Who Was Brenda Lee Marquez McCool? This Mother Died In Orlando Saving Her Son

A small memorial is seen on the grounds of the Orlando Regional Medical Center where many of the victims from the Pulse mass shooting were taken June 13, 2016 in Orlando, Florida. The American gunman who launched a murderous assault on a gay nightclub in Orlando was radicalized by Islamist propaganda, officials said Monday, as they grappled with the worst terror attack on US soil since 9/11. / AFP / Brendan Smialowski (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images

The nation is still grappling with the gut-wrenching aftermath of Sunday's horrifying attack on an Orlando gay night club, which resulted in 49 deaths, according to the latest reports. The city of Orlando has published the names of the victims who went to Pulse looking for a fun night of dancing with friends and, in at least one case, with children. Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49, was killed at Pulse during what should have been a great night out with her son, one of her 11 children.

According to the New York Daily News, McCool died protecting her son, Isaiah Henderson, from the shooting. "Brenda saw him point the gun. She said, 'Get down,' to Isaiah and she got in front of him," her sister-in-law, Ada Pressley, told the publication. "She was shot dead. That's how much she loved her kids. If it weren't for her, he'd of been shot."

McCool was a Brooklyn native who survived cancer: not once, but twice. "She was a fighter," her friend from kindergarten, Noreen Vaquer, told the Orlando Sentinel. "She doesn't take nothing from nobody."

Pressley told the New York Daily News that McCool usually came back to New York City the weekend of the attack for the Puerto Rican Day Parade, "but this year she went to Pulse to celebrate. If she'd come to New York, she'd be alive."

Loved ones spoke about how much McCool loved to dance. Hours before she was killed, McCool shared video of people dancing at Pulse on Facebook. "She did the cowboy dancing. She did salsa. She did everything. She loved music," Vaquer told the Orlando Sentinel.

McCool's son wrote on Facebook about the loss of his mother. "Just laying here thinking that I was just with my mom 24 hours ago, this is so surreal," Henderson, 21, posted, according to the New York Daily News report. "I love you mom."

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