How They Lived: Portraits of the Orlando Victims - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

How They Lived: Portraits of the Orlando Victims

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(NBC) -

A gunman wielding an assault rifle and a handgun opened fire inside a packed gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, early Sunday, killing at least 49 people in the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history. 

Angel Candelario-Padro moved to Orlando from Chicago in January to be closer to family. 

The 28-year-old nurse from Guanica, Puerto Rico, soon found a new job and a new love. 

"He was a humble boy, a good student. He liked to work and wasn't too much into partying," his aunt Leticia Padro told Univision. 

But he made an exception Saturday night, when he and his boyfriend went to Pulse with friends. 

Leticia Padro said her nephew's boyfriend, who was shot several times and is in the hospital, told her that after hearing several shots he turned to Candelario-Padro and asked if he was OK. 

"He told him he was OK, but in that instant he fell to the floor," Padro said. 

Minutes before the shooting, Candelario-Padro had posted a photo on Facebook that showed him smiling broadly while standing next to his boyfriend and two friends. 

Candelario-Padro, who served in the National Guard, loved music and had played the clarinet in his hometown's band, Efrain Padro, an uncle who lives in Guanica, told The Associated Press. 


"A lot of people know our family in Guanica and are showing a lot of support in this tough time," he said. "We're waiting for his body to be brought home. We will welcome him with music." 
 

Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32, moved to Florida from Mexico in the early 2000s in search of a better life. 

He went back to his home state of Veracruz for several years to live with his family but returned to Tampa less than a year ago, relatives and friends said. 

"We came here for a better life," his cousin Jose Paniagua told Newsday. "We came because here in the United States there are many opportunities here and because we were fleeing because in our country there was a lot of crime, violence and death ... and we expect it should be more peaceful here." 

Rayon Paniagua, a construction worker, was looking forward to meeting friends at Pulse nightclub for another night of dancing, something he loved to do, longtime friend Lorena Barragan told the Orlando Sentinel. 

Barragan said Rayon Paniagua was a hard worker who sent money back home. 

"He was the best," said Barragan, who met Rayon Paniagua at church. "He was loyal. He was always trying to do stuff to make you feel better." 

Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, who went by Dani, barely spoke English when he moved from Puerto Rico to Florida in 2004, but he wasn't deterred by the language barrier. His cousin, Laly Santiago-Leon, said he learned English in six months, got a job at a store that sells fragrances and quickly rose through the ranks. 

"He was loved by everyone," Santiago-Leon said. "He walked into the room and all eyes were on him because of his positive energy, just what he radiated." 

She said her cousin frequented Pulse nightclub with his partner of six years, Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, who also was killed in the attack. The two loved Latin Night, and Wilson-Leon, 37, had posted pictures of the club online before Sunday morning's rampage. 

Santiago-Leon, 40, said her cousin wanted to be treated like everybody else, to be a family man, to be a good person and to help people in need. He had an infectious laugh and loved to cook Puerto Rican food, she said. 

She learned of his death Sunday. 

List of Victims: 

Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old



 

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