What We Know About the Pulse Shooting in Orlando So Far

Hi, how are you today? Let’s all take a deep breath. The last couple days have been difficult and sad for me as I continue to read and absorb new information about the Orlando shooting. I’m sure it has been for you too.

This news fix is focused on the Pulse shooting, the aftermath, the victims, the gunman, gun control, politics, some resources and centering queer Latinx voices.

First, let’s take a moment to read and honor the names of the 49 people who were killed at Pulse. They were loved and will be remembered.

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


Remembering the Victims

+  Survivors of the shooting speak out and recount their experiences.

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+ An open letter to the gunman from Alejandro Francisco, a survivor of the shooting.

These men and women were strangers to you. All of them had one precious gift, one saving grace that you could never, ever have. That much is clear. I know you had a child and a wife and a father and a mother, but you did not have what they had. You never could have. What happened never could have happened if you did.
But Omar, you failed.
You tried to massacre the very one thing that you can never destroy in our community. Ever.
You can not take away our love.

Deonka

+ Deonka “Dede” Drayton’s partner, Emmy Addison, writes about losing her on and off again partner of nine years.

She was a great parent to our son and they loved each other so much. She always made sure our son never needed for anything. She did whatever she had to to take care of her responsibilities whether it be home or just life in general. Her heart was truly whole. When she loved, she loved hard and just like any body walking this earth she just wanted to live happy with no worries.

juan

Juan Ramon Guerrero and Christopher “Drew” Leinonen

+ Family of Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, and Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, 32, plan to bury their loved ones side by side in a joint funeral. Guerrero’s father believes that’s what his son would’ve wanted. “They were honestly so in love,” Aryam Guerrero, Juan’s 24-year-old sister, told TIME. “They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other,” she said. “It’s a little comforting that they died together.” “If it’s not a funeral, they were going to have a wedding together,” she added.

Anderson Cooper gives an emotional tribute to the victims and gives us a snippet of each individual’s lives.

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+ Akyra Murray, 18, was the youngest of the victims and had recently graduated high school in Philadelphia. She was at the top of her class and signed a letter of intent to play basketball for Mercyhurst University. Murray and her family were in Orlando for their family vacation.

+ Eddie Jamoldroy Justice, 30, sent a flurry of heartbreaking texts to his mother telling her there was a shooting. “Mommy I love you,” was the first text Justice sent his mother and then told her there was a shooting and that he was trapped in the bathroom. He told his mother to call for help. They exchanged more texts before the texting stopped.

Words From Queer Latinxs

Trans and Queer Latinxs speak out and share their thoughts about the Orlando shooting.

Veronica Bayetti Flores on how the Pulse shooting robbed Queer Latinxs of a sanctuary.

When we’re given messages that our cultures reject us, when our families refuse to call our partners anything more than our “amigas” or speak to us at all, when we’ve been kicked out and cut off from our families and cultures, we not only find community and chosen family in those dark, sweaty rooms pulsating with the rhythms of our people; we find that LGBTQ Latinxs are inextricable components of Latinidad, that we are part of the lifeblood of Latinx communities – whether our families of origin choose to see that or not. For many of us, myself included, going to the Latinx night at the queer club is transformative, allowing us a feeling of safety and home in our bodies unlike most others.

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+ Democracy Now! talked with Isa Noyola, director of programs for the Transgender Law Center.

It is increasingly troubling that my community is not centered in this moment, that in this moment there was a context for that shooting, and that context is that my community was deeply impacted and murdered. And we are not lifting appropriately our community of LGBT Latina, Latinx leaders in this moment, and how we’ve been in survival mode for many, many years. The fact of the matter is, just across the country, as I travel, there are very few spaces that really provide programming—monolingual programming, bilingual programming—for our community. And so often these spaces, these club spaces, are just a few—a few spaces that we can access safely.

How the World Mourns, How To Help and More

+ Here Is What LGBT Muslims Want You To Know After The Orlando Shooting

“We will not be erased in this tragedy. We will not be pitted against ourselves and others — we are both and all things. It’s not ‘queers versus Muslims’ and it has not been historically. I am glad to see a lot of my comrades being brave and showing up in media, but I really deeply wish that it was under different circumstances. I wish we didn’t have to be brave just to continue living.”

+ This is what vigils look like around the world

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, shines in the colors of a rainbow to honor victims of Sunday's mass shooting at an Orlando gay club, Monday, June 13, 2016. People brought banners, flags and candles to the Place Trocadero in front of the Paris landmark. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France, shines in the colors of a rainbow to honor victims of Sunday’s mass shooting at an Orlando gay club, Monday, June 13, 2016. People brought banners, flags and candles to the Place Trocadero in front of the Paris landmark. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner)

+ Journalist Owen Jones, who is gay, was so pissed with his co-panelist and the host of a Sky news program that he walked off the show. Jones was upset the other speakers refused to name the shooting as an attack on LGBT people.

+ I like this from Bitch Media: Here Are Resources for Turning Our Sadness Into Action

“Wherever you live, call or write to your elected officials and tell them you want common sense gun control laws — now. You can also support groups working for national gun control policies, like the Brady Campaign, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence, and Americans for Responsible Solutions.”

Over 2.5 million dollars has been raised for the victims of the shooting and their loves ones. Equality Florida set up a Go Fund Me page and initially asked for $100,000 and soon exceeded that amount. Their new goal is $5M. “We hope to alleviate medical costs and costs associated with funeral arrangements for all victims and their families,” development officer Ida Eskemani said.

+ The shooting has greatly affected the Latinx community in Orlando. There’s an urgent need for bilingual, Spanish-speaking volunteers to speak with loved ones of the victims. Orlando Weekly reports: “City officials have asked anyone who can help with translation services to call 407-428-5870 or email info@hispanicchamber.net to volunteer.”

About the Gunman

+ More details are emerging about Omar Manteen, the 29-year-old man who killed 49 people and injured many more. Witnesses say Manteen was a regular at Pulse nightclub and messaged at least one gay man on a gay dating app. Ty Smith, who also goes by the name Aries, says has seen Manteen escorted drunk out of the club multiple times. Manteen also threatened clubgoers with a knife in one incident.

+ Manteen’s current wife, Noor Manteen, told FBI agents she tried stopping Manteen from pursuing the shooting. Noor was with Manteen when he bought ammunition and a holster. Manteen was married twice and had a three year old son.

+ Manteen’s former wife, Sitora Yusifiy, says he abused her during their marriage of two years. “He was not a stable person,” Yusifiy told the Washington Post. “He beat me. He would just come home and start beating me up because the laundry wasn’t finished or something like that.”

It’s not surprising then that there’s a lot of evidence to that shows men who hurt their female family members go on to hurt others, reports Think Progress. From The Role of Toxic Masculinity In Mass Shootings:

Between 2009 and 2012, 40 percent of mass shootings started with a shooter targeting his girlfriend, wife, or ex-wife. Last year alone, nearly a third of mass shooting deaths were related in some way to domestic violence. And when you look beyond public shootings, the majority of mass shootings in this country actually take place inside the home, as men target the women and children they’re intimately related to.
Employing harassment, violence, and coercion against women has long been considered a normal way for men to behave in romantic relationships, as deeply ingrained gender norms teach men that they’re entitled to women’s bodies. This toxic approach to masculinity has been directly linked to the sense of entitlement that drives many mass shooters to commit their crimes.

+ Manteen’s employer, security company G4S, has a history of turning out employees who kill. 

Guns and Gun Control

+ Sen. Bob Casey’s (D-PA) Hate Crime Prevention Act is the first gun control measure to be proposed after the Pulse nightclub shooting. It would add federal and state hate crimes to the list of convictions that prevent people from buying firearms including anyone convicted of a misdemeanor motivated in part by hate or bias related to race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.

+ Ugh, this makes my stomach churn. The AR-15 that Omar Manteen used to kill 49 people was also used by Adam Lanza, who killed 27 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School, and by Syed Farook, who killed 14 people in San Bernardino. Think Progress reports that the weapon was originally intended for military use and isn’t particularly useful for hunting. But the NRA nonetheless loves to advertise it on Twitter.

But AR-15s are extremely popular and profitable for the gun industry.

In 2011, Smith & Wesson estimate[d] that “modern sporting rifles” like the AR-15 were a $489 million dollar industry — and demand has skyrocketed since. (Sales tend to skyrocket after each mass shooting.) There are about 9 million in circulation in the United States.

One group driving up the demand is the NRA, which repeatedly glorifies and promotes the weapon on its social media platforms.

+ Related: the NRA hasn’t said a thing about the shooting.

+ Obama answered a question from a pro-gun activist days before the Orlando shooting.

What Politicians Had To Say

+ Here’s a list of politicians who’ve said they’ll be praying for Orlando but have received a shit ton of money from the NRA.

+ These lawmakers condemn Islam all while ignoring their own anti-LGBT views. 

+ Words from Obama on the shooting: “Although it is still early in the investigation, we know enough to say that this was an act of terror and an act of hate,” he said in a news conference. “And as Americans we are united in grief and outrage and in resolve to defend our people.”

+ Donald Trump spewing so much xenophobic, anti-Muslim bullshit.

“When I’m elected, I will suspend immigration from areas of the world where there is a proven history of terrorism against the United States, Europe or our allies, until we fully understand how to end these threats,” Trump said in New Hampshire.

“We cannot continue to allow thousands upon thousands of people to pour into our country, many of whom have the same thought process as this savage killer.”

+ Hillary Clinton was already scheduled to host a rally in Cleveland on Monday and instead of the usual festivities, she addressed the Orlando shooting. “The Orlando terrorist may be dead, but the virus that poisoned his mind remains very much alive,” she said.

+ Florida senator Marco Rubio says the “gay community was targeted.”

Grab Bag

+ Manteen started shooting around 2 a.m. but officers didn’t take him down till 5 a.m. What happened to police response in those three hours?  

+ James Wesley Howell, the 20-year-old man arrested on his way to LA Pride with weapons, ammunition and explosive-making materials, is bisexual. Authorities aren’t sure of his motives yet.

Yvonne S. Marquez is a lesbian journalist and Autostraddle senior editor living in Dallas, TX. She writes about social justice, politics, activism and other things dear to her heart like Selena and tacos. She graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with a degree in journalism and has since written and edited lots of gay stuff for the internet. Yvonne calls the borderlands home, strongly identifies with her Scorpio moon sign, and really hopes to crush the patriarchy soon. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter.

Yvonne has written 203 articles for us.

21 Comments

  1. I’m so disgusted by all the smug reactions I’m seeing to the news Manteen might have been a club regular/used gay dating apps. Does anyone have good suggestions on how to talk to straight people about this?

    I’m dreading dinner with my well-meaning parents tonight – my mom has said a few things in the past about ~the loudest anti-gay voices probably being secret gays~ and she doesn’t seem to understand why that kind of talk upsets me.

    • It bothers me a lot, too, and I’ve been trying to think through why. I’m not done thinking about it. One reason is that it *is* so smug and self-satisfied, like the person who ‘knew it’ or ‘called it’ had some special insight into what happened. The bigger reason, to me, is that it puts distance between straight homophobia and the violence that results from it. If everyone who takes part in anti-LGBT violence is secretly gay, then it can be chalked it up to self-hate and it’s a niche problem. It minimizes the magnitude of homophobia in the world and, frankly, it minimizes straight culpability.

      It grates, though. It really does. (By this logic, I wonder if Fox News acolytes are all secretly Muslim, while outwardly practicing (warped) Christianity? Self-hating Democrats?)

    • Yes. One of my very good friends posted on Facebook about how the guy was a self-loathing closet case once and it just came off ever so slightly empathetic. The best response I could think of was “I was one a self-loathing closet case too. I managed to not shoot up any bars in the process. I don’t want to see this guy’s fucking face on my Newsfeed”.

  2. Yvonne, thank you so much for curating this informative update. I’ve been doing my best to stay away from speculation and specious hatemongering, which has pretty much meant shutting out the world; I can’t imagine how much nonsense you had to wade through to put this together.

  3. I keep nearly feeling better, smiling at something, then end up breaking down in tears not long after. It’s not fair. I don’t care how juvenile it sounds. It’s the only thing I can think of.

  4. What bothers me most about the news about him being a regular is that it made it not just a perpetrator and some randomly chosen place + victims. He spent 3 years with these people and then turned this hatred and violence on them. How do you know people for that long and do this to them?

  5. I’m sorry about this but it’s been 2 days of absolute bullshit from every GoP politician, so I’m just gonna say this:

    SHOVE YOUR FUCKING PAYERS RIGHT UP YOU ASS. WE DON’T NEED PRAYERS; WE NEED FOR EVERY ONE OF YOU TO DO YOUR FUCKING JOB, NOT THE NRA BIDDING.

    Thank you to every single member of AS for existing because we need a place like this now more than ever.

    PD: Samantha Bee did say every single thing I think about all the politicians’ bullshit

    • The second half of that speech was glorious. I have never felt as proud of anything “my” president has said. I really hope that after he leaves office, he will keep speaking and being an advocate, because he completely gets some things so many others don’t. He often seems to hold back on speaking his mind, and then once he does finally do it, I often wonder why he didn’t do it sooner– he’s good at speaking, he’s articulate and powerful. What made him think this wasn’t something he could or should have said sooner, I wonder?

  6. I did a lot of reflection today. I finally just let it out after speaking to a frien. I couldn’t figure out why this affected me so deeply. I figured it out. It’s because of the way this is being handled by the media and so called allies. It’s because once again I fell for a lie that made me believe that we, the extremely amazing LGBTQ community, were cared for and viewed as important. I am heart broken. The dead are being disrespected and ignored. As a result, we are left to tend to the wounds of others and become wounded in the process. That’s fine. I would rather shed tears for these wounds and hurt with my community than pretend like I give a damn. I’d rather spread love than hate.

  7. Of course everything coming out of this is sad, but Akyra Murray’s story breaks my heart. She may have lived if the club was taken by police sooner. Hearing her mother talk about her last phone call destroyed me.

    I have yet to attend a local vigil, but seeing vigils from around the world brings me a warm kind of solace.

    This is a great roundup. Thanks, Yvonne.

  8. I have a correction — in the How to Help section you list Ida Eskemani as the development officer for Equality Florida. Her name is actually Ida Eskamani.

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