The first victims list has been released in the Orlando nightclub shooting that happened early Sunday morning in Florida, reported Ethan Calloway for WJXT News4Jax. Orlando city officials began releasing names in an effort to identify victims who were slain in the nation’s latest mass shooting.
“On this very difficult day, we offer heartfelt condolences to today’s victims and their families,” posted the city on its website. “Our city is working tirelessly to get as much information out to the families so they can begin the grieving process. Please keep the following individuals in your thoughts and prayers.”
The City of Orlando released the initial list of seven victims after their next of kin had been properly notified Sunday; a process that will be repeated for each of the remaining 50 people who were slain at Pulse nightclub overnight Sunday. So far, the list of confirmed names includes Edward Sotomayor Jr., age 34, of Sarasota Fla.; Stanley Almodovar III, age 23, of Clermont, Fla.; Luis Omar Ocasio-Cabo, age 20; Juan Ramon Guerrero, age 22; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, age 36; Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, age 22; and Luis S. Vielma, age 22. Click here to view the updated list of victim’s names as they are released and added to the city of Orlando’s website.
Mother of man who was at Orlando club: "There's a lot of dead bodies at the club...they can't identify anybody." https://t.co/KXKy7t4Bpr— ABC News (@ABC) June 12, 2016
Although News4Jax received a tip Sunday evening that Orlando doctors had released a list of patients who are currently being treated for injuries from the Orlando nightclub shooting, that list has not yet been made public. The name of shooter, Omar Mateen, was not included on the list of those who died.
According to ABC Action News, hundreds of family members and friends of the victims were waiting outside of the Orlando Regional Medical Center, attempting to learn if their loved ones are still alive and, if so, to discover the extent of their injuries. Hospital officials have set up a crisis center at a nearby hotel to handle the overflow crowd from the emergency room and have asked friends and family members to leave their contact info so workers can let them know as soon as more information is released.
“Orlando officials hope to release several more names by the end of Sunday night,” wrote ABC.
According to Mother Jones, shooting victim Edward Sotomayor Jr. worked as a national brand coordinator at Al and Chuck Travel in Sarasota. Sotomayor’s friend and co-worker Al Ferguson posted a video of the victim on Facebook that showed Sotomayor dancing and having a good time at Pulse just 23 minutes before the mass shooting began. Stanley Almodovar III, another victim whose name has been released, worked as a pharmacy technician at Avella Specialty Pharmacy and was originally from Springfield, Massachusetts according to his Facebook profile.
“Orlando has set up a crisis hotline for concerned family members, and urged residents to hold off on vigils so authorities can conserve law enforcement resources,” Mother Jones reported.
Here is a Tweet from Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer, addressing the community after the mass shooting.
Today our community & nation experienced a horrific crime. Our hearts & prayers are w/ the victims, their families. pic.twitter.com/9Y2xgoYU65— Mayor Buddy Dyer (@orlandomayor) June 12, 2016
Police say approximately 50 people were killed inside Pulse nightclub and at least 53 more were wounded, making it difficult for officials to quickly release an accurate list of victims. The incident has already been called the worst mass shooting in U.S. history and prompted hundreds of locals to line up and donate blood on Sunday, June 12.
29-year-old gunman Mateen was killed by police responders around 6 a.m. and reportedly placed a call to 911 pledging his allegiance to ISIS just moments before he rushed into Pulse nightclub and began shooting. According to multiple reports, Mateen has been watched by the FBI for the last several years and has repeatedly expressed anti-gay sentiments to friends and family.
[AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack]