Guilderland man remembers friend, ‘Tophat Eddie,’ shot in Orlando massacre

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Everyone is mourning those who were killed in the Orlando massacre differently. For one local man who lost a dear friend in the shooting, he’s still at home trying to make sense of it all.

“I know that Eddie is listening and I want him to know that I think he’s a hero and that I love him and thank him for the memories,” said John Kleinsorge.

For Kleinsorge, the pain is still raw. Through tears, he opened up to NEWS10 about losing his good friend Eddie Sotomayor, also widely known as ‘Tophat Eddie,’ to what’s now being called the biggest mass shooting in US. history.tophat eddie

The 34-year-old marketing specialist was at Pulse Night Club with his boyfriend when shots rang out.

Hundreds of miles north in Guilderland, Kleinsorge woke up the next day to hear about the massacre on social media. Kleinsorge used to live in Florida and has friends he knew frequented Pulse.

“I quickly started messaging people to make sure everybody that I knew was OK, and I hadn’t heard back from Eddie and I had messaged another friend of mine and he said everyone was looking for Eddie. And something inside of me just knew that it wasn’t OK. You kind of have that feeling,” he said.eddie 2

Shortly after, Eddie Sotomayor was confirmed dead. His friends say he stepped in front of a bullet to protect his boyfriend.

“Eddie put everyone first and I believe he died a hero.”

eddie 3

Kleinsorge says Sotomayor led a full life. He was living his dream marketing for Ru Paul’s drag race and while it’s easy to get angry about a promising life cut too short, Kleinsorge says he refuses to respond with hate and encourages everyone else to do the same.

“I’m trying to approach it from a place of love because I think perpetuating anything different would just be lethal,” Kleinsorge said.

The vigil in West Capital Park will begin Monday at 6.

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