Remembering Eddie Sotomayor

By Cait McVey, Reporter
Last Updated: Monday, June 13, 2016, 7:32 PM EDT

Friends of 34-year-old Eddie Sotomayor said he had a dynamic personality – the kind you always wanted to be around.

  • Eddie Sotomayor, 34, died during the Orlando terrorist attack
  • He was at Pulse with his partner
  • Co-workers at Sarasota travel agency remember him fondly

Al Ferguson is the owner of Legendary Journeys, a travel agency in Sarasota. According to him, Sotomayor was his national brand manager. He called Sotomayor a friend and a pioneer in the industry.

Sotomayor had created the first gay cruise to Cuba this past April.

Ferguson recalled when terror struck overseas in Paris. He said Sotomayor was compassionate, yet still encouraged others to travel.

“You must live your life,” said Ferguson. “You must get out. They cannot win.”

Sotomayor was at Pulse nightclub with his boyfriend when the shooting broke out early Sunday morning. The pair separated and while his partner was outside, Sotomayor was trapped inside Pulse hiding.

Before the magnitude of the situation was realized, Ferguson said Sotomayor managed to send a warning text to his partner.

“I really believe Eddie saved his life by telling him do not come back in,” said Ferguson. “To leave and go to the manager’s house.”

On Monday, Ferguson and his employees decided to open up the agency office, leaving Sotomayor’s desk untouched. A bouquet of sunflowers placed on his keyboard.

“We are not going to become negative over this and Eddie, for me personally, is going to be a representation of that,” Ferguson said. “You can’t live in a closest. No matter what the closet is. And we won’t. We will not be afraid.”