Man who recently moved from Chicago to Orlando killed in Pulse shooting

Wednesday, June 15, 2016
Orlando nightclub massacre victim recently left Chicago
One of the victims of the Orlando nightclub shooting lived in Chicago until just recently. He is being remembered by friends and loved ones as a kind and caring man.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A man who recently moved to Orlando from Chicago is among the victims in the Orlando nightclub mass shooting.

PHOTOS: Mass shooting at Orlando nightclub

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Angel Mendez, standing outside the Orlando Regional Medical Center, holds up a cell phone photo trying to get information about his brother Jean C. Mendez.

Angel Candelario, 28, who was born in Puerto Rico but moved to Chicago to get an education. He started as a temp but was quickly snapped up to work full time and then promoted, before being sent off on his next - and, it turned out, final - adventure.

"He was always focused on his studies," Candelario's brother Alexi said. "I would ask him, 'Let's go out,' and he would say, 'No, I can't go out because I have to study.'"

"I just can't gather the words to express how much sadness I feel that Angel had to leave like this," says Charles Wesby, an ophthalmic technician and one of Candelario's former coworkers at the Illinois Eye Institute.

He was hired at the Illinois College of Optometry in August of 2014. His first role there was as an assistant in pediatrics. He was then promoted to technician at the Rosenbloom Center.

"Very sad to hear this news, I mean devastated. And then the more you think about it, you get angry as well. You know, how and why could this happen?" says Dr. Dominick Opitz, optometrist at the Illinois Eye Center.

"It's just such a tragic disaster that happened and for me to know, personally, someone who was within that tragedy is just even more difficult to deal with. I mean, all of those lives were lost. Forty-nine lives were lost," Wesby says.

"He could have done so much more. I mean, he was already on his way to doing so much more with his life," says Dr. Megan Allen, pediatric optometrist at the Illinois Eye Institute.

Candelario's care with patients young and old landed him a promotion at the Eye Institute, and outside of work he was known for his love of dance.

"We actually petitioned that he would give us a show in our events, we had, the last memory was our Christmas party," says Roseanna Thompson, clinic coordinator.

Candelario left his job at the college of optometry in March. He moved to Orlando and had started a new job just three days before the shooting.

"He was just, fun and energetic and really enjoyed being around people and enjoyed making people happy," said Dr. Danielle Piser, optometrist.

Piser and Allen say no matter what the job was, Candelario always put patients first. When his co-workers found out Monday he was among those killed at Pulse nightclub, everyone was devastated. Now they work amid their grief to remember his joy.

"He really just wanted everyone to be happy and to make sure that everyone had a great day, so he was just an abundance of joy to have in the clinic," says Piser.

Candelario wanted to go to chiropractic school. In the meantime, he got another job as a technician.

Candelario's partner was with him at Pulse at the time of the attack. He survived.

The Muslim community has called on members to break their traditional Ramadan fast and instead, donate blood.


An interfaith gathering Tuesday night at a mosque in Glen Ellyn was a chorus of diverse voices offering prayers for those in Orlando.

"We are extremely, extremely sad, but at this point what we can do is pray together," said Munum A. Naeemm, Glen Ellyn Chapter of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.

The shooting is especially painful for Benjamin Di'Costa, who moved here from Orlando. He says he worked at Pulse nightclub and knew 13 of those killed.

"It's unreal. It feels like some sort of horror movie. It feels like, ok, the tape should stop any moment now, and we can all say ha ha, it's a joke," Di'Costa said.

The Muslim community has called on members to break their traditional Ramadan fast and instead, donate blood.

"Human life is very sacred, according to Islamic teaching. When one person is killed, it is killing of humanity," said Imam Shamshad Nasir, of the Glen Ellyn Chapter of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.