Current Affairs

CNN anchor Anderson Cooper fights back tears during on-air tribute to Orlando victims

Nick Duffy June 14, 2016
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CNN anchor Anderson Cooper is known for his neutrality-first approach, but couldn’t help but be shaken up during a segment on Orlando.

At least 49 people were killed and 53 were injured in the shooting at the Pulse gay club in Orlando over the weekend. With more than a hundred now confirmed dead or injured, the shooting has become the worst in American history.

Vigils have been taking place across the world, with thousands of LGBT people and allies taking to the streets to show solidarity.

Reporting on the massacre from near the club in Orlando, CNN anchor Anderson Cooper was moved to tears.

He said: “We begin tonight with their names, the names of the 48 out of 49 people that have so far been identified, victims of the deadliest mass shooting in American history, a shooting in a gay nightclub a block from where I’m standing two nights ago.

“There’s one name you will not hear in the broadcast, one picture of a person you won’t see. We will not say the gunman’s name or show his photographer, it has been shown far too much already.

“Over the next two hours, we will tell you about the investigation, the latest, what we know drove the shooter to do the unthinkable.

“In the next two hours, we want to keep the focus where it belongs, on people whose lives were cut short, we’re going to start by honouring them.

“There are more than a list of names, they’re a people that were loved, people with families, friends, dreams. The truth is we don’t know much about some of them. We want you to hear their names in a little bit about who they were.”

The news host, who is openly gay, was overwhelmed with emotion while reading the list, recalling: “Edward Sotomayor Jr. He worked at a travel agency that catered to the gay community. His family says he was witty, charming…”

Fighting back tears, he continued: “And that he always left things better than he found them. He was 34 years old.”

Mr Cooper continued to cite many of the people who had died.

He said: “Juan Ramon Guerrero. His cousin said Juan came out to his family just this year. He was afraid they would not accept him, but they did and they embraced his boyfriend as well. He was 22.”

“Christopher Andrew Leinonen, known as Drew. He was Juan’s boyfriend and his mom said he established the gay-straight alliance at his high school. He was 32 years old.”

“Eddie Justice… he texted his mother from the club, saying ‘Mommy I love you’. He was 30.”

Related topics: Anderson Cooper, CNN, Gay, host, LGBT, Orlando Massacre, Sexuality, Television, US

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