Remembering Chris Brodman and Jahqui Sevilla, the first two Pulse survivors to pass away


Christopher Brodman, 34.
  • Christopher Brodman, 34.

Christopher Brodman, 34, escaped Pulse on June 12 only to die suddenly from a rare brain hemorrhage exactly three months later, at a house party.

On June 12, Brodman was with Ramses Tinoco and other friends celebrating his birthday on the club’s patio when the shooting started. In a Facebook post, he said he thought the gunfire was part of a Drake song until he saw blood. Both Brodman and Tinoco escaped that night. Three months later, on Sept. 11, his friends found him on the ground at a Tampa birthday party.

“I still can’t believe my baby is gone,” his boyfriend, Cord Skyla, wrote on Facebook. “I don’t know how I’m going to go on without him.”

Jim McDermott, a former boyfriend, remembers Brodman for his New York accent and for tilting his head sideways and grinning from ear to ear for a “Tigger” smile.

“Chris Brodman taught me how to love,” McDermott says. “I don’t think there is a higher compliment that you can afford a human life.”

Jahqui Sevilla, left, and Paula Blanco, right. - PHOTO VIA JAHQUI SEVILLA'S FACEBOOK
Jahqui Sevilla, 20, who survived the mass shooting at Pulse, died Monday, May 29, after a head-on car crash on the Central Florida GreeneWay that also killed one other driver.

Sevilla was driving southbound on State Road 417 around midnight when her 2008 Mitsubishi Lancer crossed the median and hit a northbound 2016 Dodge Durango driven by Soroya Matias-Roth, 53, of Lakeland.

Sevilla was an athlete who played on the Orlando Anarchy Women's Football Team along with Paula Blanco. On June 12, 2016, Sevilla joined her teammates and Blanco's boyfriend Cory Connell for a night out at the gay nightclub Pulse. When the shooting started, most of the team managed to escape, except for Sevilla, Blanco and Connell. Blanco and Sevilla survived that night, but Connell and 48 other people died from their injuries.

Sevilla's friend and fellow teammate Chandice Hunter said her heart was shattered after the young woman's death. "Once again we have lost an amazing human being – funny, smart, and so full of life!" Hunter wrote on Facebook.

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