GUANICA, Puerto Rico (AP) — Family and friends of a 28-year-old nurse and National Guard member slain in the mass shooting at an Orlando nightclub gathered Saturday in his Puerto Rican hometown to say an emotional goodbye.
Angel Candelario-Padro’s casket was covered with a large American flag as his body was transported through the narrow streets of coastal Guánica in a white horse-drawn carriage. His mother and other grieving relatives wore matching T-shirts emblazoned with his image, a rainbow flag on the sleeves reading: “Love is love, stop the hate.”
“I am satisfied that wherever he went my son left a mark,” said his mother, Lucyvette Candelario.
Some mourners wept and cried out his name as they placed roses on the casket before it was lowered into the ground at Guánica’s municipal cemetery.
The former National Guard member and music lover was honored by the local office of the American Legion and Guánica’s school band, whose players filled the tropical air with the melodies of some of his favorite songs. When Candelario was a boy, he had played the clarinet in a band in his hometown.
Candelario had moved in January from Chicago to Orlando to be closer to family, joining a large and growing Puerto Rican population in Central Florida.
The Sunday killing of 49 people at the Orlando nightclub by a gunman with a semi-automatic rifle shocked people worldwide. But it has been felt particularly hard in this U.S. island territory because nearly half of the people slain were either born here or were just a generation removed.
The ceremony for Candelario, whose partner was wounded in the attack, was among several being held on Puerto Rico this week for victims of the Orlando massacre.
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