Instead of June celebrations, our country is in deepest mourning.
June is normally a time of joyous celebration, especially since many young people are graduating from high school or college and beginning the next phase of their lives.
However, our country is in deepest mourning, for it has lost 49 of these promising, beautiful young men and women to terror. The youngest, Akyra Murray (18), was celebrating her high school graduation with her cousin and a friend Saturday night when ISIS-inspired gunman Omar Mateen struck.
Murray’s mother, Natalie Murray, said she received a text message from her daughter around 2am, saying she had been shot and to come pick her up.
Soon after, she received a frantic call from her daughter.
‘She was saying she was shot and she was screaming, saying she was losing a lot of blood,’ her mother said.
Her parents sped back to the club from nearby Kissimmee, frantically trying to reach the teenager, who had been shot in the arm.
‘I just tried to tell her to remain calm and apply pressure to the wound,’ Mrs Murray said. ‘All I could hear was my baby screaming.’
Murray had just graduated third in her class, and was poised to play basketball at Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania on a full scholarship.
This is just one of the many heart-breaking stories which are trickling out of Orlando. The full list of victim names has now been released:
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34
Stanley Almodovar III, 23
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22
Luis S. Vielma, 22
Kimberly Morris, 37
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
Amanda Alvear, 25
Martin Benitez Torres, 33
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
Cory James Connell, 21
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
Luis Daniel Conde, 39
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49
Yilmary Rodriguez Sulivan, 24
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28
Frank Hernandez, 27
Paul Terrell Henry, 41
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25
The last victim on this list, Antonio Davon Brown (29), was serving in the U.S. Army as a captain in the U.S. Army Reserve.
On a Facebook message about his death posted by the Army Times many expressed sadness and anger that Brown lost his life as he did.
“Thank you for serving our nation, CPT. My deepest condolences to your loved ones,” read one. “R.I.P. Captain Antonio Brown, sir! You didn’t deserve to die this way. It was a senseless hateful act,” read another.
June is also the time of weddings. Two of the dead were a couple.
Instead of saying “I do” together, starting a family together or growing old together, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen and Juan Guerrero will lay together as their families say their final goodbyes.
Lienonen, 32, and Guerrero, 22, were both killed in the Orlando shooting, and their distraught loved ones told TIME they are planning a joint funeral to honor the men’s lives.
…Guerrero’s sister Aryam Guerrero said the couple were “so in love,” and were supported by loving families on both sides.
The arrangements are a devastating foil to what could have been. “If it’s not a funeral,” she said, “They were going to have a wedding together.”
Our prayers go for spirits of the beautiful young people who were killed, the comfort of their families, and the hopes that June 2017 will not see another terror attack.DONATE
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