Every week between now and the one-year anniversary of the Pulse Nightclub shootings, Orlando Weekly will profile a person killed on June 12, 2016. This week: Alejandro Barrios Martínez
Alejandro Barrios Martínez was full of dreams when he immigrated to the U.S.
The 21-year-old left his mother and grandmother in Cuba to come to Orlando in 2014 to live with his father. He was in love with his partner, Aday Suarez Molina, and the Cuban media organization 14ymedio writes that Barrios Martínez had recently gotten a new job and decided to celebrate at the gay nightclub Pulse on June 12, 2016. When the mass shooting started, Barrios Martínez sent texts to his partner as he waited trapped in the bathroom.
"I love you, never doubt it," he wrote in Spanish. "I'm fine, but I don't know if I'll get out alive. I'm writing to tell you I love you."
Barrios Martínez and 48 other people did not survive that day. After his death, his partner said on Facebook that Barrios Martínez had forever changed his life.
"I promise you I will always, always love you, as you did until the final minute of your life," Suarez Molina wrote.
El Nuevo Herald reports his mother, Orquídea Martínez, was issued a humanitarian visa to see him one last time. Before he was buried, Barrios Martínez got one of his final wishes – to meet his idol, Puerto Rican artist Olga Tañón. Tañón sang his favorite song at his funeral to his parents and gathered friends. Barrios Martínez's father also released a written statement, saying his son came to Orlando "to get ahead, to build his project of happiness."
"He did nothing to justify this level of human evil," Saúl Barrios wrote. "He was happy, in love, with dreams, laughing, with friends celebrating that he was beginning to build the life that he wanted and how he wanted it."
Barrios writes that he and his family will never forget his son.
"The little time you spent here on Earth was unforgettable, it was a joy, a party like the ones you liked, a song of hope like the ones you sang," Barrios says. "Son, do not stop dancing, singing and loving. We love you. I love you."