In the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, 50 people were murdered and 53 were injured by a gunman in a gay nightclub in Orlando, FL. Much has been said about the tragic events of June 12, 2016, and the community affected by this senseless violence. But we want to share with you the personal accounts from the victims' mothers. They will absolutely break your heart--and make you want to hug your own precious child.
The Orlando mom was fast asleep when she received a text from her 30-year-old son Eddie that no mother ever wants to receive.
"Mommy I love you," the first one read.
The next one read, "In club they shooting."
#PulseShooting victim Eddie Justice texted his mother he loved her during shooting https://t.co/ncpWg3bTM8 pic.twitter.com/3z9QlnfU0x— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) June 13, 2016
#PulseShooting victim Eddie Justice texted his mother he loved her during shooting https://t.co/ncpWg3bTM8 pic.twitter.com/3z9QlnfU0x
Panicked, Mina tried to call her son, with no response. She quickly texted back and found out that he was trapped in the bathroom at the club.
Though she called 911, the dispatcher told her to stay on the line to give more information. Meanwhile, Mina asked Eddie if the man was in the bathroom with him.
"He's a terror," Eddie responded.
His final text message a minute later read, "Yes."
Sadly, he has been confirmed dead. But she wanted to share his final moments with the world.
Eddie Justice, who was missing after texting with his mom during the Orlando attack, has been confirmed dead pic.twitter.com/UgY3GdWn8W— BNO News (@BNONews) June 13, 2016
Eddie Justice, who was missing after texting with his mom during the Orlando attack, has been confirmed dead pic.twitter.com/UgY3GdWn8W
The mom of Enrique Rios, a 25-year-old man from Brooklyn who was murdered in the attacks while on vacation, turned to the Internet to crowdfund to bring her son's body back to New York for a proper burial.
In a heartbreaking appeal, Gertrude wrote that her "family is torn apart and all I would like is to have my son with me so he can [have] the funeral he deserves."
Within hours, the campaign's goal of $4,000 was met. Now, Gertrude is flying to Orlando to personally identify her child's body.
She said, "Until I view my son for myself I have hope that maybe there was a mistake. Maybe it wasn't him."
The mom of Christopher Leinonen first learned about the fateful shooting at 3 a.m. that Sunday when Christopher’s friend posted on Facebook that there had been a shooting at the club and that he didn't "know where his friends were."
She frantically began searching for her son, making emotional pleas on the news.
"I wanted to let you know about my son," she said. "We’re on this Earth for such a short time. Let’s try to get rid of the hatred and the violence."
Sadly, she soon learned that her beloved boy was among the dead.
The last time she had spoken to him was at 6 p.m. on Saturday, when she told him about a surgery she was going to have.
"I left him with 'I love you, Chris,'" she said.
Will never forget Christine Leinonen sharing her grief and the legacy of her late son Christopher 12Jun16. #Orlando pic.twitter.com/yYjBObBfH8— Ricky (@MAJEST1C) June 13, 2016
Will never forget Christine Leinonen sharing her grief and the legacy of her late son Christopher 12Jun16. #Orlando pic.twitter.com/yYjBObBfH8
Kimberly "KJ" Morris was a bouncer at the club, and had moved from her home in Hawaii to Orlando two months ago--JUST to help her mother and her grandmother who lived there.
When her friend from college, Narvell Benning, heard she went missing on the night of the shooting, he got worried when he didn't hear from her.
Kimberly "KJ" Morris moved to Orlando about two months ago. The 37-year-old left Hawaii to… https://t.co/EuzS1ejRBq pic.twitter.com/5gpOidOWRx— Orlando Sentinel (@orlandosentinel) June 13, 2016
Kimberly "KJ" Morris moved to Orlando about two months ago. The 37-year-old left Hawaii to… https://t.co/EuzS1ejRBq pic.twitter.com/5gpOidOWRx
"I was just hoping she was OK, but I kept seeing that no one could get into contact with her," he said. "Her mom called the hospital and her cellphone kept going to voicemail. I started to get this eerie feeling that she was gone."
Unfortunately, he was right.
The victims and their families and friends are in our thoughts and prayers.