Heartbroken families who lost loved ones in the Orlando-area shooting that killed three people and wounded two last week spoke of their grief Thursday, with one mother saying losing her son felt like «I I also died.»
Broadcast journalist Dylan Lyons, 24, T’Yonna Major, 9, and Nathacha Augustin, 38, were fatally shot Feb. 22 in separate shootings by gunman Keith Moses, 19, according to authorities.
On Thursday, the families of Lyons and Major gathered for a news conference where they shared their heartbreak.
Lyons’ father, Gary Lyons, wept as he described his son.
“Dylan Lyons is my only son. He is a devoted son and it is impossible to describe the relationship he had with my wife. I was often the third wheel in their relationship,» the father said.
His wife, Beth Lyons, said: “I feel like I died too. No words can express that, as a mother, she was supposed to bury me. She wasn’t supposed to bury him.
Dylan Lyons’ fiancee Casey Fite also spoke.
“You see gun violence across the country, but you never think it will happen to your family. I would do anything to have my Dylan back in my arms. I love you forever and ever my love,” he said.
Brandi Major, T’Yonna’s mother who was also injured in the shooting, broke down in tears as she spoke about her daughter.
«My heart and my angel and I’m going to miss her very much,» he said. At one point her mother had to leave the room, overwhelmed with grief.
T’Yonna’s parents described her as a gymnast who wanted to help everyone around her.
“My soul is gone,” said T’Yonna’s father, Tokiyo Major. “He was my gymnast. I was the number one fan of his… They took my girl”.
“It’s just hard,” she said through tears. «That was my everything, I want the world to know.»
Moses first shot Augustin in a car around 11:15 a.m., according to his arrest warrant. He returned to the scene four hours later, entered Major’s home and fatally shot and wounded Major’s mother, then left the home and killed Lyons and wounded photojournalist Jesse Walden, according to the warrant.
He has been charged with three counts of first degree murder with a firearm, two counts of attempted first degree murder with a firearm and armed robbery of a dwelling with a firearm.
Mark NeJame, an attorney representing both families, criticized Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis and Sen. Rick Scott, who have scrutinized State Attorney Monique Worrell’s handling of the case.
“Both politicians have made it to the podium deflecting the issue of gun violence in America,” NeJame said.
“The families are united in their disgust for Governor DeSantis and Senator Scott as they appear to be exploiting their dead children for their own political agendas,” NeJame said. “If DeSantis and Scott really cared about these victims, not only could they have reached out to them, but they could have addressed gun violence issues and reasonable, sensible gun legislation instead of avoiding the issue.”
Moses was a known gang member with a long rap sheet, Orange County Sheriff John Mina said.
Moses is being held without bail. He appeared in court on February 23 on a preliminary murder charge in Augustin’s death, and a public defender pleaded not guilty in writing on his behalf to that charge.