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: In the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando, Florida — sadly, the biggest mass shooting in U.S. history — names of those victimized in this tragedy are slowly coming to light. Realistically, the information on victims is not usually released immediately, so although this uncharacteristically fast, likely due to the massive nature of this atrocity, it honestly feels like this nightmare happened days ago. One such name in what is to become a long list of innocent people who lost their lives needlessly is Juan Ramon Guerrero, and the world should remember this person with the dignity he is due.
Unfortunately, there is not a lot of information publicly known about Guerrero just yet, aside from the fact that he was only 22 years old and sadly present at Pulse early in the morning on June 12. Along with the other victims, each of these people went out to have an enjoyable Saturday night with friends and music, and were instead terrorized by someone with a gun. While investigations occur and many of the fallen remain for now where they were left, phones will ring from frightened family and friends who are trying to find answers about their loved ones' safety. (You can call 407-246-4357 to check on your loved ones in Orlando.) Each of the fallen has family and friends who are now left behind with broken hearts.
This is the reason President Obama spoke out on this violence earlier in the day. He made no mention of the gunman's name, only addressing this man as "the killer." The time to address the motivation behind this shooting is soon to come, but for now, as victims are identified and the pieces of this devastation are carefully arranged, Americans and those in favor of love over hate must band together in unity.
President Obama, with despondent exhaustion in his voice expressed this sentiment perfectly: "The shooter targeted a nightclub where people came together to be with friends, to dance and to sing, and to live. The place where they were attacked was more than a nightclub. It was a place of solidarity and empowerment where people come together to raise awareness, to speak their minds, and to advocate for their civil rights. So this is a sobering reminder that attacks on any American regardless of race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation is an attack on all of us."
It is crucial to serve as a pillar of support to those who were involved in this deeply saddening event, and especially to those who were directly affected, whether they were present at Pulse or lost members of their community. This is a time to remember those who, like Juan Ramon Guerrero, were taken from this world far too soon.