Conn. Woman With Mass. Ties Killed in Orlando | NECN
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Conn. Woman With Mass. Ties Killed in Orlando

(Published Monday, June 13, 2016)

One of the victims of Sunday's shooting at Pulse Nightclub in Orlando was a former Torrington High School basketball player who only recently moved to Florida and had just started working at the club.

Kimberly Morris, 37, was known as KJ to her friends and it was her first week as a bouncer at Pulse when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire, killing 50 people and injuring more than 50 more on Sunday.

She only moved to Orlando a few months ago, according to her friend, Jim Searle.

Florida Gov. Rick Scott remembered Morris during a news conference on Monday morning and said she just moved from Hawaii to Florida to take care of her mother and grandmother.

“When you stop to think about this … we always think about, ‘Thank God it wasn’t our family,’ but if you go through that list of family members, we have a lot of individuals from Puerto Rico. We have a wonderful Puerto Rican community. Have a young lady, K.J. Morris, that just moved here from Hawaii to take care of her mother and grandmother,” Scott said.

Searle worked with Morris last summer at Diamond Wireless inside BJ's in Manchester. He called Morris a great person who loved life.

For officials in Torrington, the tragedy in Florida is hitting close to home after learning that Morris was one of the victims.

“I am saddened by the senseless act of violence which took place over the weekend in Orlando, Florida. This tragedy hit close to home for many Torrington residents upon hearing that one of the victims, 37 year old Kimberly Morris, known as KJ, grew up in our community," Mayor Elinor Carbone said a statement. "This loss of life, any loss of life, is heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of Kimberly Morris, and all others who have been affected by this unspeakable act.”

Morris graduated from Torrington High School in 1996 and played basketball all four years. She wore number 42.

Her high school coach, Michael Fritch, said she always had a great attitude.

“She was fun loving, got along with everybody, never missed a practice, worked hard, gave us her best effort,” he said.

Erika Pratt, who played basketball with Morris for three years said her former teammate will be missed.

“She just was a good person, like she always just had a good attitude and was always happy and made people laugh and did silly things,”

Morris went on to play basketball at Post University in Waterbury and graduated in 2001 with a Bachelor of Science degree.

A statement from Post University said the community is deeply saddened.

She "is remembered as an active, vibrant student-athlete and leader within the Post family. Our thoughts and prayers are with Kimberly’s family and friends, and the many Post alumni who have contacted us to share their memories of this wonderful young woman," a statement from the school says.

She lived in Northampton, Massachusetts for about a decade, where she worked at the gay club, Divas, as a drag king and bouncer.

"We are deeply saddened to loose [sic] a member of our Diva's family," the club wrote on Facebook Sunday night. "Our thoughts and prayers go out to her family and friends. We will always remember her smile and her amazing way she lite up the stage in her performances."

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