As further details of the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub emerges, the world continues to suffer wave after wave of shock.
Twenty–one-year-old Alejandro Francisco wrote a heart-breaking open letter to the shooter, Omar Mateen, who was later shot and killed by US law enforcement officers that night.
I'm a young, gay man who was born in New Jersey and grew up in Orlando. I love my friends, I love my parents, I’m half Puerto Rican, half Dominican, 21 years old, and at 2 aam on Sunday morning, you almost took my life.
Alejandro had been dancing the night away, when his friend Vincent convinced them to leave the club earlier, in an effort to avoid the exit rush.
Across the street, moments after we left, we heard the gunshots start. They sounded like firecrackers. We were terrified. We saw people running all around us, some of them jumping fences.
'The deadliest mass shooting attack on U.S. soil.'
'The worst terror attack since 9/11.'
Please. Let’s call it what it was: the worst attack — on love — on US soil.
Mateen, who had once been married, is reported to have been a regular at Pulse, and people claim that he had used same-sex dating apps.
You tried to massacre the very one thing that you can never destroy in our community. Ever.
You cannot take away our love.
Alejandro had been one of the luckier ones to have escaped the ensuing massacre, and 49 people were killed before Mateen was eventually killed.
I think about Eddie Justice who sat in the bathroom and sent those terrified texts: I’m gonna die. Mommy, I love you.
Omar, we are stronger than your hate. We always will be...
Eddie did not survive...
But love did.
In fact, it just grew stronger.
You can read the entire letter on xoJane.com.