By Faith Karimi
A barista, a bouncer, and an accountant.
While different in so many ways, they have one thing in common: They lost their lives in the deadliest mass shooting in the United States.
Anguished relatives still await word of the fate of their loved ones after the deadly rampage early Sunday at a club in Orlando, but authorities have begun to release the names of some of the 49 people killed.
The 36 people identified come from all walks of life.
There’s Edward Sotomayor, a popular travel planner nicknamed “top-hat Eddie.” There’s Eddie Justice, an accountant who loved living in downtown Orlando.
Here’s what we know of the victims whose names authorities have released:
- Edward Sotomayor Jr.
The 34-year-old Sarasota resident loved traveling, making new friends, and black hats. So much so, his nickname was “top-hat Eddie.”
Friends paid tribute on social media using emojis of black hats.
“Eddie was one sweetheart and I will miss talking and working with him. That smile and top hat is burned in my memory,” Nikki Stjames posted.
Sotomayor worked at a travel agency that catered to the gay community, and made his mark on clients as well.
“He was one of our tour leaders, known for wearing his top hat, and for being a really nice guy,” Robin Ziegler Suess posted on social media. “He was also a tour leader on our recent Caribbean cruise in January, where I had the honor of wearing his top hat.”
Al Ferguson, owner of Al & Chuck Travel where Sotomayor worked, described Sunday as “one of the saddest days” of his life.
- Stanley Almodovar III
The 23-year-old pharmacy technician loved his family. And the feeling was mutual.
When he went out on that tragic night, his mother, Rosalie Ramos, made him a tomato and cheese dip , and put it in the refrigerator, she told the Orlando Sentinel.
But he never got to eat it. She got a phone call about the shooting in the middle of the night and rushed to the nightclub.
The last video he posted on social media showed him laughing and singing on the way to the club, Ramos told the paper.
- Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo
Of the people identified, the 20-year-old was the youngest victim killed in the shooting.
He was a dancer and a barista, according to a local blog dedicated to the victims.
- Luis S. Vielma
Vielma, 22, worked at Universal Orlando, where he had superstar fans.
One of those mourning his death is J.K. Rowling, creator of the “Harry Potter” book series. The author said Vielma worked on the Harry Potter ride at Universal.
“I can’t stop crying,” she tweeted.
- Juan Ramon Guerrero
The 22-year-old worked as a telemarketer while attending the University of Central Florida.
“He was always this amazing person (and) he was like a big brother to me,” his cousin Robert Guerrero told CNN affiliate WESH-TV.
Guerrero came out to his family this year, and was afraid they would not accept him, his cousin said.
But he had no reason to be. They not only accepted him, they embraced his boyfriend as well, Guerrero said.
“As long as he was happy, they were OK with it,” he told the TV station.
- Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera
The 36-year-old moved to Florida from Puerto Rico for a chance at a better life, the Orlando Sentinel reported.
Ortiz-Rivera rarely went out but decided to attend a friend’s house warming celebration at the nightclub early Sunday.
“I am really in shock that he was in the club, because he was not usually a club-scene person,” former roommate Abismel Colon Gomez told the paper.
- Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz
At 22, he was among the youngest victims killed in the shooting.
He worked at a UPS Store and was known for memorizing the names of regulars, according to customers.
ʺSuch a happy soul, so hilarious, and made anyone’s frown turn upside down,” a friend wrote on Facebook.
- Kimberly Morris
The 37-year old bouncer at Pulse nightclub always had a smile on her face. She was a big fan of basketball and mixed-martial arts fighting, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
She moved from Hawaii to Florida a few months ago to help her mother and grandmother.
- Eddie Jamoldroy Justice
The 30-year-old accountant lived in downtown Orlando.
Before he was identified as among those killed, his mother spent an agonizing day looking for him after he texted her from the club, according to CNN affiliate WFTV-TV.
“Mommy I love you,” he said in his first message. “In club they shooting.”
His mother, Mina Justice, tried to call him, but he did not answer. She sent him a series of text messages, trying to reassure him that she had called 911 and help is coming.
After they exchanged more messages, including one where he said the gunman was in their bathroom hideout, he suddenly went quiet.
- Enrique Rios
A relative said the 25-year-old was an angel to most people who knew him.
Erick Leon, who described himself as his cousin, said their ties go beyond family.
“My heart is heavy, we grew up together and now he is gone,” Leon posted on Facebook. “God took someone who was already an angel for so many people.”
Rayvon Murray Johnson said they used to work together at LaGuardia Airport in New York.
“Was such a funny and cool dude. He used to tell me, ‘don’t let world hold you back from your dreams,” he posted on Facebook. “We use to talk about curry and God. … My heart is heavy, sleep well my brother. ”
Rios’ partner and a relative confirmed his death to CNN.
- Anthony Luis Laureanodisla
Born in San Juan, Puerto Rico, he had settled in Orlando, according to his Facebook profile.
Friends described him as “an amazing person,” “a special guy” and a talented dancer.
“When I saw your name on that list, my heart sunk,” a friend posted on his Facebook wall. “You didn’t deserve it.”
- Jonathan A. Camuy
The 25-year-old Puerto Rican journalist worked for a Telemundo station in San Juan before moving to Florida to work for the network, his cousin told CNN.
News of his death devastated the small town of Camuy, Puerto Rico, where “everybody knows each other,” a former classmate told CNN.
- Cory James Connell
The 21-year-old was leaving Pulse with his girlfriend when the gunman walked in, his family told CNN.
His girlfriend survived the attack, but Connell didn’t make it.
He was a student at Valencia Community College and hoped to become a firefighter, his father, James Connell, said.
“Cory’s a good guy,” his father told CNN as he awaited word of his son’s fate over the weekend. “He loves everybody.”
Details are still emerging about dozens of victims as authorities release their names. Other victims of the attack include:
- Darryl Roman Burt II, 29
- Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32
- Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21
- Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35
- Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50
- Amanda Alvear, 25
- Martin Benitez Torres, 33
- Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37
- Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26
- Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado , 35
- Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25
- Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31
- Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26
- Miguel Angel Honorato, 30
- Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40
- Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32
- Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19
- Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37
- Luis Daniel Conde, 39
- Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33
- Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25
- Jerald Arthur Wright, 31
- Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25
- Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25