Who Was Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz? The Orlando Shooting Victim Died At Age 22
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: Another victim of the terrible shooting that took place early Sunday morning at Pulse, a gay nightclub in Florida, has been identified. Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz was an Orlando shooting victim whose death was among the first six to be confirmed by the city of Orlando, which is updating its website with the names and ages of victims as that information becomes available. Gonzalez-Cruz was 22 years old, according to the city's website. He was one of 50 people to lose their lives after a gunman opened fire on June 12 in what is now known to be the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history.
On Sunday afternoon, the city of Orlando posted a message to its website that it was listing the names of those who died in the shooting once identities had been confirmed, and family members had been notified. "On this very difficult day, we offer heartfelt condolences to today’s victims and their families," it said in its statement. "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"
Gonzalez-Cruz was one of the first names to be revealed by the city. Others include Edward Sotomayor Jr., Stanley Almodovar III, Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, Juan Ramon Guerrero, Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, and Luis S. Vielma.
Not much information has been released about the victims other than their names. However, people on Twitter are posting tributes to Gonzalez-Cruz as well as to the other men who are known to have died in this horrific attack:
The outpouring of grief on social media in the aftermath of the attacks has been heartbreaking. In a statement made following the shooting, President Obama confirmed that the FBI was investigating the case as an act of terrorism, and called the attack a "horrific massacre of dozens of innocent people." He urged Americans to keep the victims and their families in their prayers:
"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. May he give us all the strength to be there for them, and the strength and courage to change."
Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer tweeted that there is also a hotline family members can call to find out more information about loved ones.
The city of Orlando will keep the public updated via its website as more details about this case emerge.