R.I.P.

Orlando Couple Who Hoped To Get Married Will Get A Joint Funeral Instead

juan-ramon-guerrero-christopher-leinonen

A couple who friends and family say were deeply in love both lost their lives over the weekend at Pulse nightclub in Orlando, and now they will be remembered together with a joint funeral.

Juan Ramon Guerrero, 22, and his 32-year-old boyfriend, Christopher “Drew” Leinonen, were two of the 49 who were gunned down late in the night by a lone attacker, and while services have not been finalized, Guerrero’s father, who has the same name as his son, confirmed the two will be paid tribute to side-by-side in death, as they were in life.

“I think my son wanted to do that. That’s why,” the elder Juan Ramon Guerrero, 61, told TIME in tears. “I don’t care what the people think. I don’t care.”

The couple had been dating for two years and lived together. They were just in the early stages of building a life together when their future was taken from them without warning.

“They were honestly so in love. They were soul mates. You can tell by how they looked at each other,” Aryam Guerrero, the victim’s 24-year-old sister, 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.

Christmas was perfect ????????

A photo posted by Juan Guerrero (@juang0628) on

Guerrero was one year into his studies at the University of Central Florida after completing two years of community college. He worked as a customer service representative for a credit union and aspired to become a financial advisor.

“He was so much love and light,” Aryam Guerrero said.

While Guerrero’s name appeared on an early list of victims following the devastating attack, no one knew what had happened to Leinonen until later. It wasn’t until Monday that his family received confirmation that they had lost their son.

“The moment I heard my mom yell out, we all knew,” Aryam Guerrero remembered of being at the hospital with her family. “I just kept saying, ‘This isn’t real.’ I just didn’t want it to be real.”

Date night

A photo posted by Juan Guerrero (@juang0628) on


Ramon Guerrero would have turned 23 in just a few days.  “My wife will cook all the food he likes,” the older Guerrero said. “He was a beautiful kid, a hard worker, friendly, sweet person.”

“I lost part of my life,” he added.

It breaks our hearts to learn about Guerrero and Leinonen, whose hopes and ambitions were just like ours, and just like countless other young people.

We will continue to tell the stories of these victims and remember who they were, and what they lost.

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10 Comments

  • Dave Downunder

    Such a touching story. This is how most parents would react to their child being gay these days it’s just they the bigoted minority are more vocal and organised in their attacks on us so that these stories hardly get heard. We need more positive examples of GLBT parents in the media to balance out the hatred.

  • Ogre Magi

    I can not even find the words to express the rage that this attack on our community has made me feel

  • Billy Budd

    Brought tears to my eyes. The family totally accepted them and I agree with Downunder that this should be the focus whenever possible. We need to set good examples.

  • Sluggo2007

    That’s about the saddest thing I’ve ever heard. These poor guys had everything to live for.

  • GC1985

    I am so sad and these stories bring me to tears. We need to stand united against all hatred.

  • MyDadPulledOut

    What is this title? The author clearly have no concept of poor taste. This sounds like something my crazy Aunt might say.

  • Kangol

    This is such a saddening story. Let’s not ever forget their names and honor their spirit by championing love, which their relationship represented, and peace against hate.

  • Black Pegasus

    I figured it wouldn’t take long for Queerty to start cherry picking which victims to highlight. Either give ALL of the victims a write up and none at all! And what’s the criteria for being featured on Queerty anyway? All of these victims undoubtedly had “story” behind their lives so why cherry pick? I guess queerty will feature the most attractive victims with the most European facial features.

  • Seabrook

    The words aren’t even there the explain how sad and touching this story is and how so many similar stories are just like this one that will soon come out. I’ll never understand the hatred people have towards others. My husband and I are in shock and so sad that this can happen anywhere. Such a tragedy, our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families.

  • PTmike

    @Black Pegasus: Amazing story. Must be terrible to be blinded by so much anger and resentment that you can’t see that.

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