A couple who were deeply in love when they were killed during a gunman’s shooting rampage inside an Orlando nightclub will have a joint funeral service, their families have said.
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, and his 32-year-old boyfriend, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, were among the 50 people who lost their lives Sunday in the worst mass shooting in American history. Services still need to be planned by the reeling families, but they want the two to be side-by-side when loved ones bid farewell, said Guerrero’s father, who has the same name as his son.
“I think my son wanted to do that. That’s why,” the elder Juan Ramon Guerrero, 61, said through tears. “I don’t care what the people think. I don’t care.”
The younger Guerrero and his boyfriend lived together and had been dating for nearly two years, family members said. Guerrero’s family was “really loving and accepting” when he came out as gay to them about three years ago, Aryam Guerrero, the victim’s 24-year-old sister said.
“They were honestly so in love. 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.”
Leinonen had gone missing after the early Sunday shooting. While a friend saw Guerrero’s body being carried out of the club in a stretcher, no one had seen or heard of Leinonen, Guerrero’s father said. His death was confirmed Monday afternoon on the city of Orlando’s official website dedicated to naming the deceased.