After Orlando: Instead of a wedding, couple will have a joint funeral

After Orlando: Instead of a wedding, couple will have a joint funeral

In the aftermath of the tragedy at Pulse, relatives of the 49 people murdered are now making funeral arrangements, and according to Time, two families will come together to celebrate the lives of a loving couple separated only by death.

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, and his 32-year-old boyfriend, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, were killed inside the Orlando, Fla. club early Sunday.

“They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other,”Aryam Guerrero told the magazine. “It’s a little comforting that they died together.”

“If it’s not a funeral, they were going to have a wedding together,” Guerrero said. The family received word very early on that they were among those who had lost a loved one, but Guerrero’s fate was not known until midday Monday.

Leinonen’s mother said she suddenly was awakened at 3 a.m. the morning of the shootings, and upon hearing the news drove to Pulse to begin a vigil. She broke down in tears as she pleaded on local and national television for confirmation that her son was among the victims, and called for an end to assault weapon-fueled mass shootings.


Leinonen’s father speaks up on page 2.

The funeral arrangements have not yet been formalized, but were first suggested by Leinonen’s mother. With tears in his eyes, Guerrero’s father said he agreed that it would have been his son’s wish they be together, side by side. “I think my son wanted to do that. That’s why,” the elder Juan Ramon Guerrero, 61, told Time. “I don’t care what the people think. I don’t care… I lost part of my life,” he added.

Leinonen’s father, a retired Detroit cop, is also speaking out, about his son, and about what he called “antigun politicians.” He wrote a letter to the Detroit News:

“His name was Christopher Andrew Leinonen, he went by the nickname of ‘Drew’ and he was gay, a fact I only learned about 5 years ago. While I was not thrilled to learn of his orientation, I accepted it as the way he was pre wired-when born. He was handsome, personable, brilliant and loved vintage movies. He grew-up, got a master’s degree and became a practicing psychologist…

“The killer was armed and his helpless victims were not, yet the anti gun politicians still want to disarm the populace, enabling these scenarios. It is likely such attacks will continue, until the victims start shooting back. That’s the lesson I take from this, for what it’s worth. When the shooting started Saturday night, I’ll bet there wasn’t a person in the club who wouldn’t have traded everything he owned in the world, for a loaded gun.”

Leinonen turned 32 on June 1. His boyfriend would have celebrated his 23rd birthday in a few days, and Time reports the Guerrero family is planning a party to celebrate his life. “My wife will cook all the food he likes,” his father told the magazine. “He was a beautiful kid, a hard worker, friendly, sweet person.”

The night before the massacre, a local nightclub photographer snapped what may be the last photograph of the couple together. Melody Maia Monet shared their picture on Instagram and Facebook, in hopes it would reach their families. It shows Leinonen flashing a peace sign, and has been shared hundreds of times.


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