Driver cuts into Orlando Funeral Procession honoring Pulse shooting victims

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(CNN) — Two honors were bestowed Saturday at the funeral for Cory Connell, one of the 49 people killed in the Orlando nightclub shooting a week ago.

Connell, 21, died at the Pulse nightclub while protecting his girlfriend. He was a college student who wanted to become a firefighter and could have achieved his dream, said Lori Clay of the Orange County Fire Department.

Clay said she warned Connell that firefighters worked long hours for low pay.

“He smiled with that smile that I will always remember about him and he said, ‘No, I don’t care about the money.’ He said, ‘I want to do it because I want to save people, I want to help people,'” Clay said. “That made me know that kid would be a firefighter some day.”

With that, the Orange County Fire Department named Connell an honorary firefighter. First responders lined the walls of the West Orlando Baptist Church.

The second honor came when one of Connell’s sisters, Ashley, announced during her eulogy that she and her fiancé would name their baby after Cory. The crowd audibly gasped.

The child is expected next month. She said they just decided and hadn’t even told her parents yet.

“Mom and Dad, I hope you don’t mind,” she said.

Joel Rayon Paniagua, Luis Vielma, Stanley Almodovar III and Antonio Davon Brown also were buried Saturday. Two funerals were held Friday.

Deputies injured

Two Osceola County sheriff’s deputies escorting a funeral procession for one of the victims were injured Saturday when a motorist cut into the procession around noon Saturday in Kissimmee, Florida Highway Patrol Sgt. Kim Montes said.

The deputies were on motorcycles at the time of the crash and both were transported to a local hospital, Montes said. One deputy was in serious but stable condition and the second was in stable condition.

The motorist, identified as Ivonne Robles Morales, 44, of Kissimmee, said she thought someone waved her to cross the procession and she entered the intersection, the Florida Highway Patrol said in a news release.

One motorcycle struck her 1997 Honda head-on and the second motorcycle hit the Honda’s rear, the release said. Morales was charged with failure to yield to a funeral procession.

Montes said, “An impatient driver cut the funeral procession as the procession was heading to the gravesite.”

4 victims in critical condition

In addition to the 49 people killed, around 50 people were wounded after Omar Mateen, 29, entered the gay club around 2 a.m. June 12 with a rifle and a pistol. Mateen was killed when police pushed inside with an armored vehicle and shot him.

Four of the wounded are still listed in critical condition, Orlando Regional Medical Center reported Saturday.

Of the 19 people still in the hospital, three are in guarded condition and 12 are stable. Fifty-four operations have been performed, the hospital said.

Gov. Rick Scott formally thanked Orange County public safety members for their courage.

“The brave men and women of Orlando Police Department and Orange County Sheriff’s Office were our heroes,” Scott said in a letter. “This city, our state, our nation and the entire world is thankful for the brave actions of those who so selflessly placed themselves in the line of fire.”

President Obama, in his weekly address on Saturday, also lauded the first responders and expressed sympathy for the dead and wounded in Orlando. He also talked about Father’s Day and what it can mean following the massacre.

“To me, fatherhood means being there,” he said. “So in the days ahead, let’s be there for each other. Let’s be there for our families, and for those that are hurting. Let’s come together in our communities and as a country. And let’s never forget how much good we can achieve simply by loving one another.”

City plans Sunday vigil

In Orlando, the city government planned a candlelight vigil for the shooting victims at 7 p.m. Sunday at Lake Eola Park.

The city announced Friday that the OneOrlando Fund board of directors will be chaired by Orlando Magic President Alex Martins and will include Hispanic, LGBTQ and other community leaders. The goal of the fund is to provide financial support for the shooting victims and their families.

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