Enrique L. Rios Jr.: Passionate New Yorker studying social work

Rios was visiting Orlando from Brooklyn, New York

By Emilee Speck - Digital journalist

Enrique Rios Jr., 25, was studying social work in New York.

Friends and family remember Enrique Rios Jr., 25, as a young man with a heart of gold.

Rios studied social work at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York, according to his Facebook page.

Gertrude Merced told The News York Times that her son Enrique had a passion for helping older people and loved cooking with his mother and dancing.

His enthusiasm for helping others was apparent in his work at a home health care agency, his family told the New York Daily News.

“My son was a good kid,” Merced wrote on the GoFundMe page. “He was just having a great time on his vacation.”

More than 790 people donated $33,500 to help pay for Rios’ body to be flown back to New York.

“If you knew my cousin Enrique you just had to love him,” Rios’ cousin, Teresa Rivera wrote on GoFundMe. “He had a heart of pure gold and always the purest intentions.”

Rios was celebrating a friend’s birthday in Orlando with a night of dancing when he was killed at Pulse nightclub.

Merced told The New York Times that she forgave the gunman who killed her son, because she did not want her son’s memory to be tainted with anger.


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