What we know about the victims of the Orlando gay nightclub massacre

Friends and families in shock as names of victims begin to emerge

orlanda, pulse, vigil

Members of the LGBT community stand during a Florida vigil in memory of the victims of the Orlando mass shooting | Photo: PA Images

Some of the 50 people who were shot dead at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Florida, have been named, with friends and family paying tribute to their loved ones.

Among them was Edward Sotomayor, a 34-year-old described by his cousin as a caring and energetic man known for wearing a comedy top hat on cruises.

Mr Sotomayor worked for a company that organised gay cruises and spent much of his work life travelling to promote their events.

David Sotomayor, who lives in Chicago, described his cousin as "just always part of the fun".

The two had discovered they were related after meeting at a festival in Orlando about 10 years ago and they had texted and kept in contact regularly since then.

Edward Sotomayor supported his cousin, a drag queen, during filming of reality TV show RuPaul's Drag Race earlier this year.

David said: "You never think that's going to be the last time you speak to him.

"It's just heartbreaking to know it just can happen anytime."

People cry in front of a makeshift memorial to the victims | Photo: PA Images

Stanley Almodovar III's mother Rosalie Ramos said she had prepared a snack for her son to eat as soon as he returned home from his night out at the club - but instead she was woken at around 2am with the news about her son's death.

Ms Ramos told the Orlando Sentinel that her son had posted a Snapchat video of himself singing and laughing on his way to the nightclub, adding: "I wish I had that (video) to remember him forever".

Mr Almodovar, 23, had been a pharmacy technician and one of his friends Hazel Ramirez told the Washington Post that he was "so proud of who he was".

Describing him as "kind but sassy", she added: "He would do his make-up better than anyone else. It was so easy to be myself with him."

Luis Omar Ocasio-Capo was just 20 years old and, according to his Facebook page, he worked as a dancer.

The Daily Beast quoted a former teacher describing him as "a ray of sunshine every day".

Mourners observe a moment of silence during a vigil in Atlanta | Photo: PA Images

Luis S Vielma, 22, had posted a photo of himself with friends at Disney World just hours before the shooting, with the caption: "True friends who become family".

One friend Will Randle wrote on Facebook: "You were one of the kindest people I have ever come to know.

"At Disaster (a theme park where Mr Vielma worked), everyone's day would brighten up whenever you came in.

"I don't care if it was an early opening, or a late event. Working with you was extraordinary."
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, had told his cousin Robert that he was gay about two years ago and had also confided that he was worried about his family's reaction.

He did not tell his family until late last year and, to his surprise, found that they were "very accepting", his cousin said.

Bystanders wait down the street from the shooting at the Pulse nightclub | Photo: PA Images

Mr Guerrero worked as a telemarketer and had also started attending college at the University of Central Florida a few months before the shooting.

According to his cousin Robert, Mr Guerrero didn't know what he wanted to study but was just happy to be in school.

He was also in a happy relationship with a person his relatives had come to regard as a member of the family, he added.

"He was always this amazing person (and) he was like a big brother to me.

"He was never the type to go out to parties, would rather stay home and care for his niece and nephew."

Also among the dead were Kimberly Morris, 37, a bouncer at the club; Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36; and Peter O Gonzalez-Cruz, 22.