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Best friend of Pulse Nightclub victim holds remembrance at Sarasota City Hall

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SARASOTA, FL (WWSB) - Tuesday marks two years since a gunman walked into the Pulse Nightclub and killed 49 people in Orlando. 

One of the first victims identified was Eddie Sotomayor, a Sarasota native. 

To remember Eddie and the other lives lost, his best friend, Rob McGovern held a memorial at City Hall Tuesday afternoon.

"Two years, it feels like it was yesterday but time doesn't really heal wounds," said Kimberly Jackson, Sotomayor's sister.

Time ticks on, but the pain of losing her brother remains.

"Those people were loved ones, those were moms, dads, sisters, brothers.. so anytime we can celebrate the life of people, that's what we want to do here today," said Jackson. "We want people to never forget the horrific events of June 12th."

June 12 2016, 34-year-old Eddie Sotomayor was at Pulse Nightclub with his partner, Luis, who had stepped outside just before the shot rang out. 

Perhaps Eddie's final act was sending a text to Luis telling him to stay safe outside of the club. Moments later inside the club, Eddie was shot and killed.

Eddie's best friend of 16 years said that's the kind of person he was.

"He was a good person, a kind person, with a heart," said McGovern. "He didn't wear it on his sleeve, but he wasn't afraid to show it to you."

It's why McGovern organized the memorial to remember Eddie, with a red bouquet for him, a blue one for his family's hope and healing and a red rose for each of the 48 others who's lives were taken that night.

"I think as time goes by, the hate and the anger will go away and we can concentrate on the memories and the love and the times that we shared," McGovern explained. "But as those fade, so does the event and so does the people who lost their life, so this is my way to make sure that those people are not lost."

A gesture Eddie's family said they greatly appreciate.

"It's just hard," Jackson said. "But I think the message is and will always be that hate's never gonna win. So love people and hate will not win."

McGovern said he chose to hold the memorial at City Hall to include the Vice Mayor and make sure it was official. He plans to do a similar memorial every year.

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Multi Media Journalist