WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Those who knew Dylan Lyons, the reporter killed while covering a story in Orlando, are sharing their memories of him.
Before reporting in Orlando, Lyons was a reporter in the Gainesville television market, a town full of people who Dylan said were close-knit and looked out for each other, during an interview on the podcast "Morning Coffee with Elio" nearly three years ago.
"It's so nice just to see that there are some good communities in this world, and I love the community here in Gainesville," Lyons said during the podcast, speaking about his love for his profession and community.
"Wow, he was someone we know," Mayra Dickerson, a friend of Lyons in Gainesville, said.
The news of his shooting death weighs heavy on the friends he left.
"God, he will be so missed, but his smile is contagious," Dickerson said. "His laugh is contagious. He just really made you feel welcomed."
Friends said although Lyons spent only three years in Gainesville — a short window of time — he left a significant impact.
"When I heard about his passing this morning, it just seemed so incredibly unbelievable," Sherry Houston, the executive director of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of North Central Florida, said.
Houston said Lyons had a spirit of giving, volunteered and emceed their events for years, and had a knack for going all out.
"So he bought on Amazon a suit that had gingerbread all over them, and he texted me a picture of the suit, and he said, 'So you need a dress that matches the suit,'" Houston said.
She said Lyons, who attended Alexander W. Dreyfoos School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, was an excellent reporter and was excited about his next chapter in Orlando.
"Whenever you go to a crime scene, I think that is the hardest part, because I'm a human being," Lyons said during the podcast interview. "I'm a human being first. I'm a journalist second."
Elio Piedra, who hosted the show, said they became good friends and spoke just a few months ago.
"Yeah, it's unbelievable. I'm telling you, when he was here, he was an unstoppable force of making a difference," Piedra said. "I'm telling you, I just can't believe it in the circumstances that he was doing what he loved, but it's just incredible."