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: Jonathan Camuy Vega
Carlos Camuy says God planted a seed of love in his son Jonathan Camuy Vega's heart the day he was born. It was only after the 24-year-old died that they were able to see all the fruits of that love at his funeral.
Hundreds came to pay their last respects in both Kissimmee and Puerto Rico to the young man who worked as a producer in Orlando for Telemundo's La Voz Kids, a singing competition for children.
A graduate of the University of Puerto Rico en Arecibo, Camuy Vega moved to Florida in 2015 to pursue his dream of working in the media. His mother, Lourdes Vega, says he would text or call every day, and several times he made surprise visits back to Puerto Rico. He loved taking his nieces to the pool, going out dancing with his friends and spending time with his brother and parents.
"If anything gives me strength, it's that we were always together," Camuy says. "Sometimes I would get a little jealous when he came home because he would visit his many friends. He would leave the house early, come back to bathe and leave again. He had a moment for everybody."
Through tears, Vega adds, "He was special. We were so proud of him."
Camuy Vega's partner, Jorge Mendoza, says he called his mother his "eternal girlfriend" because she was the only woman who would never break his heart. Mendoza says Camuy Vega was a passionate, hardworking person whose death devastated his coworkers on La Voz Kids.
"They loved his spunk," Mendoza says. "He was full of life and happy, no matter how late they were working."
Camuy Vega died trying to protect his friend Yilmary Rodriguez Solivan from the gunman at the gay nightclub Pulse on June 12. They, along with 47 others, both died in the massacre. His parents say they hope after this tragedy, people will remember to treat each other like human beings and think of their son's last words, inscribed on his tombstone.
"We are born to live," Camuy Vega wrote. "So short is our time on this planet that it's a bad idea not to enjoy every step and every moment."