The families of a young TV reporter and a girl who were fatally gunned down in a shooting spree near Orlando opened up about their grieving process and shared details about what made the victims special.
Cameras captured loved ones as they embraced, united in grief.
Thursday’s news conference marked the first time the victims’ families spoke publicly about the Feb. 23 shootings near Orlando that claimed the lives of 38-year-old Nathacha Augustin, 24-year-old Dylan Lyons and 9-year-old T’yonna Major.
“That was my everything,” said Major’s father. “Until we meet again, Daddy loves you.”
“My heart’s broken when Dylan was killed. I died too,” said Lyons’ mother, Beth Lyons.
The families’ attorney said Major’s mother, Brandi Major, tried to cradle and protect her from the gunman, in the process suffering a gunshot wound to the arm.
“She had a desire to help people and do for people. She wanted to be remembered for the love that she gave,” said Major’s mother. “She was just my heart, my angel, and I’m going to miss her so much.”
Lyons’ family said he loved reporting and was devoted to his fiancée. He and his photographer, Jesse Walden, were shot that day.
Walden survived, but Lyons did not.
“I am forever broken without him here with me,” said Lyons’ fiancée. “There’s nothing that I wanted more than to be married and have a baby together.”
“My son always promised to take care of my wife, my family, my children, when I was gone, because I told him that was his responsibility,” said Lyons’ father, Gary Lyons. “He said, ‘Dad, I’m going to do it for you.’ It’s not supposed to work like this in life.”
The families are hoping to address gun violence and stop another tragedy like this from happening again.
“This epidemic of gun violence is killing the fabric of America,” said Gary Lyons.
The families’ attorney, Mark Nejame also placed blame on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis and U.S. Sen. Rick Scott.
“If DeSantis and Scott truly cared about these victims, then they could have not only reached out to them, but they could have been addressing the issue of gun violence, and reasonable and sane gun legislation, instead of avoiding the issue,” said Nejame.
Both families have set up GoFundMe accounts.
A public vigil will be announced in the next few days.
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