Former Largo resident among the deceased in Orlando shooting

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PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) — Authorities identified another Tampa Bay area victim of the Orlando nightclub shooting. Those who knew Christopher Andrew Leinonen are at a loss for words.

Christopher, or Drew as he was known, was a graduate of Seminole High School. He lived in Largo at one point.

“We’re totally heartbroken to hear the news that just came out about Drew and see that his name is put on the list,” Lynn Gibson said.

Gibson’s son, Jamie, was close to Drew when the two were teenagers. She credits Drew with helping her son cope when he was coming out.

“He gave my son the opportunity to grow stronger and become the person that he is, and we’re thankful for that,” Gibson said.

Both mother and son about Drew’s spirit on his Facebook page.

“Use the strength Jamie to carry on Drew’s love, use what he taught you to teach others,” Gibson wrote.

Drew’s mother, Christine Leinonen, spoke on the TODAY show this morning. “I’m sad,” Leinonen said. “I was out at the emergency from 4 o’clock in the morning, waiting to see if my son would be coming in.”

Drew’s name was added to the list of deceased victims Monday afternoon, along with his boyfriend, Juan Ramon Guerrero. Both were at the club when Omar Mateen opened fire.

Leinonen shared her grief on social media.

“My heart is heavy with sadness knowing my son did not survive,” she wrote.

Now Gibson is holding her son, Jamie, even closer. “He’s held together pretty good until today, now finding out the news is gonna be really hard on him,” she said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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