Pulse nightclub massacre survivor dies in Orlando highway car crash
A woman who survived an Isis terror attack in an gay nightclub has died in a car crash.
20-year-old Jahqui Sevilla had been partying at Orlando’s Pulse bar last year when a lone gunman opened fire killing 49 people in the worst mass shooting in US history.
The football player had survived the nightclub tragedy by hiding behind a couch when Omar Mateen began shooting, however, family and friend’s confirmed her death on Monday.
“I did a lot of crying before you got here,” her father Benijno Sevilla told WFTV9. “I did a lot of crying last night. She likes to make people laugh. She has a beautiful smile, beautiful cheeks.”
Speaking of her recovery after the shooting, he added that he was grateful they had been able to spend more time together.
“I was appreciative of the fact we had time. I was glad that she was fortunate enough to survive Pulse.
“And I appreciate the time after it and I always appreciate hugging and kissing her and telling her how much I love her,” he added.
Ms Sevilla lost control of her car, which then jumped the barrier in the middle of the highway and hit an SUV travelling in the opposite lane head-on. Police are still investigating the cause of the crash.
Earlier this year she had taken part in a tribute to the victims of the massacre, releasing 49 white doves at a parade in January.
Barbara Poma, owner of Pulse, released a tribute to Ms Sevilla saying her “heart was broken with the loss of such a beautiful pure soul”.
“You are so loved,” she added. “I was so blessed to have gotten the chance to be in your life.”
Orlando Anarchy Women’s Team, where Ms Sevilla played, also released a statement on the tragic crash.
“Jahqui Sevilla was taken from her family and her football family in a tragic automobile crash. Grief is not a sign of weakness. It is an emotional, physical and spiritual necessity of life.
“Grief allows each person to turn a loss into a strong memory in the heart. When a person we love leaves us, we never lose them – they become more part of us.
“Jahqui Sevilla will always be in our hearts and part of the Orlando Anarchy Family.”
Soroya Matias-Roth, 53, of Lakeland, who was driving the other car also died in the crash.