Who Was Edward Sotomayor Jr.? The Orlando Shooting Victim Has Been Identified
Update: In a press conference Monday morning, Orlando police confirmed that 49 people had been killed and 53 injured early Sunday morning at Orlando's Pulse gay nightclub in the deadliest mass shooting in recent U.S. history. After opening fire on the crowd, an individual named Omar Mateen had taken hostages and was ultimately killed in a stand-off with police; Mateen had called 911 and pledged allegiance to the Islamic State shortly before the massacre. Orlando mayor Buddy Dyer declared a state of emergency, and the massacre is being investigated as an act of terrorism.
The victims' names were released by the city of Orlando on its website as their next of kin were informed. Here are some ways to help the Orlando shooting victims and their loved ones; you can also donate to the victims' fund, as well as express your solidarity with the LGBTQ community by posting a tribute online. You can also attend a vigil near you to honor the victims.
Earlier: More and more details are becoming clear in the aftermath of the Orlando nightclub shooting that left 50 people dead, and many others injured. We know that the attack is being investigated as an act of terrorism; we know that this is the deadliest mass shooting to happen in the U.S., and now, devastatingly, we are beginning to find out the names of the victims who were killed. Edward Sotomayor Jr. was an Orlando shooting victim who was one of the first four to be identified among the people who lost their lives in the attack, according to a statement issued by the city of Orlando. In the same statement, the city added that next of kin has been contacted.
Little is currently known about the victims who died at Pulse nightclub, though more details are emerging. Shortly after the city of Orlando released the first four victims' names, Barrel 87, a gay bar in Sarasota, Florida, posted a memorial to Sotomayor Jr. on Facebook, along with what appears to be a photo of him, in tribute. It wrote: "You will be missed. An angel watching over us now. May you Rest is peace Eddie! Love from your Sarasota Family."
The New York Daily News reports that Sotomayor, 34, was a "national brand manager at AlandChuck Travel." On Twitter, there was an outpouring of grief following news of his death.
The city of Orlando posted the following message on its website on June 12:
On this very difficult day, we offer heartfelt condolences to today’s victims and their families. 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. #PrayforOrlando
It also identified three other victims who were killed in the attacks, Stanley Almodovar III, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, and Juan Ramon Guerrero. The city will continue to update with more information as it becomes available.
In a heartbreaking address to the nation, President Barack Obama said he grieved for the victims and their families, adding that the "massacre is therefore a further reminder of how easy it is for someone to get their hands on a weapon that lets them shoot people in a school, or in a house of worship, or in a movie theater, or in a night club." He added:
"In the coming hours and days, we'll learn about the victims of this tragedy. Their names, their faces, who they were, the joy they brought to their family and friends, and the difference they made in this world. Say a prayer for them. Say a prayer for their families. May god give them the strength to bear the unbearable."
The city of Orlando has also set up a hotline for family members looking to find out information about loved ones following the attack: 407-246-4357.