Pulse victims react to Orlando shooter's father attending Clinton campaign rally

Posted at 12:42 AM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-10 07:46:40-04

For friends Orlando Torres and Ramses Tinnoco, the memories of June 12 still linger, the injuries still sting, and the losses still hurt.

“I lost a lot of my friends - like eight of them,” Ramses says. “I went to a lot of funerals.”

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For them and many other Pulse victims, the recovery process has been a difficult one.

Which is why the image Monday of the father of the Pulse shooter at a Hillary Clinton rally just miles outside of Orlando was a shock.

“It was a confusing moment for me,” Orlando says. “I did not know what to make of it.”

Ramses was equally as surprised.

“I was holding a cup, so I just dropped the cup on the floor because I was looking at the man, I was like ‘what is he doing in there’?

In a statement, the Clinton campaign says Seddique Mateen was not invited as a guest, and they were unaware of his presence.

NewsChannel 5 cameras caught up with Mateen later that night and asked him about his appearance at the rally.

“Why they should be surprised?” he said. “I love the United States and I've been living here a long time.”

Mateen on Monday night carrying a banner advocating among many things- gun control - something Orlando says he can get behind.

“Despite what his son has done, he shows great intentions,” Orlando says. “I hope he does have a sincere heart.”

Both Orlando and Ramses say they don't directly blame Seddique for what happened that fateful night in Pulse.

However, Ramses says the appearance still rubbed him the wrong way.

“To me it was kind of cold,” he says.

Ramses says he wants his gestures to go beyond appearing at a campaign rally.

“Show up to Pulse,” he says. “Pay respects to the people who died. If you're willing to come all the way over here [redeeming] yourself, why not do more?”