Two victims of the Orlando shooting over the weekend wanted more than anything to get married to each other, and now, it’s said that there will be a joint funeral service on Monday. The couple had been in a relationship for two years and lived together.
According to Time magazine, Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, and his partner Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, 32, were two of the 50 people killed during the massacre that happened inside the LGBT club Pulse. They’re victims of what’s now being called the worst massacre in American history.
— Out Magazine (@outmagazine) June 13, 2016
Their families have now come together to give the two men a joint funeral. Guerrero’s father, who spoke with tears in his eyes, said the following.
“I think my son wanted to do that. That’s why. I don’t care what the people think. I don’t care.”
When Juan came out to his family, they were loving and accepting. It’s said that he came out to his family three years ago. His sister, Aryam Guerrero, spoke about her brother’s relationship with the late Christopher “Drew” Leinonen.
“They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other. It’s a little comforting that they died together. If it’s not a funeral, they were going to have a wedding together.”
It’s said that before both victims were identified, their loved ones had many questions about whether they lived or survived. Leinonen was missing right after the shooting, and although friends saw Guerrero being taken out on a stretcher, no one was sure of his condition.
Prior to the announcement of his death, Christine Leinonen, Drew’s mother, cried during an early TV interview in front of a local hospital.
“I just feel terrible. I don’t know where my son is. We can’t get a hold of him. He was sitting right next to his boyfriend.”
At the time, Christopher “Drew’s” mother only knew of her son’s boyfriend’s injuries but not the extent. She received the following information from her son’s friend Brandon.
“[Juan] had multiple gunshots and was being taken by the ambulance but he never saw Christopher [come] out. And we haven’t been able to call him or text him.”
His mother’s last statement prior to his death was an impassioned cry.
“Please, let’s all just get along. We’re on this earth for such a short time. Let’s try to get rid of the hatred and the violence, please!”
Her son had founded the first gay-straight alliance at his high school and went on to receive a humanitarian award because of this.
Both deaths were confirmed by a website set up by the City of Orlando. As of 6:00 pm on June 13, there are 48 names identified out of the 50 victims.
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) June 13, 2016
The victims are listed as follows:
- Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34-years-old
- Stanley Almodovar III, 23-years-old
- Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20-years-old
- Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22-years-old
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36-years-old
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22-years-old
- Luis S. Vielma, 22-years-old
- Kimberly Morris, 37-years-old
- Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30-years-old
- Darryl Roman Burt II, 29-years-old
- Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32-years-old
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21-years-old
- Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25-years-old
- Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35-years-old
- Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50-years-old
- Amanda Alvear, 25-years-old
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33-years-old
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37-years-old
- Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26-years-old
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35-years-old
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25-years-old
- Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31-years-old
- Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26-years-old
- Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25-years-old
- Miguel Angel Honorato, 30-years-old
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40-years-old
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32-years-old
- Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19-years-old
- Cory James Connell, 21-years-old
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37-years-old
- Luis Daniel Conde, 39-years-old
- Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33-years-old
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25-years-old
- Jerald Arthur Wright, 31-years-old
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25-years-old
- Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25-years-old
- Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24-years-old
- Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27-years-old
- Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33-years-old
- Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49-years-old
- Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24-years-old
- Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32-years-old
- Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28-years-old
- Frank Hernandez, 27-years-old
- Paul Terrell Henry, 41-years-old
- Antonio Davon Brown, 29-years-old
- Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24-years-old
- Akyra Monet Murray, 18-years-old
[Photo by Juan Ramon Guerrero via juang0628/Instagram]