just wanted to make people smile," she told the Orlando Sentinel in an email.

His father Jose Luis Vielma, who is originally from Mexico`s southern Guerrero state, told radio Imagen in Mexico that his son played football, went to church and was "exemplary, studious ... he was loved by the community where we live here."

He last spoke with his son on the phone at 8:30 pm on Saturday.

"I love you, papi," Luis told him. "It was the last time I talked to him," Vielma said, his voice breaking in grief.