Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera: A Tribute to the Orlando Shooting Victim

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Orlando

Ortiz-Rivera was one of the first victims named in the tragedy in Orlando. (Facebook)

As the nation looks to pick up the pieces from the senseless, horrific mass shooting in Orlando, more names come out of people who were tragically gunned down in both the country’s largest mass shooting and the largest hate crime.

One of those names is Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, 36. Few specific details are known about Ortiz-Rivera, but all statements from his friends and family that have come out paint a picture of a nice, friendly man. The Orlando Sentinel quotes a former roommate as saying “Eric was always willing to help everybody. He sacrificed himself a lot for his family.”

Here’s what you need to know about Ortiz-Rivera.

He Was One of the First Six Victims Identified in the Shooting

Orlando, shooting

Vigils have been held all over the world in the wake of the shooting, including in Hong Kong. (Getty)

Of the 49 victims in the shooting, Ortiz-Rivera was one of the first 6 to be named, according to Romper. He was named alongside people such as Stanley Almodovar III and Edward Sotomayor.

ABC anchor Brian Dorman helped get victim’s names out, and said that he was specifically the fifth victim named.


He Went to University in Puerto Rico and Was Working Two Jobs

Eric Ivan Ortiz-Rivera, Orlando

Ortiz-Rivera worked two jobs. (Facebook)

Though he lived in Miami, Ortiz-Rivera’s Facebook claims he was originally from Dorado, Puerto Rico. Living there, he attended university at Univercidad Central de Bayamon, where he majored in communications.

From there, Ortiz-Rivera, began a career in merchandise management. His Orlando Sentinel obituary notes that he worked in places like Toys “R” Us and Ross. In his New York Times obituary, his cousin, Orlando Gonzalez, said that he had been working in both a Party City and a Sunglasses Hut.


His Cousin Described Him as a Goofball, and Said He Had Been Married For a Year

Orlando, shooting

Mourners in New York gathered to memorialize the victims. (Getty)

The pictures painted of Ortiz-Rivera show a fun-loving man who loved life and the people around him, a versatile and talented man who helped those around him. His cousin told the Times that “He was very artistic… He was all about interior design. He actually knew how to cut hair and stuff.”

Gonzalez also called his cousin a “goofball,” and that they frequented clubs together. When it came to music, Gonzales says Ortiz-Rivera loved “anything he could dance to, pretty much.”

He had also been married to his husband for one year. Heartbreakingly, Gonzalez said of his cousin’s husband “His husband called me in the morning… He was hysterical trying to find him.”


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