This young, gay couple were planning their wedding – now they will have a joint funeral
A young couple killed during a the Orlando shooting will have a joint funeral service, their families have confirmed.
Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, and his 32-year-old boyfriend, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, were among the 49 people who lost their lives in the worst mass shooting in American history.
And although their heartbroken families are yet to plan the pair’s funeral services, they say they want the two side-by-side when they bid farewell.
“I think my son wanted to do that. That’s why,” the elder Juan Ramon Guerrero Sr told TIME.
“I don’t care what the people think. I don’t care.”
The couple – who lived together – had been dating for nearly two years.
Guerrero’s sister said their family was “really loving and accepting” when he came out as gay to them about three years ago, before remembering her brother’s love for his boyfriend.
The family claim it was Christine Leinonen – Christopher’s mother – who first had the idea that they should be laid to rest together, after she made a heartbreaking interview before discovering her son had died.
“They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other,” Aryam Guerrero said.
“It’s a little comforting that they died together.”
“If it’s not a funeral, they were going to have a wedding together,” she added.
She explained that her brother had just finished his first year studying at the University of Central Florida after spending two years at a community college.
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He planned to be a financial advisor and worked as a customer service rep for a credit union, she explained.
“He was so much love and light.”
The family said that they will remember their brother and son in the coming days, as they celebrate what would have been his 23rd birthday.
“My wife will cook all the food he likes,” his father said.
“He was a beautiful kid, a hard worker, friendly, sweet person,” he added.
“I lost part of my life.”