TAMPA (FOX 13) - 49 people lost their lives in the Orlando nightclub shooting. Through their heartbreak, families and friends are finding comfort in sharing happier memories about them. That includes at least 5 people from the Tampa Bay area.
If you read through the dozens of stories coming out, you'll learn that list of 49 includes students, parents, a singer, a theme park worker, and people on vacation. All just trying to live their lives in peace.
The family of Christopher Sanfeliz, who live in Tampa, learned Monday morning that he had been killed. He was 24 years old and a graduate of Gaither High School.
Those close to him say he "was the life of party," and a fun-loving person who loved to dance. Though his family said they're too distraught to talk, his brother posted on Facebook, in part: "Everyone knows the bond that I had with my brother, we would finish each other's sentences, knew each other's thoughts, and could sense when the other was upset. He was so strong, and was my rock through everything we ever went through. He was the light of my family and I know that he will continue to bless us and his light will be radiating down from a better place."
Best friends, 25-year-old Amanda Alvear and 26-year-old Mercedez Flores of Davenport, were together at Pulse nightclub that night. Mercedez, a lover of music, was in her element. Amanda was enjoying herself after recently dropping 180 pounds. "She was one of the nicest, most caring people you'd ever meet," her brother Brian Alvear said.
Snapchat videos taken by Amanda initially show a packed dance floor. But, a third captured the horror and disbelief, her last moments, as the video captures the sounds of gunfire.
Despite an unimaginable loss, Amanda's brother is spreading a message of peace.
"She would want us to keep loving and not hate and not try and make this about something more than it was. Just one crazy man," Alvear said.
34-year-old Edward Sotomayor, Jr. of Sarasota was also sending videos from Pulse. That is how friends are remembering him, a man with a playful spirit and sporting his signature top hat.
"I smiled when I saw it, it was funny and it makes me happy," said friend Al Ferguson.
"He always had a kind word and a great smile," said friend Berry Ayers.
Sotomayor was the International Brand Manager for Al and Chuck Travel, an LGBT travel agency. Those who knew him best say his kindness made him a friend to all.
"People liked Eddie, they enjoyed being around him, they gravitate to him," said Ferguson.
25-year-old Juan Chavez-Martinez of Davenport was inside the crowded nightclub. It was a carefree night for a man a family friend calls a "hard worker." They tell us he came from Mexico in search of a better life.
On his Facebook page, you'll find this quote as his cover photo. Translated, it says, "Sometimes we do not need money, but love and understanding."
We also want to mention another local woman to keep in your thoughts and prayers. Marissa Delgado of Polk County was among the 53 people injured in the shooting. She is fighting for her life after being shot 12 times.
All 49 people who were killed in the Pulse nightclub have been identified. They are:
Stanley Almodovar III, 23 years old
Amanda Alvear, 25 years old
Oscar A Aracena-Montero, 26 years old
Rodolfo Ayala-Ayala, 33 years old
Antonio Davon Brown, 29 years old
Darryl Roman Burt II, 29 years old
Angel L. Candelario-Padro, 28 years old
Juan Chevez-Martinez, 25 years old
Luis Daniel Conde, 39 years old
Cory James Connell, 21 years old
Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25 years old
Deonka Deidra Drayton, 32 years old
Simon Adrian Carrillo Fernandez, 31 years old
Leroy Valentin Fernandez, 25 years old
Mercedez Marisol Flores, 26 years old
Peter O. Gonzalez-Cruz, 22 years old
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22 years old
Paul Terrell Henry, 41 years old
Frank Hernandez, 27 years old
Miguel Angel Honorato, 30 years old
Javier Jorge-Reyes, 40 years old
Jason Benjamin Josaphat, 19 years old
Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30 years old
Anthony Luis Laureanodisla, 25 years old
Christopher Andrew Leinonen, 32 years old
Alejandro Barrios Martinez, 21 years old
Brenda Lee Marquez McCool, 49 years old
Gilberto Ramon Silva Menendez, 25 years old
Kimberly Morris, 37 years old
Akyra Monet Murray, 18 years old
Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo, 20 years old
Geraldo A. Ortiz-Jimenez, 25 years old
Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36 years old
Joel Rayon Paniagua, 32 years old
Jean Carlos Mendez Perez, 35 years old
Enrique L. Rios, Jr., 25 years old
Jean C. Nives Rodriguez, 27 years old
Xavier Emmanuel Serrano Rosado, 35 years old
Christopher Joseph Sanfeliz, 24 years old
Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan, 24 years old
Edward Sotomayor Jr., 34 years old
Shane Evan Tomlinson, 33 years old
Martin Benitez Torres, 33 years old
Jonathan Antonio Camuy Vega, 24 years old
Juan P. Rivera Velazquez, 37 years old
Luis S. Vielma, 22 years old
Franky Jimmy Dejesus Velazquez, 50 years old
Luis Daniel Wilson-Leon, 37 years old
Jerald Arthur Wright, 31 years old