ORLANDO, Fl. - A total of 49 lives were lost inside Pulse nightclub in Orlando Sunday. More is being learned about these men and women and the excruciating hours that have followed for their friends and family.
The youngest victim was only 20 years old.
“After everybody was out, the shootings were still going and the cops were yelling ‘go, go, clear the area, clear the area,’” said witness, Chris Hansen.
Dozens of men and women would never make it out of Pulse nightclub. More than a day later, the public is beginning to learn who these people were. Some had ties to the Midwest, like 34-year-old, Edward Sotomayor. His cousin, a Chicago resident, told the Chicago Tribune in an interview:
"He was just always part of the fun,” said David Sotomayor. "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,” said Sotomayor.
“He text me at 2:06 and said 'Mommy, I love you,'” said Mina Justice, mother of 30-year-old shooting victim, Eddie Justice.
Justice shared the conversation she had with her son moments before he lost his life, “I asked him was he hurt and he said yes. I asked him was some of the people hurt he said yes. And I said what bathroom are you in? He said the women's bathroom. And then he said hurry, he's in the bathroom with us,” she said.
The process of identifying and notifying families that their loved ones were killed was not easy. Many parents and siblings Sunday were left not knowing the status of their relative.
“A beautiful young lady, she just had another baby three months ago. Her mother's at home with the children right now. The family's devastated,” said the sister of one victim.
“You really can't describe it. You really can't. Especially all the waiting to find out if your son's okay,” said James Connell, whose son was inside the club.
And for others, their worst fears were confirmed, “I know he's gone...I'm just here because he's lying there on the floor and I just want to bring him home,” said Sarah Lopez whose son was killed inside.
As of Monday afternoon, the city of Orlando still had to release the names of a few victims.
President Obama ordered all flags be flown at half-staff through Thursday to honor the victims.