Who Was Cory James Connell?

On Sunday, the worst mass shooting in U.S. history occurred at Pulse, a popular gay nightclub in Orlando. According to the latest reports from police, 49 people were killed and 53 were injured in the horrific attack. As the city of Orlando begins reaching out to the victims' families, it has started listing their names and ages on the city's website. It's striking how young the victims are, with the majority in their twenties and thirties, and at age 21, Cory James Connell was among the youngest.

Connell was at Pulse with his girlfriend, who survived the attack, according to CNN. He was a student at Valencia Community College and was hoping to become a firefighter, his father, James, told CNN. As he awaited to hear of his son's fate, James said, "Cory's a good guy" and added, "He loves everybody." Connell's brother, Ryan, called him the "super hero" of the family in a Facebook post he wrote Monday, according to the Orlando Sentinel. Ryan also wrote in that post, "The world lost an amazing soul, today. God just got the best of angels."

Chris Richards, a high school friend of his, said Connell was recently accepted into an EMT program, according to a Miami Herald report. “He was very passionate about helping people and always put others before himself,” Richards said. “Cory was the type of person who would always put a smile on your face and the friend who was always there for you,”

The Miami Herald also reported that a GoFundMe was started by a local publication, the College Park Community Paper, to help pay for "travel and funeral expenses." The GoFundMe states: "It is evident by the outpouring of love on Facebook that Cory's smile and kind heart touched many." At the time of writing, more than $6,000 had been raised in four hours. If you would like to donate, follow this link.