Orlando victims with ties to Michigan mourned by family, friends

Posted at 8:26 AM, Jun 15, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-15 09:27:00-04

FOX 17's Josh Sidorowicz in Orlando reports two victims in the Pulse shootings have ties to Michigan. 

ORLANDO, Fla. — In the days since a gunman opened fire inside a crowded Orlando gay nightclub, killing 49 people and injuring more, FOX 17 has learned two of the victims killed had ties to Michigan.

Tevin Eugene Crosby

Tevin Eugene Crosby, 25,  graduated from West Iredell High School in Statesville, North Carolina, and later studied business administration at Strayer University South. But since his graduation he had moved to Michigan, where he worked as the director of operations for a marketing firm in the Saginaw area.

"He was very ambitious," his brother Chavis Crosby told the Orlando Sentinel. "Whatever goal he had in mind, he worked hard. Whether alone or on a team, he worked on that goal."

One of Crosby's friends living in the Saginaw area said he tried calling after learning of the mass shooting, but never getting an answer back he feared the worst.

"It went straight to voice mail," Jonathan Khani said. "Tevin was one of the hostages in the bathroom and one of the final deaths that happened prior to them eliminating the terrorist."

>> MORE: Faces of Orlando — The victims of the Pulse nightclub shooting

Christopher Andrew Leinonen

Christopher "Drew" Leinonen, 32, was also killed in the Sunday morning shooting. He died alongside his boyfriend, Juan Guerrerro, who was also at the club. Leinonen graduated from the University of Central Florida. In high school he established a gay straight alliance, according to CNN.

Leinonen's mother infamously made an emotional plea on ABC News while searching for her son, prior to learning of his death late Sunday.

Tuesday night, she recalled the love he and his long-time partner had shared.

"They were madly in love in a way that I've never seen him over the past 15 years," Christine Leinonen said on CNN. "He loved Juan in a that special kind of way."

Leinonen and Guerrerro, who had been planning to wed, will have joint funerals, their family said.

CNN contributed to this report.