Pulse victim's friend more angry than sad one year later
On June 12, 2016, Dustin Schaad lost his close friend, Edward Sotomayor. He was one of 49 people killed in the Pulse Night Club massacre in Orlando. Schaad talked to WUSA9 back then and again on Monday.
"This year has gone by so fast, and I thought something would change,” said Dustin Schaad. “I thought we would have these great gun laws or some sense of renewed strength and energy in our community.”
On Monday, Schaad was left asking what has changed since the day his friend was murdered.
“What has come out of it? What … what has changed? And I don't see it, I don't feel it, and I don't want my friend's death to be for nothing.”
Sotomayor sent him a funny cell phone video just moments before the mass shooting. In the video, another person is seen playing with a computerized top hat. They called Sotomayor ‘Top Hat Eddie’ because he liked wearing them.
Schaad called Sotomayor his inspiration, even inspiring him to talk to WUSA9 this time around in drag.
"This is who I want to be, and he was there at the beginning of my career. First show ever, front row.” Schaad laughed saying, “I like to think that he's somewhere in the heavens snapping his fingers, kicking back a fabulous shot and going, 'Get it girl.'”
PULSE SHOOTING: Remembering the victims one year later
He found it hard to be at D.C. Pride events because of this.
"At least we had that. There was a celebration of community, but I want people to be angry. I want people to not forget this. Let this not be another thing,” he said hoping people learn from it. He’s hoping for a community that will come together and stop the violence.
“We may look a little different, we may have purple extensions,” said Schaad. “But you know what, we love we breathe."
Instead of a vigil, Schaad told WUSA9 he wants to go to work Monday night in honor of his friend, the person who encouraged him to be fearless.