She Survived Pulse Shooting, Is Killed in Accident

Jahqui Sevilla helped injured friend escape
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted May 31, 2017 1:33 AM CDT
Orlando Shooting Survivor Killed in Accident
Pulse sympathizers dressed as angels stand in front of the Pulse nightclub site, Thursday, May 4, 2017, in Orlando, Fla.   (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Sad news from Orlando: Jahqui Sevilla, a 20-year-old woman who survived last year's Pulse nightclub massacre, has been killed in a head-on collision less than two weeks before the anniversary. Troopers say Sevilla was driving south on State Road 417 around 12:30am Monday when her Mitsubushi Lancer crossed the median and collided and hit 53-year-old Soraya Matias-Roth's Dodge Durango, WFTV reports. Both women were killed. Sevilla, who played for the Orlando Anarchy tackle football team, was at the nightclub with teammate Paula Blanco and Blanco's boyfriend, Cory Connell, during the June 12 attack. Connell was one of the 49 people killed. Blanco was shot in the forearm and Sevilla helped her escape the building.

Friends and family members say Sevilla had some tough times after the mass shooting but was attending college and getting her life back together. "She was getting her life back from when it was stolen," Orlando Anarchy Captain Chandice Hunter tells the Orlando Sentinel. "It just breaks my heart. She's like a little sister." In Pasadena's Rose Parade on New Year's Day, Sevilla rode on a flower-covered float with two other Pulse survivors and nightclub owner Barbara Poma, who posted a photo of herself and Sevilla on Facebook Tuesday. "My heart is so broken with the loss of such a beautiful, pure soul," she wrote. "Jahqui Sevilla you are so loved, and I was so blessed to have gotten the chance to be in your life." (Love was also what inspired Poma to open her nightclub in the first place.)

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