The community of Northampton, Massachusetts came together to mourn the loss of two former residents killed in a shooting in Orlando, Florida.
Stanley Manolo Almodovar III and Kimberly "KJ" Morris both died in the attack at Pulse nightclub early Sunday morning. Almodovar, 23, attended elementary school in Springfield, MA. Morris, 37, had lived in Northampton and Springfield for years before moving to Florida to care for her mother and grandmother.
"It's so crazy that somebody would go to such a measure to go and kill all of these people," said Liz Mazzei, a friend of Morris.
Several years ago, Mazzei met Morris at a popular LGBT club in town, Divas, where they both performed drag. She credits her success and comfort in the community to Morris, who always made her feel safe and welcome.
"She basically became my big brother in the drag world," Mazzei said, "She had the best smile, gave the best hugs. She just lit up any space that she was in."
In a statement to NECN, the Divas club wrote, "Divas nightclub mourns the loss of a past performer and family member in KJ Morris aka Daddy K. We remember her smile, her dancing on stage, and her amazing Drag King performances."
Along Main Street in Northampton, residents created a small memorial, with words of support to Orlando and messages about the victims.
"This kind of violence isn't ok. I'm really scared for the people of color I love, for the queer people I love, for the gay people I love," said Margaret Byrne, who stopped by to pay her respects to Almodovar and Morris.
A vigil will be held at Northampton City Hall at 7:00 p.m. Wednesday night to honor and remember the lives lost.
Friends of Morris plan to hold a fundraiser at Divas nightclub at 9:00 p.m. on July 2nd. All proceeds will go to the Morris family in Florida.