THE VICTIMS: Family, friends recount details of the lives of those killed in the Orlando attack

This combination of photos shows some of the dozens of those killed in a mass shooting early Sunday at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando. Top row from left are: Amanda Alvear, Angel L. Candelario-Padro, Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, Antonio Davon Brown, Christopher Leinonen, Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, Darryl Roman Burt II, Edward Sotomayor Jr. and Enrique L. Rios, Jr. Second row from left are: Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Frank Hernandez, Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Jason Benjamin Josaphat, Javier Jorge-Reyes, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Joel Rayon Paniagua and Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega. Third row from left are: Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Kimberly Morris, Leroy Valentin Fernandez, Luis D. Conde, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Luis S. Vielma, Martin Benitez Torres and Mercedez Marisol Flores. Bottom row from left are: Miguel Angel Honorato, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, Paul Terrell Henry, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, Shane Evan Tomlinson, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Stanley Almodovar III, Tevin Eugene Crosby and Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado. [Associated Press]
This combination of photos shows some of the dozens of those killed in a mass shooting early Sunday at the Pulse gay nightclub in Orlando. Top row from left are: Amanda Alvear, Angel L. Candelario-Padro, Anthony Luis Laureano Disla, Antonio Davon Brown, Christopher Leinonen, Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, Darryl Roman Burt II, Edward Sotomayor Jr. and Enrique L. Rios, Jr. Second row from left are: Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Frank Hernandez, Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, Jason Benjamin Josaphat, Javier Jorge-Reyes, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, Joel Rayon Paniagua and Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega. Third row from left are: Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Kimberly Morris, Leroy Valentin Fernandez, Luis D. Conde, Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Luis S. Vielma, Martin Benitez Torres and Mercedez Marisol Flores. Bottom row from left are: Miguel Angel Honorato, Oscar A Aracena-Montero, Paul Terrell Henry, Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, Shane Evan Tomlinson, Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, Stanley Almodovar III, Tevin Eugene Crosby and Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado. [Associated Press]
Published June 16, 2016

The city of Orlando has released the names and ages of victims in the Pulse nightclub shooting Sunday. Profiles of those who died are being updated as information becomes available.

The night before the shooting, Rosalia Ramos had tomato-and-cheese dip ready for her son, Stanley Almodovar, to eat after his night out.

But he never made it home.

"My son passed away," she said. "I didn't eat, I didn't sleep. I went to the hospital to see my son."

He attended East Ridge High School in Clermont, studied at Anthem College and worked as a pharmacy technician.

His mother told the Orlando Sentinel that he loved to change the color and style of his hair. The mother was told he pushed people out of the way when the shooting started Sunday.

This month, he would have turned 24.

Ramos said she moved herself and her children from Puerto Rico to Florida. She said she does not know how to go forward.

"I don't know what I'm going to do tomorrow," she said. "I don't know nothing."

Amanda Alvear was at Pulse because felt safe at gay and lesbian clubs, her brother told the Orlando Sentinel.

Brian Alvear, 32, feared the worst Sunday because his sister hadn't checked in with their parents. Then they got the news.

"Found out from a friend of Amanda who got shot and survived that she could have gotten out and went back for Mercedez," the brother wrote on Facebook. "Brave until the end."

Amanda Alvear attended Ridge Community High School in Davenport and was a nursing student. Her brother told the Sentinel that his sister lost 180 pounds in two years, and documented her progress on social media.

"Can you tell I look better? Can you tell I look cuter," she teased her brother, Brian Alvear told the Sentinel.

"She wouldn't want anyone to spread hate for her," he told the newspaper. "She'd rather they spread more love, keep friends and family close and have a good time doing it."

Amanda Alvear was at the club with her close friend Mercedez Flores, 26, who was also killed.

Oscar Aracena-Montero and Simon Fernandez of Kissimmee worked together at McDonald's and enjoyed their lives together outside of work.

Aracena-Montero was an assistant manager at the restaurant and had just returned from vacationing in Canada and New York just before he went to Pulse the night of the attack.

A cousin, Yamilka Pimentel of New Jersey, told the Orlando Sentinel that he flew back into Orlando and stopped by his Kissimmee home before going out again with friends for Latin night at the club.

"He went to Canada on vacation. We saw pictures," Pimentel told the newspaper. "They stopped in New York and went to Niagara Falls. They just flew back into Orlando they same day (the attack) happened."

Fernandez, 31, a general manager at the restaurant, came to the United States from Venezuela about a decade ago, said his ex-wife, Hildamaris Carrillo.

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She said he was a very charismatic person who always looked on the bright side of things.

"It's painful … I still can't believe it," she said. "I think about the pain he must have gone through."

Fernanez was "the kind of boss everyone wants to work for," the company said.

The Sentinel reported that the couple bought a house last year and had three pet Chihuahuas. Aracena-Montero and Carrillo enjoyed traveling together, dancing, riding their bikes and going water skiing.

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Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala

As the workers at OneBlood collect blood from the many, many donors who came out to help the shooting victims in Orlando, they also find themselves mourning one of their own.

Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala started at OneBlood as a biologist's assistant in St. Petersburg in 2011 and moved to platelet supervisor with OneBlood in Orlando. He was known as a compassionate and dedicated co-worker.

Junior Salazar of Orlando, a friend who also works at OneBlood, said Ayala-Ayala was also admired on the job and among friends.

"He was a well-loved human being," Salazar said.

The friend was certain Ayala-Ayala had a bright future ahead of him.

"It's sad that so many people had to lose their lives at such a young age over hatred," Salazar said. "Love has no gender."

Alejandro Barrios Martinez, of Orlando, was visiting Ilia Sola because he needed her help translating a letter as he speaks little English.

He had recently immigrated from Cuba in 2014, according to Cuban news website Café Fuerte. Barrios Martinez's mother is in Cuba and his father is in Orlando.

He passed the time on the couch of her Orlando home four days before he visited Pulse on the night of the massacre.

"I know he was a really nice person," Sola said. "He was always happy."

Martinez had a good relationship with his 8-year-old half-sister.

"He loved his sister," Sola said. "They were always playing around."

Martin Benitez Torres was a student at Sistema Universitario Ana G. Méndez in San Juan, Puerto Rico, but the Orlando Sentinel said he was taking classes at the school's Tampa campus.

Torres had just arrived in Orlando to visit family a few days before Sunday's attack. He was also set to graduate this week, the Sentinel reported.

A spokeswoman for Ana G. Méndez University confirmed that Torres was one of multiple students who were victims in the shooting.

Torres posted videos on his Facebook page on Saturday morning and afternoon, showing him sharing time with an aunt and family he was staying with in Orlando.

He recorded a walking tour of the apartment property grounds to show friends and relatives back in Puerto Rico, and showed food sent to Orlando by his mother, Myriam Torres, of Galateo, Puerto Rico.

Cousin Sonia Crapps of Orlando posted this message on Facebook:

"Going to miss that big smile always happy … I can't believe that my cousin is gone too soon. He was amazing person inside & outside. I am so tired of people killing other people like our family & friends."

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Antonio Davon Brown

Antonio Brown served as a captain in the Army Reserve and had completed a tour in Kuwait.

He graduated from Florida A&M University in Tallahassee with a criminal justice degree in 2008, according to the university.

Brown was from Cocoa Beach and was a member of FAMU's ROTC program. He joined the Army in 2008 and was promoted to captain in 2012. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 383rd Regiment, 4th Cavalry Brigade, 85th Support Command in St. Louis, according to the Army.

"Capt. Tony Brown was a loyal and dutiful United States Army Reserve officer whom truly cared about the Soldiers in his charge," Lt. Col. Kevin Dasher said in a statement.

Brown was hired by Lowe's in September 2015 and was a human resources manager at a Fern Park store. His colleagues remembered him as "personable, positive and always smiling," said a Lowe's spokeswoman.

"He was a very positive young man," Lt. Col. Kelvin Scott, Brown's ROTC instructor at FAMU Scott, told the Army Times. "He kept a smile on his face. He was a very positive person with a very good sense of humor. He was willing to work very hard to earn his commission."

Elly Bailey told the Orlando Sentinel that her friend Brown "always smiled" and was a "kind, gentle soul."

She added: "He was the most incredible friend."

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Darryl Roman Burt II

Darryl Burt had reason to celebrate the night he went to Pulse: he had just earned his degree in human resources management, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"He loved to dance. He loved to have fun," friend Mahogany Avent told the Sentinel. "He was my best friend. I can't believe he's gone."

Burt lived in Jacksonville and worked as a financial adviser for Keiser University there. He worked closely with military veterans to make sure they had access to financial aid and other funding options, Vice Chancellor Kelli Lane told the Sentinel.

Lane called Burt "a highly respected employee and friend."

Burt was also an active community volunteer as a member of the Jacksonville Jaycees.

"He was personable, social and easy-going," Shawn DeVries, president of the Jacksonville Jaycees, told the Sentinel.

"Both socially and professionally he was always interested in making positive impact on people's lives and in the community."

According to the National Association of Hispanic Journalists, Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega worked on the Spanish TV show La Voz Kids — a children's version of The Voice — that airs on an Orlando network.

He had been a member of the NAHJ since he was a student.

He moved from Puerto Rico to Florida to work for Telemundo, where he was known as Jonathan Camuy on the network's website.

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises Chairman Cesar Conde released this statement:

"We want to extend our thoughts, prayers and deepest condolences to Jonathan's family and friends. He was a great assistant producer and had been working with us since Yo Soy el Artista and previously at Telemundo Puerto Rico … Jonathan will be missed dearly."

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Angel L. Candelario-Padro

Angel Candelario-Padro was born in Guánica, Puerto Rico, according to his Facebook page, and lived in Orlando.

Central Florida is where he was starting a new life, according to the Orlando Sentinel. He had just moved from Chicago and was to start work Monday at as an ophthalmic technician at Florida Retina Institute.

"He was here maybe a good four months," said officer manager Helen Rivera told the Sentinel. "He moved from Chicago, because he was tired — basically, he said the crime over there — he just wanted a better life."

He also worked as a Zumba fitness instructor. He was in a relationship at the time of his death.

He wrote this on his Facebook profile: "I'm an adventurous, easygoing but responsible man that would like to live life completely."

His aunt, Leticia Padró, told Univision that he was "a good kid, without vices, very humble, respectful (and) studious."

Juan Chavez-Martinez spent the past seven years working for APDC Services in Kissimmee and spent the last five years as a housekeeping supervisor.

He was remembered by his workers as a good person and as a good boss, reported the Orlando Sentinel.

Born in Huichapan, Mexico, Chavez-Martinez was remembered as an "extremely dedicated, hard worker," APDC chief financial officer Alicia Amarro told the Sentinel. "He was extremely friendly, very dedicated to his family, to his co-workers. … It is very difficult. Everybody loved him."

Friend Tomas Martinez of Kissimmee told the Sentinel he was still wrestling with the news.

"My heart is still breaking for my friend. It is very hard to talk right now," Martinez said. "He had a lot of friends."

A GoFundMe page was created to help raise money to return Martinez's body to Mexico.

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Luis Conde

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Juan Rivera Velazquez

Luis Conde and Juan Velazquez were co-owners of Alta Peluqueria D'Magazine Salon & Spa in Kissimmee and were partners in business and in life.

The couple visited Pulse together several times a month, said Conde's sister.

"They were both exceptional people," Lynette Conde said. "They were always helping each other."

Luis Ruiz, 33, of Apopka was at Pulse that evening but escaped out back through the fence. Friends "Juan P. and Luis" as he called them, didn't make it out.

"We were standing right next to them," Ruiz said.

"They were that role model couple. They were my good mentors. They had great careers. They weren't just the type who only went out, only went to clubs. They were getting degrees."

The weekend before the shooting, the coupled were at Gay Days at Walt Disney World. On Tuesday, the Orlando Sentinel reported that flowers were placed outside the salon.

"They just wanted to say 'hi' and spend time there," customer Alexandra Ale told the Sentinel. "Juan was always just focused on his job, and Luis was more the jokester. He was always smiling and making people laugh."

"Everyone knows about this beauty salon," Irene Rivera of Kissimmee told the Sentinel. "They loved people. They lived to help people."

According to his Facebook page, Connell studied sports journalism and broadcasting at Valencia College. He graduated from Edgewater High School in Orlando, lived in Ocoee and worked at Publix.

He lived in Ocoee. He played sports and always had a job.

"He was a really good kid. A little shy, but he was outgoing once he got to know you." said Michelle Fowler, his family's neighbor.

On Facebook, friends said he wanted to be a firefighter who was a "cool dude" with a "bright shining smile." His brother Ryan Connell called him a "superhero," according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"The world lost an amazing soul, today," the brother wrote on Facebook. "God just got the best of angels."

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Tevin Eugene Crosby

Crosby was voted by the staff of Stateside High School in North Carolina as an "unsung hero." Those were the students who showed "integrity and determination," his English teacher, Jacqueline Scott, told the Charlotte Observer.

Crosby would go on to study business at Strayer University, according to his Facebook page, and worked as director of operations for Total Entrepreneurs Concepts, a marketing firm in Saginaw, Mich.

"He was very ambitious," brother Chavis Crosby told the Orlando Sentinel. "Whatever goal he had in mind, he worked hard. Whether alone or on a team, he worked on that goal."

Perhaps that explained Tevin Crosby's penchant for crisp suits, bright-patterned ties and motivational sayings.

One of his last posts on Facebook read: "Ability is what you're capable of doing. Motivation determines what you do. Attitude determines how well you do it."

Age was just a number to Franky Jimmy De Jesús Velazquez, the Puerto Rican native who was the oldest victim to die in the Orlando attack.

He was a visual merchandiser creating displays for a clothing store, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

On Facebook, he posted messages both inspirational and amusing, like the T-shirt that said: "Never underestimate an old man who is also a visual merchandiser (VM)."

Co-worker Bret Werner told the Sentinel that age never held his friend back. "He was a very outgoing, friendly person," Werner said. "Everyone wanted to be around him."

Sara Lopez, a close friend who called Jimmy her brother, said the two have known each other since they were they were teenagers.

"The reality is you don't feel it," Lopez said. "If I did then I wouldn't be able to talk."

She said two people saw Velazquez at the club as they were leaving. The shooting started and "Jimmy didn't get out."

She said her last interaction with her longtime friend was a fight. They had recently exchanged some unpleasant text messages.

"I'm going to regret that," she said through tears. "But I'm here."

His sister, Shiela De Jesús, told the Sentinel this: "He was a very loved person."

After several run-ins with the law for drugs, Drayton was turning her life around, former girlfriend Ashleigh Alleyne told the Orlando Sentinel.

"I know that she didn't leave this earth doing wrong," Alleyne said. "She was actually putting in effort, because we both hit rock bottom at the same time. She pushed me to get through her issues and I always tried to do the same for her."

Drayton, who had a 3-year-old daughter, found a new, better crowd to hang out with started going to church.

"My niece, Deonka 'Dee Dee' Drayton was killed in this horrible tragedy," wrote her aunt, Patricia Drayton Banks, on Facebook. "Senseless."

At the Beardall Center in Orlando, Cesar Flores took a few minutes to remember his daughter, Mercedez Flores.

"She is a happy girl all of the time," he told reporters. "She's a hard worker. She's a hard student."

The father paused, then corrected himself.

"She was a hard student. I'm sorry. She's gone."

Mercedez Flores was born in Queens, N.Y. and graduated from Ridge Community High School in Haines City and started working at Target. She lived in Davenport and her father said she was studying at Valencia College.

She had "so many ideas" about what interested her that her parents were unsure what career path she would ultimately choose.

Flores was at Pulse with friend Amanda Alvear, 25, who also died Sunday.

As the cameras closed in on Cesar Flores, his wife called his cell phone. The father told the reporters he needed to take the call, but they kept asking questions.

After a few minutes, he was more direct.

"Please," he said. "Let me go."

Peter Gonzalez-Cruz — known among family and friends as "Peter Ommy" — was always the life of the party.

"Peter makes a difference everywhere he goes," said aunt Sonia Cruz. "He was a happy person.

"If Peter is not at the party, no one wants to go."

Gonzalez-Cruz attended Colonial High School in Orlando and worked for UPS.

He went to Pulse on Saturday night with his best friend, Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25, who was also killed Sunday.

After news of the mass shooting emerged, Sonia Cruz said she held out hope for hours that her nephew would turn up in a hospital bed.

But those hopes died Sunday afternoon.

Cousins mourned Gonzalez-Cruz on Twitter, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

"Rest in peace to my wonderful cousin," wrote one cousin.

"May you rest easy in Heaven," wrote another.

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Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 (left), and Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32.

News of Juan Guerrero's death came first. It would be hours before family and friends learned of the death of his boyfriend, Christopher Leinonen.

On Facebook, friends of Guerrero were mourning. But they held out hope that Leinonen survived.

On Sunday morning, his mother Christine Leinonen told reporters that friends saw Guerrero carried from the club with multiple gunshot wounds. But no one knew where her son was.

It was mid-day Monday before the official word came that Christopher Leinonen had died, too.

"He was the glue that held different groups of people together," said friend Kyle Simon.

Leinonen, 32, attended the University of Central Florida and had recently become licensed as a mental health therapist, Simon said. He worked at a hospital in Seminole County.

He was a movie buff, who introduced Simon to classic films like Casablanca and Citizen Kane.

One of their favorites was August in Osage County, which opened with the line "Life is very long," from T.S. Eliot's epic poem The Hollow Men. The line echoed in Simon's mind all day Sunday as he sent group texts to friends, trying to find out if his friend was okay.

"It came to mind when I thought about how tragically short his life was," Simon said.

Juan Guerrero came out to his cousin, 19-year-old Robert Guerrero, two years ago. His cousin said Sunday that family was accepting.

Recently, Juan Guerrero started attending UCF but was still figuring out what to study.

"He was always this amazing person (and) he was like a big brother to me," Robert Guerrero said. "He was never the type to go out to parties, would rather stay home and care for his niece and nephew."

The families of Juan Guerrero and Christopher Leinonen told Time magazine that they will hold a joint funeral service for them.

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Paul Terrell Henry

Henry grew up in St. Petersburg, but lived in Orlando for the past few years. He worked in sales and had been part of a musical church ministry, said his cousin Andrea Henry.

His family said he was a loving father to two children, including a daughter who recently graduated high school.

"He kept many aspects of his life private from family," his friend, Francisco Hernandez, told the Orlando Sentinel.

"He felt that there was no need for them to know what he does in his life. His priority was to make sure his kids were taken care of.''

Julissa Leal, 18, learned her brother Frank Hernandez was missing on Sunday, when his boyfriend called. Leal said the boyfriend had been shot in the arm at Pulse but made it out of the club.

But he didn't know what happened to Hernandez.

Leal and her mother Esmeralda got in the car and drove 12 hours from Lafayette, La. to Orlando. They arrived at the Beardall Center just before 10 a.m.

There, they learned of Hernadez's death.

He grew up in Brownsville, Texas, but moved to Orlando two years ago "to get away from everyone," his sister said. He worked at Calvin Klein and enjoyed living in Florida.

Julissa Leal last saw her brother in May, when he came to Louisiana to attend her high school graduation.

Esmeralda Leal described her son as hard working and caring.

"He was happy until the end because he always liked to go out and have fun," she said in Spanish.

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Miguel Honorato

Jose Honorato wrote a simple, heartfelt message on his brother's Facebook page Sunday: "Come home bro, I'm waiting for you."

But Miguel Honorato did not make it.

A father of three, including two young toddlers, Miguel Honorato managed four restaurants in central Florida along with a catering business on the side. He was always the one to drop everything to help out his family, which included seven siblings.

"He was my mentor and my supporter," Jose Honorato said. "He helped very much in my parent's house and work."

Even though Miguel Honorato was younger, the older brother said he was the one who always gave sage advice about the family business.

On Monday, Jose Honorato changed his Facebook photo to one that showed the two brothers together, smiling over a charcoal grill.

The words "Mommy I love you" were the first in a tragic series of texts Eddie Justice sent to his mother.

He woke his mother Mina Justice at 2:06 a.m. with those words, followed by "In club they shooting."

The mother and son continued to exchange messages. Her on found himself trapped in a bathroom with the shooter.

"He's coming. I'm gonna die," Eddie Justice wrote to her, the Orlando Sentinel reported. While the mother waited to learn his fate on Sunday, her story went viral.

Mina Justice told the Associated Press that her son was an accountant who liked to workout and lived in a condo in downtown Orlando. On a GoFundMe page, a friend wrote:

"Eddie could walk in and the room would light up. His smile was as bright as his (future). He was also very upfront and outspoken and lived life to the fullest without any regrets."

Afterward, the Sentinel said, the mother shared her grief on social media.

"Going To Try &Get Some Rest. Please Keep The Prayers Coming. The Prayers Of The Righteous Availeth Much. We Will Get Through This Tragedy. One Day At A Time. Sleep Tight Eddie, Mommy Loves You Son."

Jorge-Reyes lived for fashion, his friend Dairo Lopez said.

"Fashion was his life," he said. "Always updated with the latest outfit."

He was always cracking jokes. When a friend or even a stranger walked into the same bar, he would say his catchphrase: "Gracias por venir" — "thank you for coming.

He was from Puerto Rico but moved to Orlando and worked at the Gucci store. He didn't look his age, Lopez said, and would tell people he was 26.

Jason Josaphat had recently graduated from Southern Technical College, according to the school. He left behind two proud parents, two brothers and a sister, according to the Orlando Sentinel.

His uncle said Josaphat was ready to start his life.

"He was very excited about his journey," said Josaphat's uncle, Christopher Long, told the Sentinel.

He was good with computers and had become interested in photography.

Josaphat called his mother from inside Pulse during Sunday's shooting, his family told the Sentinel. The family would not learn of his fate until Monday.

Josaphat was quiet, aunt Josette Desile told the Sentinel, and loyal.

"He was always helpful, always willing to help someone in need," the aunt told the newspaper.

Laureano Disla attended the Universidad del Sagrado Corazón in his native Puerto Rico but the Orlando Sentinel reported he made an abrupt career change: instead of a communications, he wanted to be come a choreographer and dancer.

That's what brought him to Orlando. His family said dancing is what made him happy, and he was very good at it, showcasing his talents at Bongos Cuban Café and Mango's Tropical Cafe.

His performances often included cartwheels, tumbling and splits.

"When he was on stage, he was the star," fellow performer Giovanni Nieves said. "He could be imitating J.Lo and you'd think he was J.Lo."

"He was very talented," Ana Figueroa, a cousin, told the Sentinel. "He started dancing when he was about 10 years old. It was his passion."

"He was so full of energy. He was so full of sass," said Colby Allen, holding a candle at a vigil in downtown Orlando Monday. "I used to throw pens at him in rehearsal because he used to look at himself and make poses in the mirror."

"He wanted to be the best."

Brenda McCool was the mother of 12 children and a cancer survivor.

"She was a fighter," childhood friend Noreen Vaquer told the Orlando Sentinel. "She doesn't take nothing from nobody."

McCool was from Brooklyn, moved to California, then came to Orlando to be with her youngest children, her family told the New York Daily News.

The salsa-loving mom often went out dancing with son Isaiah Henderson, 21, the Daily News reported.

She told her son to get down as people fell around them. Wounded in Sunday's attack, she died Monday.

"Just laying here thinking that I was just with my mom 24 hours ago, this is so surreal," Henderson wrote on Facebook. "I love you mom."

Jean Carlos Mendez Perez was an exceptional salesman at Perfumana, his coworkers told the Orlando Sentinel.

After all, that's how he met Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon.

Perez coworker Claudia Agudelo told the Orlando Sentinel that the two men met about a decade ago when Wilson-Leon visited the store.

Perez sold him a fragrance called "Declaration" by Cartier. Then the two men met again at a club.

"He laughed with the people and would make jokes," Agudelo told the Sentinel. "He was always happy."

He also liked staying in shape and looking good.

His longtime partner, Wilson-Leon, was known as a protector and confidant, his friend Daniel Gmys-Casiano told the Sentinel.

"We grew up in a really small town in Puerto Rico," Gmys-Casiano told the newspaper. "And he was going to same church that I was, and he was always the odd man out."

He said Wilson-Leon was the first person he ever came out to about being gay.

"He's been dealing with hate all his life," Gmys-Casiano told the Sentinel. "We all have."

Kimberly "KJ" Morris, 37, moved from Hawaii to Orlando just two months ago and had taken a job at Pulse nightclub as a bouncer, the Orlando Sentinel reported.

"She was so excited," ex-girlfriend Starr Shelton told the newspaper. "She'd just started working there and told me how she was thrilled to get more involved in the LGBT community there," Shelton said.

Friends described Morris as a kind, sweet person who enjoyed basketball and mixed martial arts.

Narvell Benning met Morris when they were in college at Post University in Waterbury, Connecticut, where Benning said they both played basketball.

"I can't think of a time when I did not see a smile on her face," Benning told the Sentinel. "I'm so thankful of the good memories I have of her. This is just unreal."

Akyra Monet Murray, 18, was the youngest victim of the Orlando attack.

She was from Philadelphia and had recently graduated third in her class from West Catholic Prepatory High School, according to the school.

Murray played on the school's Lady Burrs basketball team and had signed a letter of intent to play at Mercyhurst College in Pennsylvania.

She was on vacation in Orlando to celebrate her graduation and visit her brother.

"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," West Catholic basketball coach Beulah Osueke said in a statement.

Jean Carlos Nives Rodriguez worked hard to get where he was.

A Puerto Rico native, Rodriguez was general manager at a check cashing store.

He started working at McDonald's when he was 15, the Orlando Sentinel reported, then rose to the rank of manager.

Six weeks ago, the newspaper said he bought his first house so that his mother would have a good home.

"He was just a caring, loving guy — just like a big teddy bear," best friend Ivonne Irizarry told the Sentinel.

He put family and friends first, sister Valeria Monroig told the newspaper.

"He cared more about others than about himself," she said.

Luis Ocasio-Capo got along with all kinds of people, his former co-worker at Starbucks said of her fellow barista.

"Omar got along with everyone," Claudia Mason, 70, told the Associated Press. "Young, old, male, female, gay or straight, it didn't matter to Omar."

Performing — especially dancing — were important to him.

A Snapchat video of Capo dancing at Pulse around 12:30 a.m. Sunday was the last image friends saw of him.

"He was always just loving and kind," friend Daniel Suarez-Ortiz told the Orlando Sentinel. "The reason why he moved to Orlando was for his acting and dancing career, and it hurts that he is not able to do that anymore."

Sister Belinette Ocasio-Capo told the AP that her brother would have auditioned for a play on Tuesday.

"He was one of the most amazing dancers," she told the news service. "He would always call me and say, 'I'm going to be the next Hollywood star.' He really did want to make it and be known.

"Now his name ended up being all around the world, like he wanted — just not this way."

Geraldo Ortiz-Jimenez, who went to high school in Lancaster, Penn., and was a devoted Selena Gomez fan.

He flew from his native Puerto Rico back to Orlando to attend the singer's concert Friday at the Amway Center.

He posted to Facebook throughout the performance.

"This is how the queen started the night!" he wrote, and posted a video of Gomez on stage.

His last post was about 9 p.m. Saturday. It was a photo of him at the gym.

Ortiz-Jimenez lived in Carolina, Puerto Rico, and attended Universidad del Este, according to his Facebook page. Someone wrote on his page: "You'll be missed at the gym here in PR."

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera was known for his generosity, a friend told the Orlando Sentinel.

"Eric was always willing to help everybody. He sacrificed himself a lot for his family," Abismel Colon Gomez, an old roommate, told the Sentinel. "He loved his brother, and he was always being generous."

He left Puerto Rico and came to Florida to better himself. He had a degree from Bayamón Central University in Puerto Rico and worked for Toys "R" Us and Ross Dress for Less, Colon Gomez told the Sentinel.

Ortiz-Rivera didn't usually go to clubs, his friend said, but he went there with friends after a housewarming party.

"The only reason he went was because there was a house-warming party for our friend," Colon Gomez told the Sentinel. "And Eric was like his mentor."

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Joel Rayon Paniagua

Joel Rayon Paniagua was positive, cheerful and religious.

"He was the best," longtime friend Lorena Barragan, who met Rayon Paniagua at church, told the Orlando Sentinel. "He was loyal. He was always trying to do stuff to make you feel better."

Rayon Paniagua came to Ocoee a decade ago from Veracruz, Mexico. He returned there for several years to be near his parents and family, Barragan told the Sentinel, but returned to Florida months ago, moved near Tampa, and starting working construction jobs to send money home to his family.

"He was a very good friend," Barragan told the Sentinel.

Gertrude Merced recalled the last time she spoke to her son Enrique Rios while he was vacationing in Orlando to celebrate a friend's birthday. It was two days before he died.

"He just sounded so happy," Merced told the New York Daily News. "Enrique was a wonderful person."

He worked as a coordinator at True Care Home Health Care Agency and studied social work at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, N.Y.

"Sadly, his dreams were cut short by this senseless act of violence," the school said in a statement. "The St. Francis College community mourns the loss of one of our own and offers prayers to his family and friends."

According to the Sentinel, his mother started a GoFundMe page to pay the $4,000 it will take to bring her son's body home.

"My family is torn apart and all I would like is to have my son with me so he can [have] the funeral he deserves," Merced wrote.

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Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz

Carlos Sanfeliz left his Tampa home on Sunday and drove to Orlando to learn the fate of his son. The official confirmation came the next day, when officers showed up at the father's home in Carrollwood to deliver the grim news about his son.

A Tampa bank employee, Christoper Sanfeliz was remembered by a former classmate as "the most positive guy I've ever known."

"He (was) a wonderful person and this is such a tragedy," said family friend Mike Wallace. "He was cut down in his prime."

Sanfeliz's family moved to Tampa from Cuba in the 1960s, Wallace said. After graduating from Gaither High School, Christopher Sanfeliz took several business classes at Hillsborough Community College.

In 2013, he was hired as a bank teller with JP Morgan Chase. In time, he worked his way up to become a personal banker.

Christopher Sanfeliz grew up in the same modest pink house on Wessex Street where he still lived, said his neighbor, Amy George.

Josh Palange, friends with Christopher Sanfeliz since their days at Ben Hill Middle School, remembered his friend as "the most positive guy I've ever known."

Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez studied health care management at Ana G. Mendez University System's Orlando campus, according to his Facebook page.

He was from Manati, Puerto Rico. Family members mourned his loss on Facebook.

"This is news you just don't want to wake up to, but it has been confirmed that our cousin was victim of this shooting," wrote Maribel Silva. "Tomorrow is not promised so please extend yourselves a little more, don't take life for granted and tell those that are currently in your life how much they mean to you."

For months, Xavier Serrano made the grueling commute last spring along Interstate 4 from Orlando to Tampa to attend fashion marketing classes at the Art Institute.

"He had so much potential," said Kate Campbell, program coordinator. "He was engaging. Everybody loved him."

But the commute and taking care of his 5-year-old son — a priority for Serrano— proved too much and he stopped attending. He also worked at Disney Live! and was a dancer that went by the stage name of Eman Valentino, the Associated Press reported.

"I understood why he couldn't continue," Campbell said. "I really did hope that he would come back some day."

He got a job at Aldo shoes, the Orlando Sentinel reported, because the hours would help him spend more time with his son.

"He was always happy all the time," manager Cynthia Rodriguez told the Sentinel. "He loved what he did. He always talked about his son."

On Facebook, a video of Serrano was posted of him wearing a top hat and a cape, dancing in front of an audience and collecting tips.

"Passionate Soul. Undying Spirit," Kevin Serrano wrote.

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Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan

Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24, known to her friends and family as Mary, was a mother of two young boys who was enjoying a night out with friends and family at Pulse, according to the New York Times. She had her second child just three months ago.

Before a gunman opened fire, Rodriguez Solivan had smiled into a camera, posing for a photo with her brother-in-law, William Sabad Borges, and a friend, Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega.

"I love you from here to heaven," Borges wrote in Spanish on his Facebook page. "Mary I love you with all the forces of my being."

In the post, Sabad Borges said Vega tried to protect Rodriguez Solivan and "died like a hero."

Eddie Sotomayor was a charismatic national brand manager for gay travel company Al and Chuck Travel. He was a graduate of the University of South Florida and lived in Sarasota. He was also a trailblazer, said the travel company's owner Al Ferguson.

"He was probably one of the most well-known people on the entire planet in the gay travel market," Ferguson said.

In April, Sotomayor recently returned from coordinating the first gay cruise to Cuba, Ferguson said.

About 20 minutes before the first gunshots rang out, Ferguson said he received a video message from Sotomayor. Only later did Ferguson learn from Sotomayor's partner what happened next.

While the partner was outside, Sotomayor sent him a text telling him not to come back inside. Sotomayor said he found a hiding space, Ferguson recalled. Another 25 to 30 minutes went by before Sotomayor sent another message, saying he was still hiding. Then, nothing.

Later Sunday, Ferguson drove from Sarasota to Orlando. He and dozens of others were assigned tables in a conference room at the Orlando Regional Medical Center. Then hospital officials started going through names: who was in stable condition, who was in critical condition.

"It was at that moment we realized the worst," Ferguson said, "because they didn't reveal any of those we lost."

People left in tears. Sotomayor's former boyfriend, Nicholas Panagos, was visibly shaken Sunday night. The general manager of Hamburger Mary's in Tampa, he cried as he recalled his friend of nine years.

"It didn't matter if you had a great day or a horrible day … you take one look at him and just smile, all you wanted to do was smile," said Panagos, 35, of St. Petersburg. "It's unbelievable to lose someone you love to something so stupid. So stupid."

Shane Evan Tomlinson Tomlinson, 34, was a singer for the band Frequency, which often played club and wedding gigs in Tampa.

But he went onstage at Orlando's Blue Martini Saturday night with a heart heavy from news of another singer's shooting death.

"He was devastated about ("The Voice" star) Christina Grimmie. He told me right before," said Ginelle Morales, who sang with Tomlinson in the top-40 cover group.

He left Blue Martini about 1 a.m. and joined friends at Pulse, Morales said. She called him a professional, a full-time singer who loved what he did.

"Anyone he came in contact with, everyone was immediately drawn to him," she said. "His smile was contagious." The news of his death was posted Monday morning.

Jason Gonzalez, a 33-year-old operations manager at Walt Disney World, was at Pulse with Tomlinson during the shooting. As they ran out of the club, he thought Tomlinson was right behind him.

Tomlinson didn't make it out.

"My best friend got shot in the back," Gonzalez said through tears.

He remembered Tomlinson, whose cover band performed at Blue Martini, as a musician who loved his craft, and a devoted friend.

Another friend, Melissa Cruz, called Tomlinson a "special person."

"He was young, happy," she recalled. "He was just a sweet, genuine person."

By day, Leroy Valentin Fernandez was a leasing agent at the Auvers Village Apartments in Orlando.

By night, he was a drag performer who loved to slay.

"He lived his craft," said Giovannia Nieves, a fellow performer in Orlando. "I best remember him for his portrayal of Mary from Hocus Pocus."

Fernandez who went by the nickname "Roy," loved fashion and selfies, according to his Instagram page.

"He filled our office with music," apartment manager Yolanda Quinones-Perez told the Orlando Sentinel. "He sang Adele in the office until we couldn't take it anymore.

His last post to the site was a selfie of him and his mom.

He also added a hashtag: #foreveryoung.

Vielma loved his job at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, one of the most popular attractions at Universal Studios Orlando.

His official job description was to help people get on and off rides.

But to Vielma, what he was really doing was taking them to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.

"Every time I asked him, he said he had the best job," high school buddy Eddi Anderson recalled. "He loved Harry Potter."

J.K. Rowling, the author who created Harry Potter, took to Twitter to mourn Vielma's death:

"Luis Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal. He was 22 years old. I can't stop crying. #Orlando"

Vielma graduated from Seminole State College, where he was known for his pleasant attitude and warm demeanor.

"He was one of those people," Anderson said. "No matter what, he wasn't a jerk."

Vielma wasn't big into the club scene in Orlando, Anderson said, but he went out Saturday with a few friends. He posted a funny Snapchat video from Rocco's Tacos earlier in the evening.

"He was such a genuine person," Anderson said through tears. "Everyone loved him."

Wright was celebrating his friend Cory Connell's 21st birthday when they were both killed.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Wright attended Florida International University in Miami and was a seasonal employee who worked most recently in the Magic Kingdom.

His coworkers at Disney's parks praised him to the Sentinel.

"Jerry was a great guy to work with. He was quiet but really wonderful with all the guests. He always had a smile on his face," said former coworker Scott Dickison.

"He was one of the kindest people you could meet," former co-worker Kenneth Berrios said. "We had students from the London program … and Jerry was always willing to give rides to them and show them around town."

This was compiled by Times staff writers Laura C. Morel and Dan Sullivan with reporting from staff writers Steve Contorno, Claire McNeill, Kathryn Varn, Kathleen McGrory, Tony Marrero, Patty Ryan, Hannah Alani, Ariana Figueroa, Hannah Jeffrey and senior news researchers Caryn Baird and John Martin. Information from the Orlando Sentinel, the Miami Herald, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the New York Daily News, the Charlotte Observer, Café Fuerte and the Associated Press and other news organizations was used in this report.